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The Legacies Left Behind

The time has come where MHS seniors look towards the big day: graduation! For the class of 2023, goodbyes are bittersweet as they leave behind their final legacies. From sports, to clubs, to long-time friends, saying goodbye could not be a harder sentiment, but the question at the forefront of every senior’s mind is, “What potential does the ‘23 senior class have and where will it lead?”

Students have spent their last few weeks giving thought to all the memories made in the halls of Mishawaka. Sharing their most memorable moments, seniors leave behind their lasting appreciation for all kinds of special occasions and activities that have become core memories. Of these include: the Music Department’s trip to Florida, athletics, the SOS team, beloved teachers, Scholastic Arts, and so much more. Jacob Bush summed up his senior year. He said, “Every dynamic of it was enjoyable; being a senior has been surreal.”

Many athletes focused on the newfound sense of respect for their coaches as they transitioned from underclassmen to seniors. Leah Dawson, an MHS basketball and softball team member, spoke about the special bond with her coach, “Our strength and conditioning coach Mike Szerszen has helped me become a strong athlete and has pushed me to do better every stinking day. He’s like another father to me.”

Football and the comradery it brought with it seemed to be one of the hardest things for many seniors to say goodbye to. Zeke Valdez said, “I will miss football and friends. Football at MHS was everything to me. There will never be a greater joy than playing with my guys on that field.” Relationships and bonds formed in MHS athletics can be seen on and off the field. While many look to pursue their athletic interests in a college setting, for some, highschool was their opportunity to shine in the sports of their choosing. Our senior leaders used this year as the pivotal opportunity to act as role models for their predecessor athletes who aspire to carry on the legacy.

It is important to give appreciation for the hard working teachers and administrators who guided seniors along their four-year journey. Sophie Waldron showed her appreciation for Mrs. Bill and Mrs. Herman, “They showed me that school can be fun and they are like my family, they’re so accepting and just such great role models and I look up to both of them very much.” Victoria Trzaskowski also shared her experience with one of her most influential teachers,

“Mrs. Gerber, who is my speech/English teacher, makes our lessons very interesting to learn about while pushing her students to be the hardest, strongest workers. Mrs. Gerber instructs her lessons with immense positivity and enthusiasm, and she ensures that what she is teaching is easily comprehensible and will not move on until every student understands and has all the notes they may need.” She added, “She is always there with a smile on her face and you can just tell she is an amazing teacher who cares for and loves every single student she teaches. She helped me with both my personal life and school life and I thank her with all my heart.”

Post-high school plans follow a wide variety of paths for graduates. A poll of 34 seniors showed that only 44.1% of those students planned to attend college in the Fall of 2023. The 55.9% of those who either do not plan on attending college or are currently undecided have many options to explore. For some, travel is the main focus. Ty Coleman said, “I’m excited about moving to Texas for more money opportunities.” For others, figuring out what goals and career they want to pursue is the main priority. Dustin Fozkos shared his hopes following graduation, “Finding a passion, probably in trade and just finally being done with my general schooling.”

As class of ‘24 approach their senior year, class of ‘23 share their advice for how to make their last high school year one that counts. Generally, the senior class was filled with words of wisdom involving not skipping class, turning in work on time, and not procrastinating looking into future interests. Many other seniors advised the current junior class on a more emotional and social level. Leaira Snowden advised, “Focus on you and don’t let anyone change you.” Coleman gave similar advice. He said, “When it gets hard all you need is to have faith and keep on going.”

Mostly, the seniors encourage the class of ‘24 to enjoy their senior year as much as possible. As they come upon the last week surrounded by their peers they have grown up with for many years, seniors stress the importance of socialization and enjoyment. Waldron emphasized, “Enjoy it, go to the sporting events, watch the plays, just get involved. Do everything you can before it’s gone.”

“Time flies” is a known cliche, but it could not be more true when considering the four years of maturity that a student develops in high school. Marie Miller summarizes her experience and what she leaves behind for junior class, “Do your work. Keep your head held high. Never give up. No dream is too small. You can do anything you put your mind to. Stay positive no matter what, and keep your head held strong.” Congratulations to the graduating class of 2023, and MHS wishes you good luck in whatever endeavors the future may hold for you!

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