Passing on the Torch

The seniors will be going away and are reflecting on the way they have impacted underclassmen

Sriram Dasarathy and Annie Liu

Staff Writer and Editor-in-Chief

    Graduation day: a long-awaited and well-deserved day that finally arrives after four years of hard work. The graduating class of twelfth graders lines up on a field. Their names are being called, and they come up to the stage and receive their diplomas. They walk down the stage and the crowds in the stands give loud applause. Afterward, they come off the stage and their friends and family come to meet them and celebrate. This scene is undoubtedly a joyful moment to cherish forever, but it also brings with it a sense of finality as seniors leave behind the last chapter of their life to begin a new one.

    As seniors finish the last few weeks of their high school careers on a strong, memorable note, some of them are reflecting on how their interactions with the underclassmen have been. From participating in Link Crew to holding leadership roles in clubs, seniors have done their best to ease tensions that underclassmen may be facing.

    “I have some friends who are freshmen…We were in drama together and I used to help them rehearse,” stated Mel Marc Felipe (12). In general, he explains, “I want to set a good example, so I choose freshmen as my partners. I have tutored some freshmen in math most of the time, and I have also helped them with their French work.”

    As mentors to their younger counterparts, seniors have helped underclassmen with a variety of things. Whether it has been for academics, sports, or life advice, upperclassmen have provided many ways for younger students to receive guidance, as older students help pave the way for the success of underclassmen in the future.

    “My friends, who are seniors, [keep] on telling me not to stress about high school. As a freshman last year, I had these ideas about high school, like, ‘I have to get straight A’s, and I have to get into college,’” Yamelak Alemu (10) said. “Now, I know the truth and how high school actually is. My senior friends were fun to be around and easy to talk to. They made me realize how high school is not that difficult.”

    For some students, external pressures can manifest themselves as significant challenges, and students may feel the need to find methods of coping with those issues. This is another aspect in which many underclassmen look up to seniors for assistance.  

    “I can show future underclassmen that they should not be stressed out about school and whatever goes on in their lives,” stated Alemu. “They need to relax sometimes. I know that grades are important, [but] while having certain expectations, students should [also] be able to let go.”

    As many underclassmen grow up, seniors can be curious as to how their guidance has impacted the younger students. One small action can lead to lots of change, and this can often be observed over the years as younger students develop throughout their high school journeys.

     “It is always nice to see how underclassmen progress.” said Annie Hinh (12). “When I was a Link Leader, I gave an impression that American is a very spirited school, and I want underclassmen to show their spirit and not be shy about it.”

    In addition to seeing their impact on the younger students, seniors also express hopes for the types of legacies that they wish to leave American with.

    “I hope that I will be remembered as that humble guy in the corner,” said Felipe. “I am very outgoing, and I want to be remembered as someone who is humble, intelligent, and supportive.”

    As the class of 2019 departs from American High School, they will do so knowing that they have left a lasting imprint on the school. When the seniors walk off of the American campus for the last time as students here, they will be passing on the torch for the role of being model students to the next graduating class.

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