It's That Time of Year

Graduation from a Student Perspective
by Chamy Choi 24’ and Madison Cashin ’24

It's been an incredible journey.

Chamy Choi ’24: The idea of writing a post regarding the Class of 2024, under 1000 words, was daunting. Recalling a four-year experience under that word count is difficult.

I met with my classmate, Madison Cashin ’24, on a Google Meet to discuss narrowing down the common thread that binds us as the SHC Graduating Class. Was it music, the classes, shared interests, sports, Kairos, etc? The possibilities were endless. Eventually, we solidified two particular themes for our class. For me, it was something to look forward to, something to look up to and something to chase. Similarly, Madison illustrated that our class’s traits contained opportunity, freedom, companionship and experiences.

Choi: As soon as the clock hit midnight on May 1, we were in our rooms, sitting back on our chairs thinking, “Wow…the clock is ticking faster.” We recalled our unconventional start of the high school journey, yet again, in our rooms. Now, four years later, we can only laugh about virtual experiences such as Frosh Fams, the birth of SHC Live, the infamous breakout room sessions and the continuous Schoology reminders to update our Zoom. We owe all these small moments to the individuals who stuck with us to the finish line.

We didn’t start the traditional route like those who came before and, eventually, after us, but we persevered as a family. On May 25, we will stand next to each other as a community that includes state champions, National Merit Scholars and the first leaders of Catholic Community Cohorts. We were the guinea pigs during the beginning of COVID-19, but we like to think of our class as the pioneers and innovators throughout this four-year journey.

Madison Cashin ’24: I am writing this on May 14. This is the moment I realized four years of my high school life is reaching its ending mark in 11 days, and I will be embarking on my next journey. I sit here realizing that the diploma I will receive is a reflection of something I have worked towards and finally have the grace of gaining recognition for. Over these four years, I find it funny how often I found myself wishing time away. When I turned 15 years old, I couldn’t wait to be 16 because, for whatever reason, that number felt far more mature. I never seemed to think about the fact that graduation was an actual upcoming accomplishment, an end goal I never gave much thought to. It was easy to wish for the end of the school year where the fear of academics wasn’t present, but it never seemed to occur to me that each school year I wished away brought me one year closer to the event of graduation—a moment that brings an undeniable sensation of conflicting feelings.

I am worried about my upcoming adventures, but at the same time, I am proud of the work and effort that went into these four years. The fear of change that stems from college has been relentless, yet the gift SHC has brought me is the security of gaining my values. I took the values I learned at SHC with me when deciding the criteria of what I want in college. I owe a great deal of gratitude to the experiences and lessons I gained from SHC, from the classes I took to the teacher role models that I looked up to. My decision to pick a college relied heavily on what SHC offered me.

Choi: I’m taken aback by the bittersweet moments. Every day, we look forward to seeing our go-to person who’s just willing to share the humorous side of life and a little spark of madness. It provides us with the energy of good spirits to the point we forget what made us frustrated in the first place. And we owe that to our friends, who taught us to appreciate humor on our worst days. Our friends give us hope and to laugh off the errors and hiccups in life. I remember getting those little hints of excitement when seeing my friends in classes with a goated (awesome) teacher, dapping up friends in the hallways with some small talk in between or screaming in rejoicing after that perfect set-to-kill on the volleyball court. My advice would be to always make sure you have the right group of people to witness those moments with you. Taylor Swift said, “A true friend celebrates your victories, cheers you on during challenges and is there to wipe away your tears.” Our struggles and our successes are not unique or embarrassing to hold back. Embrace it all because it showcases the complexity of all of us, and our stories continue the bloodline of SHC. We are a fraction of a lifelong tradition of carrying one symbol—and that is SHC. Just showing your true colors and being your authentic self will give you inspiration, motivation and confidence.

Cashin: As I close out this chapter of my life and write down the last few words that describe my takeaways from high school, I look back on the key moments of my years at SHC. Although I wish I could say each year of high school was “perfect,” there are moments of hiccups and mistakes throughout this chapter of my life. I procrastinated. I avoided. I struggled, but most importantly, I was human. Despite these struggles, I’m proud of what I accomplished. I was involved, I put myself out there. Now, I have the privilege of walking out of SHC proud of who I am and different from the person who stepped foot on campus for the first time in the middle of the school year because of the lockdown. The Class of 2024 closes out as the last Covid class. How impossible is it to imagine that that was four years ago? My entire class persevered and now we will stand on stage to receive our diploma in the presence of those who love us and care to see us accomplish this milestone. We are living proof of perseverance.

Choi: We are now crossing the bridge of student to alum and will be taking on roles of leadership and authority. SHC advocated for us to discover our authentic colors; however, we must remember that at the end of the day, Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory’s colors: green, white and blue remain the original colors we wear proudly. The one thing we learned from each other is that you can choose to blend in or stand out wherever your next scene will take you. So…to our classmates from the Class of 2024…what will your next scene be?

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