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The Viewfinder: Final Edition

Autumn Hoff, Editor-in-Chief

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I remember the extreme diversity of my class on the first day of high school. Most girls dressed up with a full face of makeup, fully prepared to cherish the next four years of their lives. I remember not matching the majority of the other girls in my class as I wore no makeup, a simple t-shirt, shorts, and my new pair of black chucks that I would walk many miles of my high school career in. For some, it was about to be what they would consider to be some of the best years of their lives. For others, like myself, it was set to be another place to feel out of place.

Throughout my entire education, I have never been exactly “popular”. I have always been… well, myself. I was raised on David Bowie, Scooby-Doo, and Cheerios. I own nothing but Chuck Taylor Converse shoes, seven pairs to be exact. My wardrobe is 80% black graphic t-shirts and as I was once told, my overall style is “90’s grunge, yet stylish”. I used to stay up all night reading books, often going through several a week, but now I spend most of my free time digging holes, taking pictures, making art, and playing video games with the boys. I used to think I was pretty lame, but it turns out I’m a punk rock BA.

High school may not have been the place for me to thrive, but I certainly did learn a lot from my experiences. I switched schools my eighth grade year, so freshman year I was still recovering from years of being pushed aside and took on whatever friends I could find; however, I kept in mind something that my father reminded me of: Harry Potter could have been friends with the “coolest” people in school, but he chose genuine, good people instead. That advice has stuck with me ever since then.

There are few classes that stand out in my mind, only a funny story here and there, but really the only classes I truly loved were art and writing.

I’ve always been pinned as an artist, which isn’t a bad thing, but constantly being asked if you can draw this or that gets a bit annoying after being asked so many times. Art comes naturally for me and being creative is what I’m good at, so obviously taking a class where I got grades for doing something that I loved to do was a no-brainer.

I remember deciding to take creative writing with Ms. Smith my freshman year after thriving in the creative writing unit that we covered towards the end of my eighth grade year. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Through her class, I was able to somewhat recover from my past scars, as well as grow and accept who I am as a person. Ms. Smith remains one of my favorite teachers and holds a very special place in my heart as someone who has truly helped me to become who I am today. If you are looking to grow as a person or just want to take an amazing class, I 100% recommend that you take her class. I actually returned to take advanced creative writing this year and I have loved every minute of it.

After taking creative writing my freshman year, it was suggested by several of my teachers to take journalism. I knew vaguely what it was as my cousin, Brian Gould, was a writer; but mostly I just figured it was another writing class: so why not give it a go.

I remember not thinking I was that great at it when I first started, but I kept going because I had been told by every English teacher that I had ever had that my writing was very good, and I felt obligated to keep up that reputation. I ended up getting the Quill and Scroll award all three years and making Co-Junior Website Editor, as well as Co-Editor-in-Chief; so I guess I didn’t turn out to be that bad at it.

I started drawing cartoons during my first year on and ended up being the only one in my grade level to make it to state all three years of my career as a journalist. The first two years, I placed just below the medal cut off and this year I finally reached the cut off with sixth place. To me, it wasn’t a huge achievement, but it was still pretty cool to be recognized.

I worked hard throughout high school to keep my grades up and I managed to get a 90 or above in all of my classes, allowing me to earn the title of Summa Cum Laude and a place in National Honors Society. I spent years helping people through Key Club and Art Club. I may not have done everything that everyone wanted me to do, or that I could have done, but I made it through it, which is something that 7th grade me would be incredibly proud of.

To me, high school wasn’t the place where I went to every football game with my best friends, played on the court with my teammates, or even went out to lunch everyday with the same three people. It was a place that I struggled to make friends and a place that I never really felt that I belonged. I didn’t go to my senior prom because I didn’t feel the need to go. I thought that my memory of my junior prom, with my senior friends at the time, sufficed for my prom experience. I can truly say that I will not miss high school and that it was not anywhere close to the best years of my life, but it was definitely a learning experience.

Signing off for one last time,

Autumn Elizabeth Hoff

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