Parting Words ’24

Final thoughts from the 2023-24 seniors on The Uproar staff
photo by Evan Riley
photo by Evan Riley
Greta Mott

Going into senior year, I kept getting told, “It will go by in the blink of an eye.” I brushed that comment off, because school was never fast enough for me. From the moment I set foot in NASH, I was ready to graduate.

Now, as graduation is hours away, it really does feel like I just blinked. Although some days felt long, my senior year flew by. It changed my negative perspective of school into something positive. One of the highlights of my senior year was creating content for The Uproar, whether it was articles, creative videos, or the morning announcements. The Uproar has supported and inspired me to continue to pursue journalism in college. I will be attending George Mason University for the next four years, where I will be swimming, majoring in communications, and minoring in journalism. The Uproar has given me a passion to pursue in life.

I couldn’t write this without mentioning the amazing swim team I got to swim with for the past four years. This team has given me lifelong friends and taught me valuable lessons about teamwork and determination.

I am so thankful for everything North Allegheny has given me. To all upcoming seniors, enjoy it, because it will go by in the blink of an eye.

Sunny Li

Four years ago, the world, as I saw it, was simple. Life was about finding answers, minimizing burdens, and maximizing happiness. Everything could be planned for ahead of time, and so long as there was a path, results would become apparent immediately. The only thing I thought I needed to do was find clean, simple solutions, and my current problems would be swiftly solved, and my future problems would be already accounted for.

That was all a fantasy.

I am leaving NA with two realizations.

Firstly, our lives are unpredictable; our world is unpredictable; we are unpredictable. No matter how much control we try to exert upon ourselves and the forces around us, the perfect fantasies we’ve spent so long constructing will never come to be, at least not in the exact way we picture them. Aspirations and ambitions are undoubtedly positive, but fixating on exact goalposts will inevitably lead to disillusionment and disappointment. It took days, weeks, and months of rigorously working through assignments, studying for exams, researching, writing, and editing essays and articles, and completing college applications for me to finally realize the detriments of obsessively attempting to guarantee success in my life, rather than simply letting the unpredictable flow of life carry me in certain situations.

Secondly, the imperfection of our reality is something we have to just accept, and as a result, accountability must be at the forefront of our minds. If we lived in a perfect world, the righteous decisions would also be the easiest and most beneficial, but they’re not. The choices we are handed will never be so obvious, and as such, what matters most is not necessarily the path we choose in the moment, but rather, whether we were truly honest with ourselves in making such a decision and if we can take accountability for whatever consequences that may follow. Ultimately, I realized that the few hard decisions I had to make during my time at NA were just the tip of the iceberg. As the end of senior year gradually grew closer, reality sunk in for me–the world would not be there to make so many of my choices for me anymore, so I had to–and now have to–start accepting accountability.

But as intimidating as these realizations are, in a way, I feel liberated–liberated from the illusion of perfection that deceived me for so many years. Now, I feel ready to accept whatever the world throws at me next, and I hope those who follow can discover such acceptance, too.

Ava DiGiacomo

Never did I think a conversation with my 10th grade English teacher would alter the course of my life. But it did. During my sophomore year, my English teacher Mr. Hull suggested I take a journalism class. I was resistant, but his suggestions slowly turned into pleas that I just give the class a try. I was still struggling to find my passion. I enjoyed writing, but I had not fully adopted it as my chosen means of expression. Mr. Hull saw right through this lull in self-exploration and knew the newsroom would be the place for me.

I hit the ground running with heavy topics–my first article focused on the recent overturning of Roe v. Wade, and my last discussed NASH voters’ views on the nation’s two-party system.

While I still have years of learning to do, my journalism class provided me, for the first time, with the feeling of discovering my “thing.” Within months of joining the class, I had set my mind on majoring in Journalism and pursuing it at a collegiate level.

The Uproar remained the most stable element of my time at NASH. It provided me with an outlet for expression, a nurturing community, and bonds that will stick with me for a lifetime. Thanks to this class and Mr. Morris, I have found a path that I look forward to pursuing. I have found a passion that drives me to wake up every morning and work towards the next step in my journalism career. My heart is filled with gratitude for the guidance and perspective gained over the past two years. Thank you, NASH Uproar.

Lauren Lentz

I remember being in elementary school and constantly hearing the words NASH and high school being thrown around by teachers. I could have never predicted the impact that these words would have on me now.

It really is true when people say time flies by. From Hosack to NASH, my time at North Allegheny has finally come to a conclusion. Throughout these 13 short years, I’ve learned a lot, not only school-wise, but about myself and others. As I reflect on my time at NASH, unforgettable memories flood my mind. From football games to grilled cheese Mondays in the cafeteria, I will forever cherish these beautiful moments.

My advice to underclassmen is to make as many memories as you can. Live in the present, mess up, and have fun. Also, don’t take things too seriously–you won’t remember that E on your math test in five years. Everything will work out in the end. Make every moment count because before you know it, it will be over.

