February 2002
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Closer Than We Think
By: Jillian Dollimont, Level 3,
Roncalli High School, Port Saunders, NF
& Jacqueline Friesen, Grade 12,
Garden Valley Collegiate, Winkler, MB

We have the same dreams, hopes and desires. We share the same issues and concerns. We don't even know each other, but we all have something in common...we're graduates. We've never laid eyes on each other, talked to each other or even thought of each other, but we're closer than we think.

We've been studying hard all our life, just trying to stay afloat in school. We've worked from right after school till right before school, trying to complete our homework in time. And the best part is we've been successful. Since we started school we've put absolutely everything into it, our time, our money, and in essence – our lives; devoting over half our waking hours to school alone. We've all struggled with balancing school, work, family, and a social life. Sometimes we've felt left behind, like we've missed out on everything that makes being a kid, truly being a kid. After all, according to our parents, these were supposed to have been the "best years of our lives." So where did it all go?

Remember walking into school for the first time, overwhelmed by the size and number of kids? Remember how our families finally had to let go – to let us grow up. We were forced to go out of our comfort zone and figure out who we are. As this school year comes to a close we'll be faced with the same challenge. We've spent all our lives at home, under the shelter of our families. But now, it's our turn to let go – to grow up. "Even though I can't wait to graduate, I still worry about being out on my own," says Mark Gould, a Level III student at Roncalli High. Over the years we've learned to depend on people and trust them to help us. Now it's time to start depending on ourselves and trusting our own judgment. After all, our parents won't be there forever, will they?

We've all spent our whole lives figuring out who we are. From the very beginning we've all had dreams and goals that we wanted to achieve...small things like learning to ride a bike or something major like trying to pass a course in school. We've all longed to be somebody, to do something important. And though we may not know it, we already have. We've influenced the lives of those around us in a big way. Now it's our turn.

At the end of this year we'll be faced with one of the most nagging questions, a question we may not have an answer to; "So what are you doing after high school?" How many of us know? How many of us care? Most of us care so much we've been worrying about it for years. Since the start of high school we've been setting ourselves up for our futures. We still might not know what to do next year, but we do know what we can do – what we're good at.

This year brings many worries for grads all over the world. We've got questions we want answered, but the worst part is we alone are the only ones with the answers. We look to our families, friends and counsellors for some sort of direction, but all stand hopeless; the decision is up to us. This scares us, we're free to do whatever we want, and we panic! "OK… I'll go to University, no College, never mind – no school at all!" It's completely up to us! Another big decision graduates face is graduation/prom. What to wear? Where to go? Who to go with? It's all a bunch of questions with no answers! We spend hours thinking, planning, trying on outfits.

By the end of this year countless numbers of young, determined adults will leave their schools with class of 2002 across their sweatshirts. Young adults with the same mission – to find our future. Young adults separated by mountains, forests, and oceans. And although we don't even know each other we're connected; we're the same; we're graduates.