2020: A Senior Reflection

By Anthony Lee

In my first reflection, the thumbnail was a different picture of Rodin’s The Thinker. What is my obsession with this sculpture, you ask? I just like it. Photo from https://www.uva.nl/binaries/_ht_1539033591382/medium/content/gallery/onderwijs/iis/honours/thinker_flickr.jpg.

In the late spring of 2017, I wrote an article called “A Reflection on a Freshman School Year.” In it, I recorded my assimilation into the academic and social life at the Charter School of Wilmington. Ever since I published it, I have wanted to write a follow-up article in the style of the first, a response to my freshman self. Three years later, I present to you, the audience, “2020: A Senior Reflection.”

Three years ago, I wrote that “this school year [2016-2017] has been exhausting but exhilarating.” Three years later, I would like to revise that statement: “this school year [2016-2017] my entire high school experience has been exhausting but exhilarating.” I’m just kidding. Safely isolating at home, I have had more than enough time to reflect on my tenure at the Charter School of Wilmington and to realize that these last four years have been most exhilarating and rewarding.

Some things have not changed since I first entered 100 North DuPont Road. For one, Charter teachers still possess a curious penchant for scheduling large assignments at inopportune times. Their passion for homework has not diminished, either. The seniors still saunter the halls, flaunting their class T-shirts and senior privilege; the juniors still bustle about, preoccupied with the looming college admissions process; the sophomores still bask in the relative monotony of second year, TikToking and doing what sophomores do these days; and the freshmen (oh, the freshman!) still place fourth in the fall pep rally. (My apologies, freshmen; the joke was too good not to write. Here’s an apologetic re-write: the freshmen still impress the upperclassmen with their boundless energy and enthusiasm.)

Unfortunately, this picture was an accurate representation of high school. Photo courtesy of https://wheelsms.files.wordpress.com/2014/10/your-plan-vs-gods-plan-2.jpg

However, other things have changed. We have welcomed three more classes to the Charter School of Wilmington; new members have joined our faculty and administration; and (dare I say it) the food has improved with the revamped cafeteria.

However, what I believe has most changed since 2016 is my perspective.

In my first editorial, I lamented the increased workload and higher expectations that high school brought. My solution to the unfamiliar surroundings was simple but primal: “You need to grow up and face what the world is throwing at you; if you don’t, you will die.” However, I have realized that this approach is not sustainable. While survival mode is effective in the short run, it eventually proves draining and paranoiac. High school is not a dystopian world out of Lord of the Flies; in fact, it is more akin to the grandfather of all utopian secondary schools, East High from High School Musical.

While the Charter School of Wilmington is not as Disneyesque as East High (if you would like a whole troop of singing, dancing high school students, please visit Cab Calloway School for the Arts one floor below), the two do share some qualities. For one, they are both high schools. (Very original, I know.) I would also like to argue that like East High, the Charter School of Wilmington is a welcoming, nurturing environment. In my first article, I wrote with typical teenage angst that I did not have many friends in freshman year; flashforward four years later, and I am happy to say that I have made quite a few, including my besties, since I wrote that last reflection. More importantly, I graduate with a better sense of my identity and my purpose in life. Therefore, to the Charter School of Wilmington, its administration, its faculty, and its staff, thank you. Thank you for the unforgettable experiences.

My beloved Student Government. I am wearing the blue Charter shirt. Photo courtesy of the Charter School of Wilmington.

Finally, I would like to address my class, the Class of 2020, one last time before I take my leave. In 2017, I called our grade “one giant ‘family.’” To this day, I subscribe to that description. The camaraderie that united us in our freshman year has only strengthened with the seasons. Perhaps it is because we have experienced so much together: our first pep rally, a rainy Renaissance Faire, new junior research guidelines, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, to name a few. Through trials and tribulations, victories and celebrations, you have always astonished me with your resilient spirit and pure heart. I think no scene epitomizes our class better than the finale of the fall pep rally. I will always remember the sheer ecstasy of that moment and whenever I remember that day, I will always remember you. I would like to make one final revision to my initial article: “my freshman year saying goodbye to my class...was the toughest experience of my life.” Thank you, Class of 2020, for letting me join the ride.

Photo courtesy of the Charter School of Wilmington.

Peace and love,

Anthony Lee, Class of 2020