I will forever be grateful for the people I’ve met here and the things I have experienced. As I close this chapter in my life and begin this new one, a piece of North Allegheny will always be with me.

Thomas Thirkell

It is crazy how much 12 years changes a person. It feels like yesterday when I was just a 3rd grader who would come home and play Mario Kart on the Nintendo Wii for hours and enjoy endless games of kickball in the cul-de-sac with others in the neighborhood. I remember being a middle schooler who wanted nothing more than to skip straight to college, but now I would give anything just to be an eight-year-old who plays backyard wiffle ball with his brothers again.

North Allegheny has provided me with endless opportunities with some of the most resourceful and understanding teachers. A prime example of this is The Uproar. I never thought that I would come to enjoy writing sports articles after years of dreading my English classes.

From Friday Nights at Newman Stadium to school dances to choral performances, North Allegheny is a place I can forever call home. I am eternally grateful for this school district, and I am proud to call myself a Tiger for life.

Brady Crow

The end is nigh for the 2023-2024 school year, and a million thoughts crowd my headspace. I can’t say much about high school that hasn’t already been said by others. After all, NA students are far from silent when it comes to voicing their opinions.

But I will say that as much as our student body complains about NASH, it’s really not so bad. Sure, it’s a cardboard box once believed to have built by a prison architect, but there’s a certain brutalistic charm to our academic bomb shelter. If the apocalypse breaks out, NASH isn’t a bad place to be.

Also, North Allegheny is home to many talented and experienced teachers. I genuinely enjoyed learning from them and getting a glimpse into all of their intriguing lives, seeing them as people rather than teachers.

Sure, the parking lot is practically a circus and some of the student body is as entitled as you might expect, but NA was a fantastic place to foster intellectual growth and become the person I am today.

As for The Uproar, I’ll remain a faithful reader. I might not be writing for the esteemed website anymore, but I truly look forward to seeing what next year’s writers will publish. I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t miss reporting about bugs, reptiles, and other oddities, but my writing career will continue in other ways.

I owe much of my happiness at NA to Mr. Morris’s guidance and The Uproar members’ wide array of personalites. Thanks to all the readers for the support, and thanks to all of the writing staff for the memories. Later, gators.

Olivia Shubak

My passion for writing has its origins in my love of reading. The stories that captivated my childhood paved the way for my desire to pursue writing. As a child, I favored fiction, so it seems ironic that I have chosen to take journalism, a style of writing firmly planted in reality. I took it on the whim of wanting to hone my writing skills, but I’ve always found writing to be infinitely challenging. I wrote at a crawling pace, my sentences teemed with flowery language, and everything I put on the page seemed to flow at an awkward cadence. Journalism forced me to write consistently, which naturally acted as a catalyst for my growth as a writer, and it gave me a glimpse into the thrilling life of a journalist–a life that I’ve come to see as a future.

Beyond writing, this class has led me to unexpected and astonishing places. It has provided me with a method of documenting, a channel of self-expression, an avenue of truth-seeking. Over the past two years, I traversed a range of topics that appealed to my diverse, sprawling interests. But with any topic, research is only one piece of the puzzle–true journalism pushes you to engage with the world around you. Along the way, I gained insight from people at all walks of life, I learned from my peers, and I became a moving piece in the mechanism of my community.

I feel I’ve found my niche in journalism, and I want to thank all the people who have been part of The Uproar throughout my time at NASH. I’ll miss you all dearly–it was truly a special class.

Teju Annamaraju

Absorbed into the day-to-day workload, I failed to take in the time ticking by. From days to months, I merely wished to be set free from these responsibilities–especially from waking up in the grueling pre-dawn hours. But now that the final day has arrived and my wishes no longer remain wishes, relief isn’t the only feeling I have.

I keep treating senior year like it’s temporary, like how it was in 11th grade. We’ll leave for the summer, and then come back, with quick goodbyes murmured to teachers because it’s not the end.

But as the conclusion of my high school chapter approaches, I’m starting to take in the permanence of my goodbyes. The faces I see every day won’t just be gone for the summer. My moments with my friends will go from giggles between lunch periods every day to smiling at texts over the screen–an entirely (or, mostly) digital connection, which I can’t verify will continue to be tangible as we proceed further into the inconclusive future.

As for my word of advice, many have likely already heard the words “cherish the moment” numerous times. And yes, it may sound incredibly cliche now, as it did for me, maybe at the start or the middle of my senior year when my workload reached its worst. I now can stand by those words and advocate for their importance. Senior year came with its struggles, but it also came with precious moments with the people I love that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

I’m, of course, excited to start the new chapter of my life, but I do wish I took more time to appreciate the small moments of my senior year. Time very much flies by.

