Finishing Feelings

A second-semester senior's reflection on the NASH experience


photo by D. Crickets

After four years of the highly competitive atmosphere at NA, graduation sounds better than ever.

Madi Robertson, Reporter

As a second semester senior, I’m just about ready to walk out of the school at any given moment, remove my parking pass from my car’s rear view mirror, and never enter the doors of North Allegheny Senior High School ever again.

At least, not for a while. I’m sure I’ll be back for the spring musical some year, but other than that, it’s safe to say I’ll be well on my way after graduation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m eternally grateful for all of the opportunities NA has given me. The education here is unbeatable. I’ve had multiple NA-graduate friends tell me that some of their college courses are easier than some of the NA courses here. Off the top of my head, I can recall my one friend telling me her college Chemistry class was easier than her Academic NA Chemistry class. So, if there’s one thing I can say, NA has definitely prepared us for college, and I’m going to miss the familiar surrounding.

When it gets to the point where the district has to send out a “stress survey,” you’d think some might get the hint that something is going on.”

I’m going to miss my teachers, too. Thankfully, I’ve had some of the best teachers at the school, and I definitely will be missing them. I know I got lucky with my teachers, and I’m thankful for their help and guidance through my two quick years here at NASH.

While I’ll be the first to admit that there are certain people I’m never going to talk to ever again after graduation, I will miss the friends I’ve been going to school with for twelve years of my eighteen-year life. The people I’ve met at NA are like my family, and I know its going to be hard to part ways for the next chapter of our lives.

I can sit here and rave about how amazing NA is, about how Harvard makes sure to select one student from NA every year, about how NA is nationally ranked and is dubbed as the “Evil Empire” in sports (my neighbor is a Hampton softball coach — trust me, I had no clue that nickname existed either until she threw it at me out of nowhere), but I’d just be telling the half-truth if I only talked about the good things.

Truthfully, just as much as I have loved the atmosphere, I have also hated it. The pressure put onto students for their grades is something I’ve never seen before in a public school. Yes, there is always the “don’t take these classes if you can’t handle them” reminder, but when the culture of the school is to look down on those in academic courses, it becomes incredibly apparent that there is an underlying push to take these advanced courses.

I have loved a majority of my teachers here, but I have experienced some of my Honors/AP teachers talking down about their academic classes.

I am a student who strives to put myself in Honors courses simply because I like the challenge, but it has always frustrated me when I have a kid in my class that is only taking it for the credit. I understand why people take these high level classes, but it was always frustrating to see people with straight A’s and in all APs completely mooch their way through the class. Every homework assignment was copied, every essay or lab report was hastily written up with some online answer key in hand, and effort was nowhere to be found.

And no, I’m not talking about one of those days where you may have forgotten to do an assignment and are rushing to complete something in time — we all have been through that — I’m talking about the kids who made this an everyday occurrence. Part of me wants to blame them for such behavior, but I also know it has to do with the environment at this school.

I completely understand the correlation between stunning student academic achievement and national rankings, but when it gets to the point where the district has to send out a “stress survey,” you’d think some might get the hint that something is going on. I digress — the competitiveness is something I most certainly will not miss about NA.

But, looking on the bright side, I’m glad that I could experience such a high-stress environment before college, even if I think its a little ridiculous that we’ve had to go through it since such a young age.