photo by Evan Riley

Parting Words

Final thoughts from the 2021-22 seniors on The Uproar

June 3, 2022

Sally Cho

Ever since I was little, I couldn’t wait to graduate and go to college. I always thought graduating would feel like nothing but freedom and happiness.

However, now that I’ve actually entered that stage of life, I am a mixed bag of emotions. I do feel some sense of freedom and happiness, but I also feel fear, anxiety, and sadness. I fear having to completely start over in a few months, in a city where I do not know anyone. I am constantly anxious about whether I am going to make friends or be able to succeed. I am sad that I have to leave my friends who know me and understand me better than anyone else.

I am walking out of graduation not knowing what my life will look like in just a few months, and that is terrifying.

I am not afraid to admit that I am afraid. The next stage of my life I am entering is an exciting one, filled with highs and lows I cannot predict. I just know I have to go along for the ride and experience as much as I can, as I only have one life to live.

Nolan Collery

Here are Nolan’s Top 5 Epic Tips to survive NASH:

1) Clean up the mess you made. You spilled your coffee. You bumped into someone someone and they lost their Chicken Mashed Potato Bowl. You clipped a desk and someone’s ink and quill fall to the ground. I don’t care. Be a decent person, and help clean up that mess.

2) Prioritize the group project. We can’t get it all done. There are nights where it’s impossible, and I get it it. But sometimes, other people’s grades are on the line, and being in a group means you are in it together, for better or for worse.

3) Say hi back. Uh Oh! The kid who sat three seats behind you in French in 10th grade just said hi, and you are totally blanking on his name. Guess what? Just a simple ‘hi’ back is still polite, and will still make his day.

4) Scooch over. There is always room at your table for one more. and now that you’ve made room for one more, the girl who has been sitting all alone sees there is room, and happily accepts your invitation to join you at lunch.

5) Say ‘How can I help? way more. We’re all human. We all make mistakes. We can’t be great at everything. Honestly, we can’t even be good at most things. But if we all do the things we like, we can help others who aren’t as good at it, and vice versa. Isn’t there a term for that? Oh yeah…community.

It all boils down to one big point really: Be good.

Be good to others. Be good to yourself.

And don’t try to be too great.

And hey, you might just make it out of NASH alive. After all, I did. That means anyone can.

Jess Daninhirsch

My grandmother Gloria used to say, “This too shall pass.” I used to only say this when I was stuck in difficult times in my life where the only thing I could do was wait it out. But it’s come to my attention that the full phrase is “This too shall pass, for better or for worse.” Even the good things must come to an end.

We all have places where we don’t want to go, somewhere we don’t want to be early in the morning, day after day. It can be draining, and all we want is a change of pace. But nothing lasts forever, for better or for worse. Seven months ago I was stressed out of my mind trying to decide where to apply, let alone the stress of actually sending in applications. But now, crazy enough, I am a graduating senior who knows where I’m going to college and what I’m going to study. It all seemed to happen so fast. But looking back, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience so many wonderful school events, laughs with my friends, and moments that I will remember forever.

Mike Posner (yes, the singer) once told me, “This moment is real, and it is beautiful.” That became my mantra this year.

If you ever feel stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious, or even if you feel exuberant, joyful, and excited, I encourage you to stop. Take a deep breath. Look around at where you are in this exact moment and say to yourself, “This moment is real, and it is beautiful.” It helps to ground you to where you are.

Life is full of beautiful moments. But unfortunately, those moments are fleeting, so it’s important to recognize when moments are real when you are actually still in them. You’ll be able to remember them much better, and you’ll begin to recognize more moments– big or small–as beautiful and life affirming. So, my advice to all you loyal readers out there is to live in the moment. Oh, and thank you for reading The Uproar.

Anthony Durzo

I’ve been a student at North Allegheny since August of 2009. After having an estimated 100 teachers and meeting an estimated 1,000 students, I had the opportunity to make countless wonderful memories from Peebles Elementary, Carson Middle, North Allegheny Intermediate, and North Allegheny Senior High. My time at North Allegheny had its expected setbacks. But through the ups and downs, never once did I feel lonesome, unsafe, or unimportant. While it was difficult waking up at 5:45 every school morning, what eased my tired mind was attending a place that I called home, a building I was familiar with, a family whom I loved.

