So long, Fishers High School

Copies+of+FHS+yearbooks+and+newspapers+surround+the+Class+of+2020%27s+headband%2C+which+all+current+seniors+were+given+at+the+end+of+their+junior+year.

Photo by Ellie Albin

Copies of FHS yearbooks and newspapers surround the Class of 2020’s headband, which all current seniors were given at the end of their junior year.

I’ve been documenting our history since my sophomore year.

Yep, that’s right; three years of documenting stuff that happened to students and teachers, both inside and outside the walls of FHS. 

I’ve written about everything from sports to clubs to my own opinions. I’ve documented things like soccer, track and hockey, I’ve analyzed the true value of awards ceremonies and I’ve had to decide, as an editor-in-chief, how to cover something like suicide.

And that’s not even all of it. Nowhere near all of it.

It’s kinda a lot for a high school journalist. It’s overwhelming. It’s difficult. It’s sometimes really emotional. There were times when I couldn’t get responses back from people I needed to interview. There were times when I heard kids talking about how they didn’t care about the newspaper. There were times when I couldn’t even write a story because of everything going on in my life – because of everything I had going on at FHS, which was my life.

Through it all, though, there was one thing I slowly started to learn during my time at FHS that will always stick with me: high school is an amazing, terrible, cruel, beautiful, heart-wrenching, wonderful mess. 

I wish I could say that more concisely, but I’ve never really been one to do that, and there’s really no other way to say it; high school just happens to be as messy and confusing as that sentence.

But, honestly? I’m gonna miss writing about it. 

There’s nothing black-and-white about high school. Everything is a muddled gray, which makes it unbelievably frustrating. You’re not always sure if your teachers are having a good or bad day, you’re not always sure if one of your friends is mad at you, you’re not always sure that people like you and you’re not always even sure that you’re okay – which seems like it would be easy to answer, but it hardly ever is.

Because, like I said, every step of the way is a little messy. There’s not a clear answer to anything.

But, every step of the way has also provided me, as I’m sure it has for many of you, a new perspective on life. And I gained those perspectives through the people I got to meet and the stories I was able to tell.

Yeah, I know I said that getting interviews was hard sometimes. Sometimes, the newspaper got bashed. Sometimes, there was too much going on in my life to even feel like writing a story. 

That was all sometimes, though.

Because, at the end of the day, I did eventually get every story written. At the end of the day, there were more compliments about the newspaper than insults. At the end of the day, I pulled myself together enough to realize just how beautiful life is – even in high school. 

And it’s all thanks to every single person in that school.

Journalism is all about telling the story – the true story. So, for three years, I pieced together the true stories of FHS. From athletes to artists to academic all-stars to opinionated students, I heard a variety of different voices that helped me piece together what I should say in this moment as I, along with my fellow seniors, prepare to leave:

I’m not just gonna miss writing about this.

I’m gonna miss this. High school.

And I hope all the seniors will, too.

I know high school is a mess, like I said. It’s a mess the whole way through. I told you why it was hard for me – and there’s even more I could elaborate on – and I saw how rough it was for you guys, too. 

How, though?

Well, a lot of you let me into your lives. You let me ask you questions. You let me cover the happy and the sad stories.

Because, again: journalism is about telling the true story. And the truth involves a lot of heartache. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

Not one bit.

For every story I got to write about how good a sports team was and what great leadership they had, I had to write a story about a club that had basically no members and was on the brink of extinction. For every story I got to write about an inspiring charity, I had to write an argument about why students deserve breaks, because apparently it wasn’t already evident enough. 

And life proved to be a lot like the array of stories I told.

For every friend we made, we might’ve had to lose one. For every good grade we got, we probably had to suffer from a bad grade. For every teacher we got to say hello to, we might’ve had to say goodbye to another.

And I learned, no matter how much it hurt sometimes, that that’s what life was going to be like.

The whole way through. 

It’s bad. It’s good. It’s sad. It’s happy. High school wasn’t just a simulation of life; it was life.

I didn’t realize the parallels between my newspaper experiences and all my other life experiences until recently. I’m not entirely sure what to make of all of it yet, but I know that all those stories I got to write were really just stepping stones as I figured out my own story.

FHS, on behalf of the Class of 2020, thank you for the stories. Thank you for making it memorable, from beginning to end – we started with a first day of school that had no lights, no air conditioning, spotty WiFi and a fire alarm. And now we’re ending in a pandemic.

But, what I hope is that every senior remembers all those stories in-between the beginning and the end. Because they’re documented, no doubt about that; the newspaper staff and I tried our best to make sure that those stories got recorded.

What’s really amazing to me, though, is all the stories we will never get to tell. There will always be stories I’ll never know.

And that’s pretty cool.

I can’t define this experience for you, seniors; I can only tell you what happened. I can only really tell you the facts. That’s what a good reporter does. So, yeah; the beginning was a little rough, and the ending is a little rough, too. I won’t hide that from any of you.

But it’s all those good and bad moments in the middle that will ultimately define how we look back on high school. Not this moment right now. The beginning and the ending aren’t even the best part, anyway; like John Green says in the novel Let it Snow, “I always had this idea that you should never give up a happy middle in the hopes of a happy ending, because there is no such thing as a happy ending. Do you know what I mean? There is so much to lose.”

I hope I did a good job of documenting the uplifting and the tough moments in high school. Because both are important.

But I hope you also have moments that only apply to you. Because, like I said: I can’t define this moment in time for you. Only you can do that.