Dear Junior Year,
I remember the first day of freshman year. Mom walked me to the school bus and waved goodbye. At that time, I was thinking that high school would suck. That I would make no friends and I already had senioritis. I just wanted the high school nightmare to be over with. I was timid and shy, but with a great deal of apprehension, I made my way into Mr. Alexander’s classroom. Earlier in the day, I attended 1st and 2nd block classes and I was counting each minute with dread. My last block somehow changed my mindset about high school. Because of the silly little things I did in Earth Science, I was able to look at high school in a new, positive perspective. In that magical moment, I thought maybe high school will be a fun experience. This last block was a great end to a day that I had dreaded all summer. It was time to make my journey to the Governor’s School for the Arts. With glee, I hurried to the GSA bus. Mrs. Carol, the bus driver greeted me with a charming smile. But then opening day orientation came, and I could feel the heart palpitations I was having from the overwhelming talent. I started to question myself. “How in the world did I get accepted?” “How can I ever be as talented as these artists in front of me?” I had so much to learn and I quickly realized that I didn’t know as much as I thought I did. And now, here I am a rising senior and I crushed my junior year. I know you’re wondering, whatever happened to that timid little girl who didn’t challenge herself? That little girl became a young lady who stayed proactive about her goals and vowed to never give up. My junior self reflects my stronger freshmen self. This past year was a transformational one for me. Many students say that junior year is the hardest year and it was for me. Regardless, junior year has been my greatest year so far and has impacted me the most.
Computer Programming was the most interesting class that I’ve had in high school. I discovered my new-found skill set with computers. Because of my teacher’s instructions and guidance, I’m now interested in taking AP Computer Science next year. I know that I can do so much with my computer skills in future careers. Technology plays an integral part in society. With the knowledge and training gained in this class, I’m looking forward to having an advantage in my designated field. I’m also interested in learning how I can make a difference in my field using the technology I’ve learned. It will be rewarding to see how far my computer programming skills will take me. Thank you, Mr. Wheeler, for taking the time to inform me about opportunities that my counselor didn’t! Chemistry was rough at first because the teacher’s teaching methods were difficult to understand, and she couldn’t really explain topics in different ways to help students understand the content. But later in the year, I started to enjoy the subject. I decided to be proactive and come up with ways to make Chemistry more understandable for me and doing this allowed me to have fun learning new material. Ms. Davis, thank you for teaching me to be resourceful and depend on myself because whenever I asked for help I ended up more confused than I was before! I loved hanging out with my fellow Chemistry classmates because we learned how to enjoy each other’s company while working together through difficult topics efficiently. Thank you to my classmates for helping me learn the importance of building connections with people! These relationships helped me to find other students that I could study effectively with. If one person struggled in one topic, another person may have been stronger in that content. We combined our strengths to successfully accomplish many of our assignments for a tough class. VA US History was surprisingly fun for me. Mrs. Connolly’s method of teaching made history relatable to us and she constantly used interactive activities that helped the information stick to my brain. Thank you, Mrs. Connolly, for not having the class read a bulky, boring history textbook and taking the time to interact with the class instead of playing games on your phone! I also made some close friends in this class that I hung out with outside of instructional time. I believe it was important to have a strong friend system that I knew I could always count on to have my back. Thank you for being true friends and not taking advantage of me because you just wanted to copy my homework! Economics was my easiest class this year. This class required a great deal of organization. Because of Economics, my time management skills have improved. I know how to prioritize and get the important tasks done first. Mr. Blanchard, thank you for acknowledging my commitment to finishing assignments on time when some of the other kids took advantage of your kindness! Other teachers may take out the overall bad behavior of the class on everyone, including the kids doing what they’re supposed to, but you didn’t. AP Spanish was more challenging than I expected. I realized it’s essential not to take any class for granted and take every class seriously. Don’t zone out thinking it will be an easy A because attentiveness is the key to success. Thank you, Senor Jaworski, for showing me how to make sense of a course no matter how difficult the content may be! AP English 11 has been my most beneficial class. It helped strengthen my writing and challenged me to think critically when crafting my essays. It was hard work, but it was worth the blood, sweat, and tears. I’ve become a much stronger writer by learning how to structure my essays and write in a mature voice. So, rest assured that my blogs for the next year will be spot on. Mrs. Hurst, thank you for tearing apart my papers when other English teachers would look at my immature papers and give it a thumbs up! Along with my academic growth, I’ve become more involved in my school which has been a long-term goal of mine. I was inducted into the National Honor Society which is a great organization for community outreach. Through this group, I can do so many activities that I couldn’t before. I’m thankful for all that’s happened for me at OLHS this year. Along with Ocean Lakes, GSA was just as successful.
This year at the Governor’s School, I finally achieved the more mature vocal sound I’ve been looking for and I’m looking forward to my voice becoming even stronger because of the work I’ve put in this year. I knew that heading into my final year of high school I wanted my vocal abilities to be the best it could be, so I really wanted to step up my game. I recorded all my lessons to make sure I didn’t make certain mistakes in my pieces and I constantly practiced certain vocal techniques and exercises that would improve the skills I needed to develop. Every day, I would blow my pink balloons to expand my diaphragm and hop around like a toddler to keep the tension away. This year, I learned not to be such a perfectionist because it hinders my abilities to grow my full sound. This year, I let my voice be free and I enjoyed the singing experience instead of thinking about it too much. This philosophy was especially successful for me with my cover show for the role of Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. I’ve always had the work ethic, so getting my acts learned was a piece of cake. Good thing I’m a quick learner, because there were several occasions where I had to fill in for the lead during staging and dress rehearsals. The most difficult thing for me was letting the voice go so that my voice could be heard from the last row of seats. But my resilient attitude helped me to discover my placement and I sounded 3X stronger than I did before. The sassy and bubbly Susanna came out during the cover show. I think the cover show of The Marriage of Figaro was the best performance yet for me at GSA. By the end of the year, my voice continued to grow to new heights and I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. Along with my vocal growth, I’ve become more confident and outgoing as a person. I’m more open to having conversations with everyone in the department and other departments. I have so many things that I want to achieve next year.
For my senior year, I want to serve as the leader of the Vocal Department. I believe it is my responsibility as a senior to set a good example for the underclassmen. I want to set a good atmosphere in our department that is judgement free. I want to lead by example by being supportive of everyone and bringing nothing but positive vibes. I want to be more involved with other departments at GSA and make lots of new friends from other departments. Governor’s School for the Arts allows students the privilege to congregate with many talented artists from across Hampton Roads and I want to make as many connections as possible with all types of art forms. I’m working to make sure my vocals are top notch for next year in hopes of getting a lead role in one of the operas. I really want the underclassmen to look up to me and I want them to see me as an example of what hard work and dedication can produce in four years. I hope my vocal growth inspires them to craft their vocal instrument. Academically, I want to challenge myself to get straight A’s and possibly bring my GPA up to a 4.0 or higher (I’m so close to fulfilling this goal). I’m going to study over the summer, so I can rock the SAT and get a good scholarship. I’m going to be a scholarship fanatic next year, so I can be as debt-free as possible for college. I’m preparing for college auditions and focusing on making my audition repertoire exceptional. I also want to become more independent, so I can get ready to live on my own. I’m also hoping that I can find a job with a decent pay to go towards my college funds. I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished this year and I know that this is only the beginning of my development into an independent young woman. There’s so much more work to be done but I’m confident and determined that I will accomplish all my aspirations.