My advice to those who are making their way through high school at North Allegheny is to put yourself out there and find new acquaintances. While the large amount of students in one class can sometimes be a bit of a distraction, you have the opportunity to surround yourself with so many different types of people. Make the memories that you will find to be so treasured as you grow into adulthood.

There is a long list of students and staff members who have made my experience North Allegheny so memorable and those people know who they are. I will forever miss my school district and I look forward to the days that I can return and look back on those treasured memories that I have made with so many people in the span of 13 years.

Thank you, North Allegheny. See yinz later n’at!

Maddie Harris

I took my very first journalism class ever in 11th grade. After being told all of my life that I was a good writer, I figured “why not.” The first day I sat in Mr. Morris’s Honors Journalism class, I wanted to quit. Right then and there, I was planning a trip to the counselor to drop the class. I think I actually texted my mom and said something along the lines of “there’s no way I am doing this.” When he said he wanted five articles a quarter from us I was, to put it lightly, flabbergasted. Yet here I am, after being one of the editors of The Uproar and heading to college for journalism, I am so glad I did not quit. Often, I believe people shy away from tasks before actually giving them a shot, myself included. My biggest takeaway from NASH was the fact that you need to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. If I would have quit, I never would have realized my full potential and develop such a love for writing as I have now.

I am not saying that you all need to take journalism, although I do recommend it. What I am saying is to take the risk and challenge yourself. Do not shy away from something before even trying it. Life is full of new experiences; don’t let them pass you by. You will realize you are so much more capable than you could have imagined.

Michelle Hwang

Four years have come and gone, and now I stand a half-step away from graduation. As much as I complained about the piles of homework, my sleep deprivation, and the inconsistent temperature levels throughout the school, high school treated me well. The four years I spent at NAI and NASH will forever stay a very special time period in my life. Through those four years, I tried a lot of things, dropped some clubs, met a lot of people, faded away from others, but a constant for me was the school newspaper. From the NA Eye in freshman year to The Uproar now, I have worked for and loved the student voice. I took an Intro to Journalism class in freshman year half on a whim and half on interest, and now I’m heading to Northwestern fully enamored by the Fourth Estate and intending to pursue journalism in college. When I think about the defining element of my high school experience, it would be that small, partially lit room, lined with iMacs and filled with some of my favorite people. So I guess my parting words are “thank you.” Thank you, NA student journalism, for everything you gave me.

Emily Janosko

My time at North Allegheny has been filled with a million ups and downs, but, as with all things in life, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the experiences and opportunities NA has given to me.

I have grown so much as an individual. Throughout high school, I started to find the magic in everyday life, and I began to find love in every little thing. Even the simplest things became prevalent to me: someone holding the door for me, an exchanged look while taking a test, or a simple smile from across the room.

Moving forward through life, I hope to maintain the viewpoint high school taught me to believe in. I enjoy living life to the fullest, and trying to spread each little piece of love to everyone. Thank you to all my teachers and peers for guiding me through every bump in the road.

Sophie Lu

In some ways, the end of high school doesn’t quite feel real yet. For so long, it was this entity that I talked about, anticipated, and imagined in a thousand scenarios, but was never really prepared for—until it came anyway. Life doesn’t wait for you to accept that change is happening, it just happens. The only thing I can do is get accustomed to this new reality and reflect back on what I’ll miss about this one-of-a-kind formative period.

While senior year has been one of the best, if there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s that that feeling of keeping your head above the water until a certain point in the future, of just trudging through until the end of junior year, until second semester senior year, until summer, until college…it never really goes away. Don’t treat the present as merely a stepping stone to some idealistic future, because you’ll never get there, and you might miss out on good things along the way.

To journalism, thank you for helping me rediscover my love of writing, for giving me a platform for my opinions and an outlet for my emotions, for granting weight to my words and an audience to read them. If you can, use this time to find what you’re passionate about and the opportunities to develop them. Thank you to The Uproar for being that for me.

