Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue, Goodbye St. Alphonsus, I believe we are through

March 3, 2010
“Today we leave the comfort of the second home we call St. Al’s and enter the brand new environment called high school.” Those were the first words uttered by Megan Chamberlin, St. Alphonsus’ 8th grade class of 2009 salutatorian and my very best friend. Every one of us had been waiting for this day to come all year. It was a bittersweet time for every one of us. A lot of the students in the class had been together since kindergarten. Others came and went but those who joined the class were always accepted. We were happy to be leaving the restrictions of our private-catholic school of St. Alphonsus, or St. Al’s as we all called it, but also we were sad to leave the people we had been with for nine years. Within our nine years of education we had new friends who became best friends, old friends who grew apart, drama that tore us apart, and fun times and memories that we would never forget. Now on Monday June 8th, 2009 in the St. Alphonsus church we were about to officially leave the place where we grew up academically, physically, and emotionally. I for one, was ready to move on but also, not ready to leave the people I called my best friends in the whole world.
On that warm June evening I arrived in my pretty dress, blue gown and cap in hand prepared to say goodbye to this chapter in my life. In a class of nineteen students we were all close friends, that night we walked the halls together for the last time as students of St. Alphonsus. As we lined up in the back of the church in our line of march we were all jittery with excitement and nerves. While the girls were praying not to trip, the guys were just hoping this ceremony would go by quickly so they could get to the after-party. I suddenly hear the organ playing “Pomp and Circumstance” I knew it was time. I was the lead of the line and when those big church doors opened and we saw all the people we all thought, “This is it”. The ceremony was something I will never forget. From helping with a shoe malfunction happening to my friend Zoë next to me, to shushing the boys near me planning to pull a prank during the ceremony, it was everything I expected and more. As they called us one by one for our diplomas we all smiled knowing that we were done with St. Al’s but dying to cry on the inside because we all knew we would go our separate ways and to different high schools and we would miss each other more than anything. As they pronounced us as “the St. Alphonsus graduating class of 2009” and my friend Owen Quinton whispered to me, “Hayley! We did it!” I knew right then and there, I would never forget my incredible times at St. Al’s. After it was over and we walked out of the church girls ripping their uncomfortable heels off and all of us screaming and yelling we were so excited. At St. Al’s we were challenged; we were loved; we were prepared for what was ahead and it was all ending. We waited for this day all year and we felt like we had finally accomplished something. What we accomplished, was something kids in other countries don’t always get to accomplish, and we all felt very blessed to be able to attend such a great school as St. Alphonsus.
This rite of passage in my life could be called a separation, but also a transition. It is a separation in the fact that I had been a student at St. Al’s for nine years. I went from being an adorable, young kindergartener to being a beautiful, fun, grown-up eighth grader. I grew up at St. Al’s. I spent six (or sometimes more) hours everyday at that school. I felt comfortable there. I was about to go into a brand new high school, only knowing one person. Whereas, at St. Al’s, I knew every single person from students, to faculty, and even the parents. I wasn’t sure how I would do in public school since I had been in private school my whole life. I was about to go from very sheltered, to free as a bird. I may have been the most antsy to leave St. Al’s but I had my doubts about high school. I was ready to be separated from my grade school but at the same time, I wasn’t ready to be separated from my second home.
It is an obvious transition in the way that we are going from grade school to high school. For me, it was also a transition going from private school to public school. I was going from less than 200 students, to almost 2,000 students. I was entering a new stage of learning. A stage of learning that will help me to decide what I will do for the rest of my life and where I will go in life. In grade school you just learn what you need to learn to go onto a higher education and in high school it’s much more than that. I was about to be thrust into a world where I would have to decide my role in life. I would have to grow up; I would have to become an adult. Some people aren’t ready to become adults. I was pretty sure that I was ready for the transition. I was ready to become a young woman.
As we go from one stage to the next in our life we remember the things in life that helped us get there. At St. Al’s I thank the teachers for encouraging and teaching me everything I know now, my parents for helping me with homework and projects that helped me understand what I was actually learning and pushing me to strive harder, my peers for being there for me whenever I needed them, and God for being the person I could go to as a strong Christian I needed someone like him. Graduation from St. Alphonsus was one of the biggest things in my life so far and I think it always will be. This rite of passage was a life-changing experience like any other but to me this bittersweet experience will forever be one of the best days of my life. I miss St. Alphonsus and the people in it but Shorewood is where I belong and is where I will spend the next four years of my life growing up and making changes in my life, and I’m more than okay with that.

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