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The Time of Their Lives

They were all going on to bigger and better things, bidding adieu to Coronado High School and stepping out into the real world.

The bleachers of the Coronado High School football stadium were overflowing as parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends packed in to see the . There was a feeling of excitement and bliss in the air.  The sun was slowly descending, sending a golden glow across the turf and upon the faces of all the graduates on the far end of the field. There was a whistling of cool breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. I stood at the very top of the bleachers surrounded by all of my close sophomore friends. Then, the upbeat melody “Pomp and Circumstance” started to play and the Seniors began their procession, following one after the other to the white seats on the field. As my friends continued to chat quietly amongst themselves, I let my mind run free. I began thinking about all the wonderful memories I’d had this year with my senior friends, and how quickly the school year had gone by. It was really June 2, the day every student at Coronado High School had been so eagerly anticipating for the past few months. Essays had been completed, all work had been turned in, and finals were over. We wouldn’t have to hear the dreaded word “homework” for three whole months. An unforgettable summer in beautiful Coronado stood before us. I was sanguine, yet deep down, I was also sad. My senior acquaintances would be leaving at the end of the summer, and I knew one thing for sure. CHS would not be the same without the Class of 2011.

Seeing all my senior friends on the field below dressed in their green caps and gowns, ambling to their seats with focused eyes and bright smiles on their faces, it really hit me. They were all going on to bigger and better things, bidding adieu to Coronado High School and stepping out into the real world. They’d bring with them the countless memories of their four years at CHS, as well as all the lessons and abilities they’d learned from their friends and teachers. But this was really it.

Next year, I wouldn’t get to play with those fourteen senior girls who had helped lead our team to a CIF Division II Championship victory, as well as the Division II Southern Regional victory. The second was a feat the Coronado Women’s Varsity soccer team had never before accomplished, and I had gotten to be a part of it. Next season, some of those girls would be dominating at the collegiate level and others would never play again. I wouldn’t be seeing those four seniors every day in second period Chemistry, who had made the class so fun. No longer would I be going to lunch monthly with the hilarious and friendly twins, Annamarie and Andera, whom I called my "sistahs."  Also, as for lacrosse, next year we would be without the eight seniors who had completely dominated. Together, we had made it to the Division II CIF Championship and won 13-3. This too would be a first for the Coronado Women’s Varsity lacrosse team.  This lacrosse team was in fact what our coach had declared to be the best team she had ever coached.  Four of the girls would be going on to play lacrosse at USC, UC Berkley, SDSU, and UC Davis. I wouldn’t be getting a ride home every day from my beloved friend Kaitlyn anymore. She would be going on to play lacrosse at USC.  I had gained so many senior friends through sports and school that I would have to say goodbye to. However, I am confident that many of the bonds I have formed will not be broken with their absence, but strengthened. There are many people I will have to stay in touch with.

The class of 2011 set the bar high. There’s no doubt that sports at CHS will be starkly affected by the absence of the many gifted senior athletes. But, I realized, the juniors and upperclassmen will just have to work that much harder and strive for excellence, and we will pull through.  Coronado High School is a bastion where students are encouraged to express their ideas, be themselves, strive for excellence in sports and drama, and do their best academically. Next year, the juniors will show what they have with their bright minds and abilities. The seniors left big shoes to fill, but I’m confident the juniors can handle the challenge.

One of the most exciting parts of the graduation was after my friend . The speech concluded with Annie saying something like, “We haven’t always been the most spirited class, but I’m hoping after tonight that will change, for we were all 'born in the USA.'” At that moment, the song “Born in the USA” came on and the various graduates jumped up and started dancing in synchronization. They sat down, and then other students got up and all did the same dance moves. The students performed a flash mob, the first ever performed at a Coronado High School graduation. Some other songs played included “Hello” and “Party Rock Anthem.” The whole dance was hilarious, and the audience absolutely savored it. The application of this new idea at graduation just goes to show how innovative and creative the Class of 2011 is.

Graduations are always cathartic experiences.  The speech given by salutatorians Griffin Nosenzo and Sarah Rose Cass and valedictorian Amanda Riley was powerful and moving. When it came time for the presentation of diplomas, people in the audience got very rowdy. As various names were called, a few mothers grabbed Kleenexes. Some fathers grabbed blow horns. Several people took pictures, and everyone applauded. After the ceremony had completed, graduates and their families and friends proceeded over to the high school quad. There, I witnessed a lot of different reactions to the significant event that had just occurred. I saw two girls embraced in a hug, tears streaming down each of their faces. I saw guys slapping each other’s backs and exclaiming, “We’re done with high school, man!” Many parents took pictures of their graduated children and their friends, capturing this grand moment forever. I too took many pictures with my close friends and greeted all of them with a warm, “Congrats!” The general mood of the students was elation, and I was very happy to be a part of it all.

As this school year comes to an end, we say goodbye to the class of 2011 with heavy hearts but conviction that each of them will go far in the future. The four years of high school are supposed to be some of the best years of your life. I think that’s because students form bonds with teachers and friends that will last forever, prepare themselves for the real world and college and/or work, learn valuable lessons, and are challenged everyday. Furthermore, they learn that it takes hard work and determination to overcome academic obstacles, and when you do overcome, it’s the best feeling in the world. Recently I’ve asked a lot of my friends how it feels to be graduating. Many of them said it was both exciting and unbelievable. The general response I got was that high school goes by in the blink of an eye. With sports, extracurricular activities, and schoolwork, each school year goes by faster, especially senior year.

Main idea: Cherish every moment and make the most of your high school experience. It should be unforgettable. Have the time of your life.  I genuinely hope the Seniors of 2011 had the time of their lives.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Casey Tanaka June 08, 2011 at 08:45 PM
You shared your thoughts with great sensitivity and eloquence Mary Grace :-)
Jennifer Moore June 08, 2011 at 09:08 PM
Your writing captured many of the emotions I felt last week and at graduation as we said congratulations and goodbye to our senior class. Lovely piece, Mary Grace!
Mary Grace Braun June 08, 2011 at 09:13 PM
Thank you very much Mr. Tanaka! I really appreciate the feedback.
Mary Grace Braun June 08, 2011 at 09:15 PM
Thanks so much! I really enjoyed writing it.
shelagh more June 08, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Nicely written Mary! Reading this I felt like I was there at CHS....
Brad Couture June 08, 2011 at 09:56 PM
Great job Mary Grace! Just got back to school(6/8/11) from Starbucks. Had a meeting with a new club on campus trying to raise funds to build a clean water well(at a high school) in Uganda. Your name came up. The web site is www.quenchandconnect.org. I gave your mom a list of students(with emails) interested in being a part of this project. Dr. Ely did an excellent power point presentation in all the bio classes. We will do it again in the fall. Look forward to reading more of your pieces. Keep doing great things. Kick tail in sports!!!!
Connie June 08, 2011 at 11:07 PM
Excellent job Mary Grace!!!! I dread the day that you also will be graduating!! :-(
Bill Lemei June 13, 2011 at 03:20 AM
It was fun to read your article tonight. Your words took me back to the emotions of grad night. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Kristine Crail June 14, 2011 at 07:55 PM
We're so proud to have you as part of the Coronado Patch team. Great job!
Carrie Keyes June 26, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Keep writing, Mary Grace! Terrific!

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