I used to have a dislike for school, and dreaded making my way to class every morning. Luckily my views changed in high school after I participated in activities. Staying after school helped me progress as a student and as a person more than anything else could have.
Magic is real, despite what I believed before hand. I’m not referring to magic in its fantasy form, but a series of experiences and people that changed the course of my life. There is something special about working towards a common and shared goal, improving myself with much help along the way.
I find the way in which I got involved in the first place, to be some greater force, and the momentum of my own will power at work. In an act of spontaneity, I decided to join McDowell’s Speech and Debate Team. I can’t even exactly place why that was the club that I originally decided to join. Looking back, I have no regrets about being a member for four years. Little did I know that that the first meeting I attended marked a significant turning point in my life. As soon as I walked into Mr. Caugherty’s classroom, I felt accepted for who I was, and that is what has kept me dedicated as a loyal member of the team over all of these years.
It’s my honest belief that I had such an enjoyable time getting involved, because of the support of my teammates, coaches, and teachers who helped me along the way, even when I felt like giving up. I have learned important life lessons through their leadership, like always being an individual, and putting all your effort into fighting for what you believe.
My time getting involved wasn’t all perfect. There were times that I got sick of putting the extra effort in. There most definitely were situations where I wanted to just throw in the towel, and to leave the team. In the end, I ignored these feelings and pressed on, because I cared about everything I was doing.
A big part of what has made the experience such a special one, was that I was pushed out of my comfort zone in many situations. In my junior year I made the decision to run for Secretary of The Speech And Debate Team, where I had to give a two minute speech. To this day I believe it’s the best speech I have ever given. I was overwhelmed when I realized what a large part of my life this initially small thing in my life had become.
In my senior year I also made the decision to run for Secretary of Student Council, which helped me to grow as a person, and has really developed a whole new level of responsibility and desire to succeed within me.
Facing my final time at States I had faith in the members of my team, and their ability to succeed, despite the relatively flimsy preparation we did before the tournament had begun.
We placed sixth in the tournament overall, something I could accept. Our team also placed fourth in the tournament overall, yet it was more than our success that gave me a warm feeling inside. I realized that this was one of the last times I would be able to stand alongside my team members, people who I’ve grown to care about significantly over these past four years. For many of them this would be their final tournament, some were in happy reflection, and some were crying and trying to come to terms with the finality of the situation.
Another thing that’s important to remember, is to keep in mind that not every activity is for everyone. I was in Robotics my Freshmen year, yet quit after that year, as I felt the team wasn’t for me. Not everyone has the same skill set. People have very different skill sets, so if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you’re probably involved with the wrong things.
Saying goodbye is a hard thing to do, yet it’s easier when realizing the eternal nature of the situation. Although we will all go our separate ways, I truely believe that each member of the team will go on to accomplish amazing things. And in some small way, we will all be spiritually connected, thinking back on the experiences that we had together.