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Schools: Tarpon Springs, Wharton graduates reflect on high school experiences

Valedictorians, salutatorians and class presidents everywhere would like you to believe that life begins after high school, but I've always liked to think that it actually begins in high school. The experiences we have form us at this age and take us through the rest of our lives.

The lessons learned in high school aren't found in textbooks. In 20 years, I won't remember the difference between mitosis and meiosis, or how America got into the Spanish-American War.

What I will remember, however, is how to work with people you can't stand, how to juggle work and play successfully, the traits of my parents that I choose to keep and those I choose to avoid like the plague. The loss of innocence, and how to harness that into wisdom and positivity. That the neglected child can turn into a model parent. The kid battling depression can turn emotion into art. That there's nobility in every profession. Not all of us will become rich and famous, and that's okay. High school, in class and out of it, has given us the skill set to realize our full potential.

We shouldn't be afraid of failure; there is none when you enjoyed the ride. In America, the fields of opportunity are boundless.

We've all heard that the greatest journey starts with a single step. The road in front of us is shrouded with the future's uncertainty, but the only way to clear the path is to strap on our running shoes and start pounding the pavement.

Covering numerous graduations leading up to my very own this year, I realized the questions I was asking the nervous graduates, standing under the bleachers at the Expo Hall, were the same ones I needed to be asking myself.

What kind of life lessons am I taking away from high school? Enjoy every moment. No one can really grasp how fast time flies.

Where do you see yourself in the future? I see myself graduating from Auburn University with a degree in journalism and on my way to a career as a sports reporter or sports team social media specialist. Beyond that, I hope to see myself happy.

While listening to other graduates answer life perspective questions, I realized I was among a group that could include the next president of the United States or the future doctor who would cure cancer. The world might not be ready for us yet, but it better get ready. We are here and we aren't leaving anytime soon.

What they said

As Tampa Bay's high school graduates collected their diplomas last week, students in the Class of 2012 shared what they learned in high school:

"A wealth of knowledge of the fact there is so much more to learn."

Ryan Sutherland, 18, St. Petersburg High

"Learning to grow up. Learning that I will be on my own one day."

Martin King, 19, Pinellas Park High

"Lifelong friends and memories that'll last a lifetime and people you can really depend on."

Aubrey Davis, 18, Seminole High

"Stay true to yourself. Do what makes you happy, rather than other people."

Kaleigh Moran, 18, Largo High

"High school helped me become independent."

Scott Griggs, 18, Osceola Fundamental High

"Oh god, I learned to never give up and always keep trying no matter what . . . I'm proud of myself because I beat the odds. I made it."

Kenyetta Guy, 19, East Bay High

"That your friends are always by your side to help you out."

Kento Kawakmi, 18, Robinson High

"I've learned that you have to be focused."

Kavonte' Gardner, 17, King High

Written and complied by tb-two* editors Michael Newcomer, Tarpon Springs High School; Allie Davison, Wharton High School; Angela Skane, St. Petersburg High School and Nicole Zakrewski, Palm Harbor University. tb-two* is the Times' weekly newspaper for high schools.

Schools: Tarpon Springs, Wharton graduates reflect on high school experiences 06/16/12 [Last modified: Saturday, June 16, 2012 4:30am]

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