Scott MacDonald’s Senior Column

Scott MacDonalds Senior Column

A lot of you tell me that the WEB sucks, or that it was better than last year but still sucks, or that it has somehow become more liberal despite printing only two or three political opinions during the entire year, or how much of Babcock’s stories did you write for him? I answer politely, and often with a hint of self-deprecation.

Everyone knows that the WEB, while better than SPIRIT, is above all a learning experience for us journalism students. But the truth is that, since that day in Taco John’s my freshman year when Kevin Arritt told me to join the WEB, I have watched the years fly by at Ames High and written article after article, laid out page after page, watched video after video–and had day after day of fun and bettered skills as an editor, reporter, and now editor-in-chief of this publication.

I’ve been proud to say that I’m on WEB staff. From Lawrence Chowder loudly eating his exotic lunches in my ear, to staff bonding experiences at Chinese Homestyle, to Lawrence Chowder selling Mountain Dew bottles for a dollar each, to getting Black Market Pizzas with a lot of meat, I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment on staff, and will deeply miss it. This goes for most everything else at Ames High School.

Looking back, I guess I took a lot of my time here for granted. My throat sort of tightens when I think about it–those great times, memories inside the building and out–things that I can’t ever get back. Fall evenings with Ezquimeux and the crew listening to Hoodie Allen and the Black Keys, the chill felt walking outside to the courtyard after P.E. in the pool, kickin’ it in all black with Max and the techies–it’s all gone.

You all have given me so much here, and I’ve tried to give back as best I can. I have enjoyed reading your daily announcements despite a speech impediment, plunging into the local rap scene despite being whiter than chalk, and serving as auditorium crewhead despite not knowing what on earth I was doing. But, it’s over. Today is it, then my senior recital tomorrow, open house fiasco on Saturday, and graduation on Sunday. One last summer and then I’m off to the University of Missouri and all the bull cliches about accomplishing everything and reaching the stars and being who I truly am and breezing through those open doors of opportunity will come true.

Not that I’m bitter. I’m actually quite relieved, looking back at how I used to believe everything we in the AP classes and the gifted seminars and the Science Olympiads were told. I wasn’t as hardcore as many of my fellow seniors (as evidenced by my GPA). But it scares me how close I was, up to the beginning of my senior year, to visiting, applying for, and choosing a college literally based on how impressive it would sound as a response to questions from friends and neighbors on where I was going.  “Oh, I’m going to Colgate.” “Well, next year I’ll be heading off to Dartmouth.”

Why the hell was I so willing to drown myself in debt to attend a school so far away for thirty thousand dollars more per year for the same level of education–so it would sound impressive when I said it in church? To the neighbors walking by while I was mowing the lawn? The pride found in seeing my name on that little map outside the media center?  “Scott MacDonald–Colgate University, Hamilton, NY.” They might as well have put the tuition cost right there, too. “Scott MacDonald, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY–$47,000/yr not including books, room, and board.”

Life lessons aside, I’ve got some thanking to do. First of all, to all my teachers, both those employed by the school district and those who have taught me in other ways. I firmly believe that we are the complete sum of every interaction we have in our lives, and I have been blessed to have had so many good interactions these last four years.

Secondly, to the students of Ames High. Real talk–a lot of you suck. But there are so many of you who are wickedly awesome, and so many who I wish I could’ve had the time to get to know better. An incomplete shoutout to my friends who have made my time here extra special: my theatre peeps Canfield, Hackbarth and Emily; my homies Kris, Colin, and Zach; hipster/cupcake ladies Katrina, Chloe, and Torry; all the WEB staff and especially Sam, Michael and Bree; French trip bros David, BP and Michael again; Izzy, Qlaire, Brandon and Bob, Rachel, Ogilvie, supersenior Max, Kezia and the girls, AmyDavis, Chris Jackson (attention class of 2014: vote CJ for president), and the rest: I love you all.

Thirdly, to the administration, especially Capt. Spence Evans. Despite the high-pitched whines that students made all year about him, you can’t deny that he’s effective, he’s passionate, and he truly loves this school. Ames High is lucky to have Spence, and I have no doubt that things are going to get even better.

Fourthly and lastly, to Ames. Jesus, I love living here. Yeah, it’s boring. Yeah, no one listens to the kids. But it’s home. The memories I have made here, the compassion that this city has shown me, will never leave me. Thank you. But it’s time to move on. This day has grown closer and closer–and now it’s here. No matter what I–or any of us in the class of 2011–end up doing, it is essential, I think, to remember that we are given a single life, a single chance to make the most of every situation we are handed and capitalize on every opportunity we are given. I am reminded, as I head off, of that Jack London quote on the wall in Mr. Brekke’s room: “I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” So it goes.