It’s almost unbelievable—the idea that a mere month lies between each of us and an endpoint. To many of our readers, this finality resembles the end of a chapter in the high school chronicle; for seniors, it brings the once blurry notion of college into much sharper focus. While this short time is marked by an abundance of activities both thrilling and demanding, it presents an opportunity to contemplate the past few months—or years, in my case—and each experience, change, growth and decision made within that time.

As I write this, the idea of graduation is one pulled straight from fiction, with last-minute college decisions yet to be made, scholarship applications yet to be sent and my Capstone presentation yet to be completed. However, I second all my fellow seniors when I assert that getting to this point alone is a major accomplishment. Each step we take through the halls of UAHS brings us that much closer to our ultimate destination. We embark upon a four-year-long venture the day we enter high school, and once we reach the journey’s end—graduation—we can attribute our successful expedition to the opportunities, choices and even the bumps we faced along the way.

Such aspects of high school and beyond come to us in varying forms of classes, extracurriculars and other activities that stimulate both our growth as adults and our individuality. The possibilities available to students throughout their years at UAHS and beyond high school are seemingly endless­­­; many of them are highlighted in the two Spotlight stories of this issue: The Road Less Traveled and Exploring IB. The courses I chose to take these past four years directly reflect my affinities, my potential career options as well as my level of understanding in certain subject areas.

English and writing-specific classes such as journalism have forever been my strong points while math and science-related courses are my weak points. For that reason, I opted to not participate in the Diploma Program, as many of its courses stem from the latter. Despite this, I have thoroughly enjoyed my IB Psychology class the past two years, in addition to the other weighted courses I have taken throughout my high school career. For those readers who are concrete thinkers, and unlike me are much more scientifically and mathematically-oriented, I encourage thorough consideration of the IB Diploma Program, or simply a few of its many courses.

High school is not a time in which you should limit yourself; it is a dynamic period to investigate, discover and thrive. I know it is often said, but our school in particular offers countless higher level courses of which one should take advantage, despite their advertised difficulty. And, of course, involving yourself in at least one of the innumerable extracurricular and athletic opportunities available here is not only expedient for college applications, but it also helps students to find that place where they best learn and grow.

Yet, secondary school is just the beginning. High school commencement is exactly that: the onset, a door open wide. For me, attending college was never a question; however several UAHS students will and have taken less voyaged routes into their futures, such as Laura Hoffman in one of this issue’s Spotlight who took a “gap” year after graduation to explore the world. No matter which direction you choose to take, your destination lies beyond you somewhere. Armed with a map, a campus, and perhaps most importantly—an education—you’re guaranteed to stumble upon it along the way.

Happy reading!

Victoria Slater