Abby’s Declassified School Survival Guide

A story of my crazy high school experience

My family and I on my volleyball senior night.

To say that high school was crazy would be a complete understatement. I can’t believe that I am already a senior, and it’s my turn to write my final article for El Modena Frontline. High school was not was I expected, but I could not have wanted it any other way. I never would have thought my freshman year that I would be crying about it all coming to an end.

Freshman year, brand new on campus. I remember being not scared, but nervous. I did not know what to expect. Going from my little bubble of 103 kids in my class at McPherson to 492 kids at El Mo, was so exciting to me. New faces, new people. Everyone was the new kid, but especially all of the McPherson students. Most of us only knew each other. To put into perspective, no one except for McPherson people knew my real name, they all called me Zabba because of my Instagram username. I had known a few people from basketball and volleyball summer camps, but not well enough to go hang out with them. My freshman year included me getting involved in every way possible, I was a part of basketball, volleyball, track, and the Rowdy Rooters. I can still remember my first day of volleyball summer camp, when my coach told me I was the basketball team captain, the excitement of my very first school dance. I can remember sprinting to the Victory Bell to get from row when football won a game, and making the long haul up to Oxnard to watch the team play in CIF. From my first football game, I knew that the Rowdy Rooters was one of the big clubs that made El Mo so special, and I always wanted to lead the section and play a big part in my later years. I remember deciding to apply to Frontline because of my love for writing, I also remember “uh… burgers?” in honors biology, and I bet many other people do too. Spirit Week was so exciting to me, no other school around us went as all out as we do, and it easily became one of the best weeks of school. The downside was, we only ever get to experience four. Going into high school, I knew that getting involved would make things a lot more fun, but I did not realize how getting involved could completely turn high school into something more than school.

Sophomore year, one year closer to being an upperclassmen. I’ve now finally escaped the stigma of being a freshman on campus. Sophomore year is where I met my core group of friends I have right now. I had some of my favorite classes I have ever taken with some of my favorite teachers on campus. I got involved in more clubs, now being apart of Red Cross and Photography club. I started coming to the realization that journalism may be the career path I want to venture into. I was always writing for the Style page, I would rock-paper-scissor my way to get every article possible. My love for the Rowdy Rooters grew, as if it couldn’t already. We won OC’s Best Student Section, and I never wanted to miss a game. Not to mention, football won CIF. I could not have been prouder to be a Vanguard. The memory of screaming the Alma Mater with our v’s up and everyone hugging and high-fiving each other will always be so exciting and special to me. Spirit Week was amazing, as always. I’ll never forget the time when I was playing our sophomore game and I got bell peppers all over my shirt and orange paint in my eyes, it was as if I had orange sunglasses on. Spirit Week was so special because it brought so many people together, except for us and the seniors that year, (“sophomores, sit down.”) Sophomore year was when I started finding myself, I started zoning in and focusing on what I wanted to do later in life, I also got better music taste. I also made some of my best friend’s sophomore year, and met people who were soon to be my best friends.

Junior year, so much happened. To start, I made varsity volleyball. That team was probably one of my favorite teams I have ever had. The team, Coach Sid, and playing at the high level made me truly realize how much I love volleyball. I also made varsity basketball, and while our season was not so good, again the team was amazing. I became Fringe editor for Frontline, and I had so much fun editing that page. I began to take journalism more seriously, and broaden my writing topics and skills. I also was put on Red Cross board. To make things short, junior year was the best. I liked most of my classes and started to think about college. I became closer to my friends and started to have a set friend group. Boys volleyball not only won CIF, but also won State. Boys volleyball was probably one of my favorite parts of junior year because it set a whole new reputation for boys’ volleyball. The games were always so fun to cheer at and there was such incredible energy from the Rowdy Rooters, the parents, and even the players on the court. The boys won State the same day as prom. Everyone came with their hair and makeup done because the game was so close to everyone’s picture times. I ended up being late to pictures, which was ironic because my date, Daniel Jo, was playing in the game and was on time to pictures. Sorry Daniel! I’m glad it all worked out, the team won their state title and I got my prom pictures, it was a win-win. Junior year was also hard because reality hit. I had to say goodbye to some of my favorite seniors, and it all became real, that was going to be me next year.

Now here I am, senior year. The year of many lasts. I was made president of the Rowdy Rooter club, which meant that I could help lead the student section. I got to experience OCL which is one of my best high school experiences. Leading the student section was a feeling like no other. Freshman Abby would be so ecstatic to know that she would later achieve her goal of leading the student section. Not having Fred Kelly was definitely a downside, but the Rowdy Rooters still showed up at every game. Girls volleyball made it to CIF, which was insane and such a great accomplishment for the program. We lost that CIF game and that is when everything officially hit me, I was a senior, I will be having to say goodbye to high school and all that it has offered to me. We were now the big dogs on campus. I was made vice president of the Red Cross club, and publicity for both Photography and Adventure Club. Homecoming was an absolute blast, same with Winter Formal. We got our last Spirit Week and we could not have been luckier with the timing of it.

Right now, I am writing this in my room on a Tuesday, when I should be in school. There is no doubt that the class of 2020 unfortunately was robbed of all of our important events that every other senior class gets to experience. No spring sports, ones which many people have spent so much time and dedication on to finally ball out their senior year. No senior prom, the night most little girls always look up to. No traditional last day of school, I spent my last day of school in sweats and a sweatshirt, now looking back I wish I would’ve dressed cuter. No senior week, no Six Flags, no senior brunch, no graduation on June 11th. I never expected my senior year to be ended by a once in a lifetime pandemic that took the world by storm, but it did, and that’s just the way it is. Though, we are all in this together. Trust me, I know the feeling we all get when people call us “the most resilient class,” we don’t have a choice.

All we can do is look towards the future. Focus on the fact that we have all made it through our 100% of our hardest days and toughest times. We need to remember that the best is yet to come, and these are stories and experiences that no one else will have.

To all of the underclassmen, cherish it. I firmly believe that high school is what you make it to be. For me, it was so much more than school. Involve yourself in everything possible, don’t be afraid to try new things and branch out. Go to that football game, sign up for that club, do as much as you can. High school is the time to venture out and discover who you want to be and what you want to do with your life. Don’t take it for granted, you never know what will happen.

Last but not least, thank you to everyone who has made my high school experience great. If it weren’t for you, I would not be the person I am today. Thank you to all of my amazing friends, you all should know who you are. Thank you to all of my wonderful teachers, you all have made such a positive impact on me. Special thank-you’s to Mr. Finn, Mr. Benner, Mr. Moeller, Señor Schuld, Mrs. Merlihan, and Ms. Kung. Your kindness, passion, and guidance has really shown that you all care about all of your students so much, and I think that that is so important. Thank you to my teammates and all of my coaches, especially Coach Daniels, Coach Mike, and Coach Sid. You were all so supportive of me and not only dedicated to the sport, but you truly cared about the players. Finally, thank you to my family. You have done so much for me and you have always been my biggest supporters.

As I close out my final article, I want to remind you all of something. Take this year as a lesson. Cherish every single moment you have in life. Take risks, be yourself, try not to care what others think. Use your voice and your platform for good. Focus on doing what makes you happy, and do more of it. Remember, the best is yet to come.

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