Article by: Isabel Wilson
Photograph by: Orla CrokeMartin
I’m not going to lie; you’ve been pretty difficult to deal with. As a senior, you’ve given me more than I can handle: Extended Essays, ToK Presentations, college applications, SATs, CAS hours and the stress of GPAs. But these were only the basis of my worries, which were derived from school. Aside from the academic, there were a host of other issues that made you a toxic mix, including trying to maintain a social life and still pursue the activities that I’ve grown to love. But knowing that you were a part of my last school year in high school made me view you in a very different light so that every major event this year was etched deeper into my box of memories than any other year before.
This was especially true when you introduced the school year 2013-2014 with memorable cheers, impressive facepaint, and a mix-match of symbolic colors in the form of Battle of the Bearcats (BoB). Granted, BoB takes place annually, and is arguably considered the best high school event of every year, because of the sportsmanly spirit of competition, the suspension of classes, and the excitement of friends and foe it battling it out in football, chess, Minecraft, and every other activity imagined. But I should tell you 2013, you made it different. Instead of just the eager anxiety leading up to BoB and the satisfaction of participating, as part of the seniors, winning BoB was all the more sweeter knowing we had left our mark on an amazing event. As class-council president Andie Ayala put it best, “[we] took the meaning of being seniors, crushed it to the ground, and completely redefined it. [We] showed everyone that being a senior wasn’t just about being big and intimidating, but also about being leaders and encouraging and guiding the rest of the high school”.
If there’s one thing about ‘lasts’, it is that they teach you how to cherish the present, because that specific experience will not happen again. This holds true especially for your magic at iCare, my personal favorite event of the year. I have been extremely fortunate to go to provincial sites for the past four years, including Banawe this year, and being given the chance to partake in community service in a different part of the country is a priceless opportunity. The power of the bonds made in a relatively short amount of time with people I’ve never spoken to before is something I will always remember. In this way, 2013, you have taught me to take advantage of every opportunity, and to make sure that its not just the souvenirs that I take away from my journey, but also the relationships that I’ve developed.
Unfortunately, I left you on the tragic note of Typhoon Haiyan. With an unorganized local government, thousands of people clamoring for food, and large amounts of crucial infrastructure destroyed, it became clear that a full recovery from the typhoon would not happen in the time that you were around. But you were there to witness the Japanese child who donated his savings to the relief efforts, and the American planes that relocated the survivors of typhoon, and the volunteer doctors, nurses and civilians who came from all over the world to share their concern. In a sense, the devastation and tragedy stemming from the typhoon has highlighted the generosity of the international community and the formidability of the Filipino spirit.
Looking back, I can’t help but think of all the amazing memories I’ve collected this year. 2013, you have showed me that life’s snowballs– homework, tests, even natural disasters– may hit me hard. In the face. But maybe the best thing to do is wipe my face, make another snowball, and hit life back. After all, we could all use a little snowball fight.
P.S. To the incredible group of people I’ve been lucky to grow with, to the teachers who’ve helped me survive, to the batch of 2014, thank you for making 2013 truly wonderful