Tylah Fortson, Author/Editor

Going from a 9th grader to 12th grader in high school is like going from a seed to a flower. With dedication and care those 9th graders blossom into mature 12th grade flowers. When they finally get to that point, it is a beautiful, exhilarating, and prideful moment. There is a lot to reflect back on. The transition from a 9th to a 12th grader, or a child to an adult is never easy. With age comes experience, which leads to wisdom. As adults, a new knowledge is formed about life, about the people around them, and about themselves,

Emily Soley, or Emme, and Shawn Jackson are 12th graders at Fraser High School. They are at that point in their life where they are about to be pushed out and thrown into the real world. It is difficult, but they both have built knowledge  over these four high school years that can help guide their choices for the future.

Interestingly enough, most high school students leave high school with the same type of experiences and knowledge. For example, most people could agree with Shawn Jackson about his thoughts on friendships.

“You can start off with friends and in the short four years, you can lose a lot of them, quickly,” Jackson said.

They may also agree with the opinion of Soley when it comes to relationships in high school.

Emme Soley said, “guys are immature human beings that don’t know what the heck they want in the world.”

Okay, well maybe just most girls could agree with Soley, but what they say is what a lot of people feel. Once one enters the building surrounded in invisible barbed wire and barred windows with a four year sentencing, a lot changes. People change. Everyone is trying to learn about themselves and in the process, a lot of people around them get hurt, and bonds get broken. It all comes with the territory. At the end of it, they start to get an idea of what’s important and who they are, or who they want to be.

Close to the end, Amanda Tuten, a junior at FHS gave the advice, “Be careful who you trust.”

In her three years, she too, has learned a lot about herself and the people around her.

“These three years has taught me to be more outgoing. Life is not about staying home,” Tuten said.

She realized that personally, she can’t waste her years being secluded. Instead, Amanda Tuten lives by the mindset that, as she said,  “You have to take risk.”

As for the people around her, she said that, “When you’re a freshman, everything you want isn’t going to work out.”  It’s as simple as that, and it’s true. Expectations of things don’t necessarily turn into realities. Which is why it can be assumed that Tuten has grown to learn how to live.

“Don’t take life for granted,” She says, “Live life to the fullest.”

The 10th grader are feeling the growing spirit too. FHS’s very own Faith Schellhouse said that in life, she’s come to the realization that, “Some thing’s change, and it’s out of your control.”

That is what is too often experienced. That is probably what brings a new outlook to things. While in high school, these teens are constantly undergoing many transitions. Bodies, friends, boyfriends/girlfriends, goals, and mindsets rarely stay the same all when one is growing up.

But as Faith said, “One way or another, it’ll get better.”

Most people in High School feel as though because one grade of students are older than another, they are wiser or know more. In some ways, it is true. 12th graders can be assumed to know maybe just a little more than any other class of students because they are older and in some cases, have experienced all that comes with high school already. However, it doesn’t matter much because regardless of the differences between the students, they all, at some point have to deal with the same issues and ends up coming to the same realizations.

Even the freshman are getting a taste of what being in high school really means. It means a step in the general direction towards maturity and adulthood. Jalen Smith and Sa’mya Stone are both in their first of four years in high school. They are the youngest and amongst the most impressionable. But even in their first year, they’ve become privy to some things that come with maturing.

Sa’Mya Stone is already undergoing mindset changes.

She says, “I just want to focus on myself. In middle school, my name was in a lot of drama and I just thought friendships meant more. Now, I don’t associate with a lot of people.” Stone continued, “I have a future ahead of me. I don’t want to fail and be nothing in life.”

Smith is taking cautionary steps into high school and changing the ways in which he is making himself responsible, starting with his school work. Smith is taking school more seriously.

“I’m working harder now than in middle school. High School is very important so I work extra hard. It depends on your whole life.” He realizes that, “In elementary school, you were a kid who got to play around and be immature. Now, when you’re in high school, you have to be mature.”

As most of the seniors say, high school goes by quick as lightening. Unfortunately, not everyone is or was as determined and dedicated as Smith or as self-willed and observant as Stone as freshman. But there are a lot of lessons and experiences that are learned in high school outside of what goes into the grade book.

Pointed at the seniors, when asked what specifically they got out of high school and what it taught them, Soley and Jackson responded in short.

Now facing the stresses of college, Soley said that after everything, high school has taught her that, “preparing for college education is extremely important.”

Simple statement, but it’s true. They tell you it goes quick, and ask over and over what you want to do, but you never really realize the importance of prepping for it all until you’re up against a brick wall. It’s either sink or swim at this point. Seniors are all probably just a head over water right now. On another note, Jackson’s take away was his realization of himself.

He said, “[My four years has taught me] that I’m a good person; that I’m a cool person. I know how to make friends and I like to be around a lot of people. I like to hang out. And sometimes I can be mature, and sometimes I can be silly and goofy…”

An important part of growing up is finding oneself. Everything one thought they knew about his or her self gets thrown out the window and they find that they’re liking things they always said they’d hate and doing things they always said they’d never do. There’s a wholeness that comes with finding yourself. Jackson, Soley, Tuten, Schellhouse, Smith, and Stone are just a very few of our Fraser high school students who are experiencing or have experienced the growing pains: the hurts of loss, and the happiness of gains. It’s all comes with blossoming.

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