Denizens of CHS reflect on year well-spent

As the end of the school year—or, for some, the end of high school—rapidly approaches, we students have a tendency to cast the prior nine months in a rose-tinted light, something akin to Instagram’s Valencia filter, something homey and warm. But even without these corrective lenses, it simply wouldn’t do to call the year bad. And, because the ultimate goal of this piece is to bring closure to the year—to “wrap the burrito,” as social studies teacher Marc Stafford would say—I think that it’s important we recognize that while the year wasn’t perfect, it was overall a good experience for Carmel High.

I don’t think I’m alone in these sentiments, though perhaps as a senior whose high school career is basically over, I could be starry-eyed. Still, the overwhelming majority of students and faculty to whom I spoke had at least one positive thing to say about this year—even if it was just that it’s ending in a few weeks!

“The great thing about this year is that I realized that school is actually the best part of my week,” senior Avery Yeatman notes. “I mean, it’s when I’m mandated to see all of my friends, some of whom are my teachers—it’s a really important part of my life, emotionally speaking.”

“I think the really powerful thing about this year for me is that this is the first graduating class that I’ve taught all the way through,” science teacher Jason Maas-Baldwin says. “I had so many of these kids as little freshmen in Honors Bio, and now they’re adults. That’s a definite high point for me.”

Maas-Baldwin also emphasizes the profound impact of the desert trip this year, saying that its power was magnified by the fact that many of the attendees had been his students at some point.

The desert trip and all its opportunities for emotional intimacy were a highly prevalent apex among those who went: Described as “amazing,” “beautiful,” and even “life-changing,” it’s clear that the experience had quite an impact.

“Just being able to really talk to people out in the desert was really good,” senior Garrett Carwitz-Mungridis says. “A lot of people kind of stepped out of themselves; they made themselves more open, and that was really cool to see. Bringing that feeling back home has been really valuable, too—I’m just glad that we had those experiences together, really.”

He also says that beating Pacific Grove at the Shoe Game was really satisfying, which I’m sure it would have been—had we actually won.

Connections and opportunities to connect were many people’s favorite facets of this school year: Mia Pak, a sophomore, says that her year’s zenith was getting to work with others in the school’s dance shows.

“Students from all different social groups come together and give 100 percent of their effort for a fun, collaborative and giving experience… It was definitely a highlight for me.”

“I loved getting to know more people that I’d been going to school with for years now,” says Lauren Mauldwin, a senior. “It’s a little bittersweet because it’s not like I’ve had that much time with them, but at least we got that initial contact.”

So in conclusion, Padres? It looks like even amidst such horrors as the new Common Core curriculum, this year was actually pretty bearable (as long as we actually put effort into communicating with those around us). Maybe that’s a little sappy, but isn’t any look backwards going to be? Just let me be that archetypal high school has-been for this article, please and thanks.
-Elizabeth Harrison