Best and worst words School's out forever

By James Penn

As I write this column, I am still riding on the wave of adrenaline that has been my final-ever day of school.

This is a day that has, up until this month, always seemed so far away; something that would eventually happen, but didn't matter yet because there was still so long to go.

How wrong one can be. The final year of school has flown by with rapidity and excitement. It certainly feels worth reflecting on this year and school life in general.

Year 13 has been a year of privilege; a year of enjoyment and pressure, maturity and immaturity, learning and banter, decisions and fun, and most of all, a year of memories.

Those memories have been made by the outstanding group of students that have stood alongside me as the class of 2012. Particularly in this final year, this is a year group that comprises the greatest array of personalities and backgrounds possible.

School is pretty unique. You are given the opportunity to have fun and be educated, five days a week, for almost forty weeks each year, with people who are similar to you, as well as different.

You are given hundreds of people to choose your friends from and you are constantly reconnected with them through classes and break times alike.

You experience each other's successes, struggles and you are treated as a group as well as respected as individuals.

The bond you form as a collective is, as a result, pretty strong. It's something rarely spoken of, but it is shared and felt by most students. Whether we talk for hours each day or just share a friendly hello in passing, the year group you associate with has a true sense of kinship.

To my close friends, thanks for your conversation, company and most of all, thanks to the lads, a real group of Trojans, for the banter.

But there is another group of people who facilitate this camaraderie through education: Our teachers. They are the people who have some of the most lasting affects on us as people and as students.

Their role is not just to be teachers of English or mathematics or economics or geography or whatever subject they teach, but also to be teachers of life, relationships, interaction, maturity.

Throughout my time at high school, I have been fortunate enough to have teachers who have done this in the most profound way possible. I thank you, and our entire year group does, too.

Despite the politics that surround education, I want to make it clear that this is an institution which we all value.

Politicians and the public will differ on how we enhance this value further, but rest assured, it certainly exists.

Essentially, I'm saying I'll miss school. If you are reading this and you still have years left to go, don't hope for the end too much, because it will come before you know it. Enjoy the journey; I know the Class of 2012 have.

James Penn is deputy head boy at Wanganui High School and captain of the NZ secondary schools debating team.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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