Virginia Lucas

As I write this, I am graduating in about 19 hours. I remember elementary school field trips when the entire grade was given matching “Class of 2022” shirts. I still have trouble believing that 2022, that magical year that once seemed so far off, has finally arrived. For the past few weeks, everything has had an air of finality to it. While this has certainly made me feel the emotional weight of all the changes going on in my life, it has also made the time I do have all the more meaningful.

I am in no place to give future seniors advice on organization or anti-procrastination strategies, and in fact would love some tips on those topics myself. So instead, I would like to highlight the importance, as cheesy as it might sound, of enjoying every moment. The big capital “M” Moments, such as Prom and Senior Banquet, but also the smaller lowercase “m” moments. Enjoy looking over at your friend in the desk next to you every time something funny happens in class. Enjoy the late night study sessions and early morning Starbucks runs. Your teachers will tell you that this year will go fast, you won’t believe them, and then before you know it, your graduation will arrive. Enjoy your Moments and moments, try not to lose sight of the important things, and remember that change is a part of life!

Claire Majerac

Find what you really like to do and running with it. I’ve been able to explore what I really love throughout my four years here at North Allegheny, but more importantly I’ve been able to explore what I don’t love. I have had clubs in the past that I thought would be my favorite thing but ended up being clubs that I quit because I didn’t like them. Don’t be afraid of something new — be afraid of being stuck doing something you hate. If you like art, find ways to get involved in art. If you like science, join some clubs about science. It’s really not that complicated. And don’t worry how it will look on a college application, because life is so much more than college applications. However, my biggest piece of advice is to talk to people. And maybe it’s awkward because you don’t know them, but it’s only awkward if you make it awkward. There are 700 kids in my graduating class, and I don’t think I know even half of them. Don’t take everything so seriously, because you want to remember your years here at North Allegheny as fondly as I do.

Kara Mihm

If I was pushed into a time machine and forced to do high school all over again, there is one specific thing I would do differently: I wouldn’t be afraid to be bad at something. It wasn’t until the end of my junior year that I shed the notion that I had to be the best in everything I did. Upon this gradual realization, a child-like bliss washed over my fresh mindset as I walked into new pastimes with open arms. It was as if I had been transported back to my youth, a time when I was pushed into different activities as my parents tried to see what I liked best. Not only did these activities grant me immense joy, but they also introduced me to people I would not have met had I stuck to my usual routine. Sure, I might have air-balled multiple times at NABA games and, yes, I also wiped out on almost every slope during Ski Club, but the excitement of accomplishing something new surpassed any embarrassment. I fully understand the frantic pace that high school brings, but if I wish anything for you, try something new. Do you know what’s worse than being bad at something? Not trying at all.

Anna Parsons

Thirteen years. Four schools. Countless memories and lessons learned. The journey from McKnight to NASH has been a blessing, though sometimes in disguise. Growing up is about going through the beautiful and ugly, experiencing all they have to offer.

My time at North Allegheny has brought me obstacles, glories, and opportunities to evolve. I have become the person I am today because of what I have learned at NA and how I have stood up to pain, enjoyed happiness, and survived the journey that is growing up.

As I leave this chapter of my life, I reflect on the people I have met and the memories I have made with them. I am incredibly grateful for it all. This last year, as I anxiously anticipated my future, I often overlooked what was right in front of me. Life moves incredibly fast, and just as Ferris Bueller said, you really should stop and look around once in a while.

Take in all the present gives. It can be quite generous sometimes. Don’t miss the opportunity to receive all its gifts. These years go by in a blink of an eye, so enjoy them while they’re here.

Sam Podnar

High school is just four years of figuring out what you like. It’s figuring out who you want to surround yourself with and what kind of work fulfills you—that’s it. It’s much more difficult than it seems, and it’s a constant process of growing out of things and growing into others.

I came to NAI interested in astrophysics and left NASH hating math; I came to NAI loving running and left NASH loving writing. In between, I tried so many things that didn’t pan out, scrapped so many pursuits because I didn’t love them anymore. And that should be the standard: Now, when you have the time and freedom to explore, set a high bar for your free time—if you don’t love whatever’s filling it, find something else.

