Seniors reflect on significant experiences from their four years at UAHS before they graduate on May 31

Compiled by Ella Koscher, ’15

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.11.56 AMLink Crew/Bear Guides-Theo Randolph

I remember my first day of high school as a blend of nervous excitement and surprise at how quickly my day passed. I thought some of the games and activities we did were tedious, but I really liked interacting with the junior and senior Link Crew members. Overall I enjoyed the day and thought it was beneficial in acclimating to the new building. As a Bear Guide looking back on Link Crew, it’s interesting how my perspective has changed. Parts of the day I didn’t like as a freshman, like the group activities, make more sense to me now because they can bring people out of their shells. However, I believe the core of both programs is the same: making the school feel smaller by creating upperclassmen to underclassmen connections. I love that our school has a freshmen mentoring program and I’ve loved being a part of it on both ends.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.12.44 AMStandford Lacrosse-Molly Plasket

I have played lacrosse since third grade. In January of my sophomore year I made the decision to commit to Stanford University and to continue on with my lacrosse career into the D1 collegiate level. This commitment was the result of the incredible support that I have received from my family, friends and coaches throughout the years. I can honestly say that without guidance from these people in my life, I could not possibly be where I am today. In September 2015, I will head out to California, where I will begin this next chapter in my life. This is both exciting and absolutely terrifying, and I am so blessed to have gained the strength, from my peers and mentors, to pursue this endeavor.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.13.05 AMLes Misérables-Michael Roberts

I think my favorite musical that I was a part of during my years at UAHS was Les Misérables. Something about that show was so special. From the period-specific costumes to the pitch-perfect pit, every aspect was truly exceptional. Every night I felt so excited to share that show with an audience. It is definitely a musical that depends heavily on the emotion and energy put behind it by the entire cast, and I think our production excelled in that regard. Our director Mr. [Eric] Kauffman often says, “It’s not what we do, but how we do it.” We were given a great show to work with, but the way we did it made it even more spectacular.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.20.08 AMFourth of July-Meredith Auge

One of the my most memorable high school experiences was spending time with my fellow dancers in the summers. K Studio has been a home to me and many others for five years.  Every summer, we get the opportunity to participate in the tradition of the UA Fourth of July Parade.  It is a great bonding experience to build the float and work together as a team.  Dancing down the boulevard with my friends and fellow dancers has been a joy.  It is thrilling to know that the Upper Arlington community comes out to support the paraders and it is always good advertisement.  In past years, we have won many awards such as “Best Youth Group” in 2011 and “Most Entertaining” in 2013.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.20.25 AMCommunity School-Eddie Boyd

Community School is a wonderful opportunity for someone who is willing to test the boundaries of their minds. It is a program that will take you to new heights of knowledge and awareness of the hidden world around us. For those who feel trapped by the traditional style of education I highly encourage you to seriously consider Community School as an option. The teachers and students you will meet there are some of the smartest, kindest, and inspiring people Upper Arlington has to offer. Room 119 is always open stop by anytime.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.20.36 AMSixth Grade Camp-Sam Fulwider

Sixth Grade Camp is…hard to describe. For me at least. I had two very different experiences my junior and senior year. One year I had great kids that would actually listen to me and the other year they were little demons taunting me; I swear middle schoolers can be some of the meanest people you will ever meet but it was all in good fun. One of my favorite parts of the whole experience is being around kids with so much energy.  It forces you to meet their intensity which is a blessing in an age where one of the most popular hobbies for high schoolers is napping. Also being around teachers in such an informal atmosphere is really neat, you get to see sides of them you would never see. All in all, Sixth Grade Camp is a necessary experience for any junior or senior. It is one of my cherished memories of high school and a great way to start out the year.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.20.50 AMBears to Beijing-Anna Smoot

Last summer was one I will not forget. In addition to attending a wide variety of programs, I went to China. I was fortunate enough to be a member of the Upper Arlington Symphony Orchestra when they went on tour in China. We spent two weeks there with another orchestra from Mira Costa, Calif. and played a total of six concerts. From Beijing to Shanghai, I felt us grow closer together as an ensemble. Not only did we make new, life-long friends from California, but also within our own ensemble. I will never forget the final concert in Shanghai when we played an arrangement of the famous Chinese orchestral work, Spring Festival Overture with the Mira Costa orchestra. It was the final piece we played at every concert, but at Shanghai the audience was different. As soon as we started to play, they erupted in cheers and clapped along with us. That is a moment I will never forget. I will carry the experience I had in China with me for the rest of my life.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.21.01 AMAndros-Eric Berger

I really wanted to go on the Andros trip because of my interest in biology and my love for the ocean. I had always heard wonderful things about the trip from teachers and students, so I applied to go the summer of my junior year. The memories and experiences from Andros will undoubtedly last a lifetime, and I’d recommend anyone with an interest in the marine biology, travel or the great outdoors to consider checking out the trip. We snorkeled with sharks on barrier reefs, swam in deep freshwater blue holes, hiked in Bahamian rainforests and SCUBA dove in the Atlantic Ocean, among other things. Going to Andros Island connected me to a part of the world I never imagined I would see, and the trip contained some of the most fascinating and culturally enlightening moments of my life.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.21.12 AMBear Den-Devon Holland

Being one of the Bear Den leaders with [seniors] Gracie Bergdoll and Jack Plasket has been a ton of fun this year. We have meetings every week to come up with new and fun ways to get everyone involved in the student section. Our first football game was a USA theme, so there were a ton of people there in red, white, and blue. It was awesome to see so many people there to support the team at the start of the season. Señor Hayes and Mrs. Brennan have helped us raise over $1,000 for the club this year, so next year’s leaders are going to have a lot of money to buy merchandise and fun things for the big games.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.21.25 AMSenior Spring Break-Ali Graver

Over spring break [senior] Laurel Rogers and I traveled with our moms to Jamaica. We spent most of our time on the beach but we also climbed a waterfall, got our hair braided by locals, explored a botanical garden and snorkeled in the ocean. Jerk chicken is a Jamaican specialty and we ate a lot of it. The people there were very welcoming and seemed to be singing all the time. My favorite memory from that vacation was sitting on the beach with Laurel while watching a wedding at sunset.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.21.35 AMScottish Exchange-Katie Padavick

The Scotland exchange in one cliché word was perfect. The exchange was one of the best experiences of my life and holds memories that I will cherish forever. We got to do so many cool things like go zip lining on one of Britain’s longest zip wires as well as seeing incredible landmarks that nothing in Ohio, or rather nothing in America can compare to. Being in another country with our exchange partners gave us a really unique and inside look on the country, something that I don’t think we could have gotten as mere tourists. However I think I speak for the group when I say one of the best parts of the trip would have to be the close bonds we made with the 16 savages across the pond. I had so much just being with all the Scots and getting to know them better. Plus they had wicked cool accents and the best fudge donuts in the world.

Screen Shot 2015-05-27 at 10.21.44 AMStrides for South Sudan-Gracie Bergdoll

I’ve been involved with Strides for South Sudan since freshman year when we were introduced to it in Mr. [Mark] Boesch’s global history class and [Freshman] House D. I had never even heard of Sudan, or soon to be South Sudan then. I fell in love with the Lost Boys and their stories; now I’m the president of the club! The unique part about S4SS is you get to interact with the people that have/are being affected by the problems you are fighting. Being a part of this club has profoundly impacted me and made helped me fine tune what I want to do with my life. Ultimately, S4SS teaches you how to show empathy to others and makes you ask yourself what you can do for others.