(COVINGTON, La.) — There are no words, nor a phrase that could possibly sum up my entire St. Paul’s Experience due to the range of emotions and memories involved.
The best way for me to try to explain my SPS experience would require me to think back to Aug. 9, 2012: the day my SPS experience began.
I can still remember the feeling of anxiety and the realization of it all as if it was yesterday. I was frightened, excited, addled and a bit dumbfounded. But, with all those emotions, I also felt a sense of relief. I could start over – that’s one thing that every new chapter offers.
However, I had to start over completely. I had to experience different teaching methods, new people, a new environment, and, eventually, a new me.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Every high school offers these new things. It’s a part of life, and, no matter where you go, you will experience these things. The good thing is that with these new experiences, you have the chance to learn and engulf yourself in new things.
During my time at St. Paul’s, I was heavily involved in the Lasallian Youth and Theatre organizations, as well as other things. I even attended a summer conference for the Lasallian Youth Leaders, which was a huge boost for me. If I could give any advice to underclassmen, it would be get as involved as possible. You’ll thank me later.
As I recall, I was told numerous times as a pre-freshman to get involved, but it took me until junior year to finally take action. Don’t be me. I guarantee that if you wait until junior year, you’ll also regret it. So get involved now.
Like many others, I didn’t get involved earlier because I was scared, nervous and shy. Again, don’t be me.
On a more positive note, SPS pushed me. It pushes all of its students to be the best person they can be, and to do the best they possibly can. SPS pushed me in all ways possible. Because of its push, I was able to break out of my shell and actually do more, which resulted in my attitude and personality changing for the better. I was able to think more positively and become more mature. It prepared me for the future. A future which requires me to start fresh and make new friends.
I made friends at SPS that I hope to keep for a very long time, if not a lifetime. I don’t even refer to them as friends because they truly are my brothers.
Senior year was the year for me when I grew closer to my fellow brothers. It was an amazing year, honestly, and words simply cannot describe it. Many things are arranged by the administration for this purpose; many of which, I cannot and will not mention. That’s for you to discover and experience. Sorry, but not sorry.
Furthermore, senior year offers more than you can imagine. Senior year offers senior gatherings like the BBQ and Grad Night, which are full of great memories. It also offers the popular Senior Retreat, which is an eye-opening experience and results in so many grateful and fun memories. Sorry, I had to tease you.
At this point, I’ve said all I really can say. The rest, you have to experience for yourself.
That said, I thought I would leave a little advice for all the underclassmen.
To the Class of 2018– Enjoy your last year – it’ll fly by. Believe me. Start thinking about college early; don’t wait. If your grades aren’t where they should be, get them there. Also, you’re now seniors, and with that comes a tremendous amount of responsibility and leadership; use it only for the good of others and try not to mess it up. Good Luck. Lastly, you’ll never be as cool as the Class of 2017, so please stop trying. Best of luck.
To the Class of 2019– This is the time where if you believe you aren’t trying your hardest in school, you can still change your heading. Make it count. You’re about to be juniors, and with that comes more pressure to do the very best you can, and to be the best person you possibly can. No pressure.
To the Class of 2020– You’re entering the halfway mark of your experience; luckily, you have time… sort of. But like the juniors, start improving your grades, getting involved, and being the best person you can be. You still have some time, so take advantage of it.
To the Class of 2021– Take every moment you have at SPS seriously, it flies by so quickly. Get to know your fellow brothers, and get as involved as possible. Lastly, if your grades aren’t great or if other skills you posses aren’t improving, start improving them. Luckily, you have time, but again, it flies by, so be aware.
In conclusion, I want to thank SPS, but more importantly its faculty, for all they have done for me and my fellow brothers. The faculty does deeds that go unnoticed. They sacrifice much of their time for us, which leaves all of us in a tremendous amount of debt.
Leaving SPS and Louisiana altogether is going to be very hard. I’m leaving behind two of my best friends who are juniors (who don’t know what they’re going to do without me), I’m leaving behind my family and friends, I’m leaving my safe place, and I’m leaving everything I’ve grown accustomed to.
All I can say at this point is: Thank you, St. Paul’s…..It’s been a good ride.
(Photo credits: Jeff Ramon, Denny Charbonnet and Carolyn Hopel)