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The Greenbrier Wolfpack and I have a bit of a complicated history. My Greenbrier

education began the day after Valentine’s Day in fifth grade. It was a rough start. I was pulled

from a place where I had friends and a degree of academic renown and haphazardly shoved into

a new school where no one even knew my name, much less my interests or abilities. Distraught

by my lack of recognition, I tried as hard as I could to emphasize my scholastic abilities—in

other words, I was quite immodest. I fumed when another girl won the school reading award that

would have been mine were I still in Pennsylvania. Suffice to say, I was none too keen toward

Greenbrier when I graduated elementary school. Thankfully, things began looking up in middle

school. At last enrolled in challenging classes with academically-inclined peers, I stopped being

so snobbish about my scholastic abilities. The girl I glared at from the audience back in fifth

grade became my best friend, and along with some boys, we formed a close group of nerdy,

awkward pre-teens. From there, cliché though it may be, the rest is history. My friends and a

series of excellent teachers propelled me through middle school and into high school, and the

past four years I have been incredibly supported by my peers and educators. Senior year in

particular has brought great challenges and greater successes. My schedule is more rigorous than

it has ever been, and combined with the ever-present “senioritis,” I have had to fight to make the

grades I want. Thoughtful and encouraging teachers have been an enormous help to this end,

even as they continue to assign more homework and projects. While I have had great teachers

every year here at Greenbrier, I believe I hit the jackpot senior year. Never have I had so many

teachers that were as passionate about their subjects as these; they inspire me to take interest in

their field and consider it deeply. Additionally, as a senior, I have enjoyed the most fun school

year yet as I make the most out of my last days of high school and, more bittersweetly,
childhood. Every football game, band competition, and musical rehearsal has been meaningful

this year, for each is a step closer to the last. As I look toward graduation, coming sooner than

seems possible, I feel ready for what comes next. Greenbrier High has prepared me well, and I

know that because of the people I have met here and the experiences I have been afforded, I will

be successful in the next phase of my life.

My education has taught me much more than derivatives and eponyms. Because of my

challenging curriculum, I have learned the true value of diligence. My rigorous courses have

required me to be focused, hardworking, and incredibly self-motivated. This may be the most

important lesson of all, for self-motivation is what defines our futures. A self-motivated woman

attending a public university can go just as far in life as an unmotivated woman attending an Ivy

League school. While my classroom learning has expanded my knowledge and improved my

ability to consider new ideas, my extracurriculars have caused me to mature. This year I served

as an auxiliary captain and president of the Thespian troupe. In these positions, I have had to

learn what it means—and what it requires—to be a good leader. Through challenges ranging

from petty disputes to logistical issues, I have learned how to rise to the occasion and make

thoughtful decisions as needed. Leaders must be quick thinkers, and unafraid to stand their

ground should a conflict arise. I seek peace and since overcoming my bossy younger days often

feel uncomfortable commanding people directly, fearing I will come across negatively. Working

in leadership roles this year has taught me that I must work for the benefit of those under me,

even if it means making tough decisions and risking coming across as mean occasionally. For

example, as auxiliary captain, I oversaw a group of girls who were uninterested in dance and

seemed to doubt I had the authority to be captain. They would refuse to participate in our warm-

up dance and often complained about uniform requirements or the choreography. At first I was
hesitant to enforce team protocol; at heart, I am a pleaser, and I did not want them to dislike me.

After a while, though, I realized that we would never get anywhere if I could not enforce the

rules, and I began to take charge of my team. I am sure they often resented me, but I am

confident that we would not have achieved the scores we did without the leadership tactics of my

co-captain and me. Thanks to auxiliary, I am no longer a kid too scared to give directions; I am

an adult who knows what she wants and is not afraid to take it. This will be integral to my

success in college. I hope to be heavily involved in the theatre department at the University of

Georgia next year, and that will require all the leadership skills and other lessons I have learned

in high school.

I am generally quite content with the way my high school career has turned out. There are

a few things I would have done differently concerning my social life, but otherwise, I believe I

had a good run in grade school. Perhaps, if I had to change one thing, I would have not cared so

much about my grades. I have been ranked first in my class since the sixth grade, and though it is

a tremendous honor, with each year the pressure to keep this rank has increased. I know that

losing valedictorian will not mean anything once graduation is over, but at this point, after so

many years with it in my reach, it would be devastating to lose it. Sometimes I wonder how

much less energy I would have put into pointless schoolwork and how much more energy I

would have put into my passions—theatre, writing, and dance—had I made one low “A”

freshman year and dropped out of the running. I wonder if I would be happier, in the top twenty

or so, still of an honorable rank but without the pressure of first. On a less serious note, I wish I

knew how much I would want a driver’s license senior year, so I would have been more

motivated to obtain it as a sophomore or junior. That is a good piece of advice for rising seniors:

driver’s licenses, while not imperative, make taking advantage of greater freedoms much easier.
Future graduating classes should also know that, while they should all take advantage of as many

experiences as they can while in high school, missing out on a few is okay, too. I have spent far

too much time feeling like I was lacking something significant because I have never had a real

date to a school dance, attended a basketball game, or been to an infamous high school party. We

can graduate with a few boxes left blank; college and adult life will provide many opportunities

to check off new experiences.