Editor-in-Chief Meleah York

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Looking back on high school, I can easily say that it was probably the worst four years of my life. I came into this jungle of hormonal teens and rigorous schedules as a terrified freshman, unsure of anything, filled with anxiety, hoping that maybe I’d be able to make a friend or two.

High school, for me, was a lot of dealing with mental health and searching for my own identity. When I reminisce about my time in high school I don’t have tons of genuinely happy moments to pull from.

Of course, there are achievements. Advancing to UIL Journalism regionals, being your Editor-in-Chief this year, and being so successful in marching band were definitely highlights. Especially being a part of the Keller Band has given me such wonderful connections and relationships.

Speaking openly, Keller isn’t very kind to queer folks. There is bullying and harassment occurring daily. We aren’t encouraged to express ourselves. A binary town isn’t ready for challenges to it just yet. For me, it’s been difficult to navigate my own sense of self within these borders, always questioning the validity of feeling and being a certain way.

I’m not going to pretend to miss high school, the classes, the insane extra-curricular schedules, but it’s safe to say that the one thing I will miss are the relationships that I have built here. Through emotional turmoil and stress, the connections I made carried me through the darkest times.

Additionally to great friends, I’ve been lucky enough to have some incredible teachers to help along the way. Their encouragement has inspired me to follow big dreams and express my individuality. They’ve given me opportunities to express myself and safe spaces to feel comfortable in even after I’ve left their class.

My biggest takeaway from high school is that its difficulty is met with people who are willing to be there for you and fight for you. It can feel lonely a lot of the time, but finding those friendships and building connections with teachers who see your potential definitely impacted my life in such positive ways.

I am so excited to begin college at the University of Oregon and start living a life where I can be my most authentic. Thank you to all the Wigwam readers out there for being my motivation to write and to the newspaper itself for being my inspiration to major in journalism.