A senior’s goodbye

Dear Cherokee High School:

The last four years of my life has been… different to say the least.

It was definitely not how I expected high school to be–at all. My only exposure was High School Musical though, so that’s honestly not a surprise.

This school has taught me so many things and that’s not even including what I learned from the classes I had to take.

When I first arrived at Cherokee my freshman year, I had stars in my eyes. I was in high school after all!

All that time in elementary and middle school was training me up for these next four years of my life.

I had to make them count.

So I got involved in everything. From band, to drama and even the anime club. If it sparked my interest, I was there.

Meeting Belle durning the Band trip to Disney (Freshman Year)

I ended up stretching myself too thin between after school activities, which caused me to burn out.

That’s when I learned my first lesson: just because you want to do everything doesn’t mean you should. Give yourself room to breathe.

My sophomore year, I took a step back from all of those activities. They were just draining me out.

I went from being involved in everything to being involved in nothing. The other extreme wasn’t good either.

That’s when I made a decision that shocked both me and my parents. I decided to join Speech and Debate and write my first-ever speech.

I went to my first tournament. I went in with my little speech about the Hero’s Journey and I went home with a first place trophy in my category.

Throughout the rest of the season, I gained trophies and ranked up in the National Speech and Debate Association.

I finally found something that I was good at, as well as actually enjoy. I was even able to compete on the national level against some of the best in the country that year.

Preparing for Speech and Debate Nationals (Sophomore year)

Sophomore year is when I learned my second lesson: even if nobody else believes in you, believe in yourself. Just a little self confidence can go a long way.

Junior year, was definitely something.

That was the year that made me realize, wow, I really suck at math.

That year was filled with stress and mindsets wondering whether I should just give up entirely or push myself harder risking breaking into a mental health crisis. It was–not fun–at all.

I believe my mental health was the worst it ever was at that point in time.

For current juniors who are relating to this right now, trust me, it gets better. That’s the lesson I learned that year: never give up, but don’t be afraid to ask for help. People do genuinely want to help you; you’re not being a burden.

Winning second place in Informative Speaking at Valdosta High School (Junior year)

Then, finally, senior year. This year was the most unpredictable thing that’s ever happened to me.

It was like I was on a rollercoaster and I just ate a chili cheese dog that was coming for revenge.

Overall, I think it was a good year for me. I got to work on this amazing newspaper, which honestly got me through a lot. Writing is good therapy, if you ask me.

Then the Coronavirus hit. I don’t think any of us saw the effects of the virus coming. I remember some kids were excited for “coronacation” thinking it would only last a couple weeks. It took the rest of the year away.

I was finally planning to go to prom. That got canceled.

I never got to say goodbye to my friends.

The rest of my senior year I spent indoors, getting excited over any little event that happens because nothing ever happens.

My final lesson of high school is: always know that challenges may try to intercede and embrace them; never take anything for granted. You don’t know when a moment you’ve settled into may be soon gone.

Showing off a cute Christmas outfit in first period (Senior year)

Thank you, Cherokee, for teaching me these important things that I will carry on for the rest of my life. My high school journey might of not been High School Musical but it was mine.

Now I have a few good stories to tell about it.

Sending Love and Light;

Hali Ann Coombs

P.S: Nobody had 2020 vision.

Getting ready for Senior Project presentation (Senior year)

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