As I graduate, I’m here with interests that survived the years, the difficulty, and the boredom that often sets in with time. And though they are few, I find them wonderful. Look for work that makes the hours pass by like minutes and for the people that nourish your soul. That’s it.

Connor Smith

As a senior who moved here in eighth grade, I don’t have the same feelings as someone who spent their whole life in the North Allegheny School District. Yet these four years have been some of the most special years of my life. Moving across the country made life extra scary: how was I going to make friends, was I goin to fit in, what’s going to happen to my old friends? But from the day I arrived at the north entrance of Ingomar Middle, I have been welcomed with open arms and accepted by everyone I’ve ever talked to. I quickly realized that North Allegheny is the best thing that ever happened to me. I thought I’d miss California every day I was here, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Thanks, North Allegheny, for a special four-and-a-half years that will influence my life forever.

Quinn Volpe

Now that I’m graduating, it does feel like the past 13 years have gone by quickly. Some days were slow and heartbreaking — days during which I could barely muster up the strength or courage required to keep my head up. At the same time, though, there have been even more days where I’ve felt overwhelmed with love and friendship and memorable moments. I’ve met my best friends and learned so much about myself and the world around me.

If I’m qualified to give any advice, which I probably am not, I would say that you should always be willing to grow. Since middle school, I’ve dealt with severe anxiety. We all know that everything is not sunshine and rainbows, but seeking help when necessary and learning what coping mechanisms are best for you to find your own version of happiness and comfort is never a bad idea. For so long, I sat with the pain of my worries and anxieties and it did nothing to serve me. The best thing I did for myself was gradually becoming self-aware enough to begin therapy and treatment when I needed it. I am the most me — the most outgoing, creative, and friendly — when I am happy and less anxious, and I am so glad that I’m able to end high school this way.

Sreeja Yellapragada

Sometimes I take for granted how lucky I am. Obviously, high school can be some extremely difficult years to live through. The academics are tough and every single person is just trying to figure out who they are and how they want to live the rest of their life. However, even in the worst possible situations I had to keep reminding myself how fortunate I was for the family, the friends, and the environment I was given.

It is so easy for me to get swept up with the horrible things constantly happening in the world, in my life, in my friends’ lives, etc., but the privilege I have had my entire life surpasses any problems I may encounter. Learning to appreciate this privilege is the best thing I could have done during my entire high school career.

I hope to continue to appreciate my life as I proceed through college and beyond, and I urge everybody to do so as well. Things may be disappointing form time to time, but acknowledging the small things in life will add up in the end.

Waverly Younts

At the beginning of this school year, Dr. Dirda suggested to each person in the class of 2022 to make the most of each day of our senior year because it will be over in the blink of an eye. She was absolutely correct. I have exhausted my years at North Allegheny and I will never walk through the halls of NASH to get to my next class again. Although I do not think that this reality has set in for me yet, I cannot help but feel excited for what is to come for all of my classmates and myself. We are about to start the next chapter of our lives and it is both an exhilarating and surreal thought.

My advice to underclassmen is to not pass up opportunities to get involved with the student body. Go to all of the school dances, sports games, and senior activities. Do everything you can to make memories with your friends and classmates before it is too late.

Thank you for all of the laughs, cries, and happy times, North Allegheny. I truly enjoyed my time at NASH and am thankful for all of the memories made as a result.

Lorenzo Zottoli

As I reflect back on my time writing for The Uproar, I notice one thing: the people and friends I was able to learn more about. Writing articles was more than an assignment I had to complete – it was telling the stories of others for a greater cause. I was fortunate enough to be able to learn more about my friends and peers, while also sharing their stories with others. I took a deep dive into stories of people from all over the world that I would have not been able to do without journalism. When not writing articles, I was involved in producing podcasts and filming several different types of videos. Being able to create such fun projects with other journalism students gave me the foundation I needed to achieve my goals. I would encourage any student to consider joining The Uproar staff to join and continue to tell the stories of others.

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