Sarah Raaii's Senior Column

High school always seemed so intimidating when we were little. It was so difficult to believe we would ever become those “big kids” of whom we were so envious. Now that it is almost over, I realize the idea of high school may have seemed intimidating back then, but now that I have actually lived it, it makes sense. During my four years at Ames High, I have grown up and along the way, I have learned about myself, my surroundings, and the world. I have met some of the most interesting people I will ever have the privilege of knowing. They range from those incapable of being anything other than cheerful to those who live with a cynically sarcastic outlook on life, and then are those who are unforgettable because of the simplicity and beauty of their very souls. With these uniquely wonderful individuals, I have cultivated thousands of memories that I will carry with me well into the future. Aside from the people I have met sitting next to me in classrooms, there have been those who have stood up in front of us to guide us. They have all impacted my life in some way and been the cause of academic and personal growth. And then there are the special few who have ignited the flame of passion that always lived within. With their inspiration and encouragement, I have lit a fire that I hope will be strong enough to withstand the winds of the world. By far the biggest source of support, the one that will protect me from the gusting winds, is my family. Their strength has helped me prevail in the countless challenges I have come across in my life. Knowing I have such a firm foundation in the world has helped me find the courage I need to pursue my dreams and the courage with which to simply live every day. The personal qualities they handed down to me have stayed with me, and I am more confident each day knowing they have planted the seeds of generosity, morality, and ambition in me. Throughout the last four years, I have grown up. I know I have grown up because I feel it, I see it every day in myself and I see it every day in the classmates I have come to know so well. Every time I am reminded that we are leaving in a matter of a few days, a few class periods, a few ceremonies, a few memories, a few moments, I feel proud of us. I feel pride and privilege to have shared four years with the wonderful individuals who make up Ames High. Our collective ambition, motivation, and passion is staggering. Like the bright tulips that demand our attention in the spring, we came into bloom after some harsh seasons. To the untrained eye, it seems like the time for the flowers to fade has finally arrived. As gardens transform into piles of dried petals, we go out in the real world, detached from our own stems and vulnerable to the harsh realities of the world. But we have come out even stronger than we were when we were nothing but delicate buds of freshmen. We may not have the safe shelter of our familiar stems anymore, but we have something that will prove to be even more valuable. We have weathered our change and, while we may have lost our innocence and become dried petals, we have the power to go out in the world and blossom into our own people.