Ruby Morris

Why am I, an 18 year old who still doesn’t know how a credit score works, supposed to know what even matters to me?

Well, I know that photos matter to me. As the Photo Editor for The Uproar, I’ve had one eye closed and a camera glued to my face all year. There have been moments I’ve loved (shooting at the Pennsylvania State Journalism Competition) and moments I’ve not loved (editing 400 photos of basketball players). But when people ask me, “Are you going to major in Journalism and become a photographer?” I tell them no. To me, photography is a way of capturing an intimate beauty in a single moment, something too special to monetize.

So what else matters to me? I like science, but I’m horrible at math. I love reading and writing, but I’d never become a teacher (no offense, Mom and Dad). I love (and am good at) History, so I’ve chosen it as my intended major. But who knows who I’m going to be?

To beat this paradox, I try to focus on what ACTUALLY matters. Not material things like Japanese Manga or Thai food or baseball games, even though I do really, really like those (go Bucs). What actually matters is (spoiler alert) the present.

Take a step back from worrying over the future and inevitable change. Happiness is found in the now, not in the then. There’s so much joy around and inside of us; we just need to stop and realize it. I know I’m going to find some success later in my life. I’m a good student, and I like to work hard. My future will look like it will, and I will make of it what I can.

But there’s no use in worrying about that right now, so instead I’ll give my dog a pretzel and scratch her butt. She always wags her tail when I do that. It makes me laugh.

Layla Raye Musselman

I’ll be honest, NASH. I don’t know how to write smart. I can be funny, I can be self-deprecating, but I can’t be intelligent. My fellow Uproar writers, those are smart people, and I hope they reach the highest journalistic honor (being monitored by a foreign adversary).

But right now I’m graduating, and I’m pressuring myself to say something that isn’t couched in five layers of irony. To be honest, I don’t see this as a change in my life, just life happening. I can’t get myself to be in tune with feelings that don’t exist.

I’ll tell you this, though: Last week, my sister found my childhood American Girl Doll. It was the kind that was made to look like the owner. She had brown straight hair and bangs that almost covered the eyes. She was wearing an outfit that looked like the uniform from my elementary school. I had named her Layla Jr., and it was like looking at a piece of my soul. When my sister first showed me her, I told her in a laid-back voice that I’d put her in my room, but I just wanted to hold her. I don’t know how motherhood feels, but I imagine it felt like that — holding a small piece of you and wanting nothing more than to give her love. When I left for work later that day, all I wanted was to go home to her and brush her hair and put her in an outfit that I thought she liked more. This was not healing my inner child through play. This was looking at my childhood self and trying to make her feel better.

Looking at that doll was the only thing that made me emotional about growing up and graduating. The rest? Good riddance. But for the time being, I’ll show my sadness through that doll and info-dumping on websites that I know my family and friends don’t read, but kids I only vaguely know do.

Have a happy graduation, NASH.

Isha George

In an extremely varying environment where new things are abundant and change is uncomfortable but necessary, North Allegheny has given me something to hold onto. The Uproar has given me something to be a part of, and my friends and school support system have given me something to call my own and something to feel joy for.

College is scary, growing up is scary, living on your own is scary, but the moments and memories I’ve had through my time here and throughout my childhood make it all possible. The best way to move forward is to simply move forward. Hold on to those you have, be proud of everything you do, love and learn freely.

I feel incredibly proud of everything that my fellow seniors have accomplished, I’m proud of everything The Uproar is and everything it will become. I want to wish nothing but luck and joy for everyone and the best upcoming senior year, especially to any junior who is a little worried about starting their last high school year or entering the gauntlet of college applications. You will be fine. There are plenty of wonderful people and things around you. When you find them, hold on to them.

Glee Farina

Four years ago, I started attending NA. High school for me has been such a blessing. I think that’s what I’ll miss the most of all, leaving a place that kept my youth.

Moving on with our lives can be hard. I truly feel forced to leave school, and I know I’ll never forget this place. A lot of this feels very surreal, not only to me, but to so many others. School becomes such a strong routine throughout our lives that it can feel a part of us. I truly believe I took it all in the way I hoped. I made unforgettable memories, and the day has come to begin to make new ones.

Journalism exposed me to such a new depth of writing. My favorite part of this class most definitely was reading other students’ articles on The Uproar. Mr. Morris’s students are very reputable for being some of the best writers and filmmakers at NASH, and I’ve never not been impressed with the editors’ articles and topics people decide to write about.

As a creative writer myself, I found that this challenged my ability in writing, especially in the form of an article. I really appreciate being able to be a part of an Honors writing class. I’ll never forget the students I worked with.

Maddy Arluna

I remember when I first got my school email in 1st grade and thinking how far away 2024 is. It’s crazy to think how fast 12 years can go by.

It feels as if it was just yesterday that I was on the Bradford Woods Elementary School stage for my orchestra concert in 4th grade. Now, I’m about to walk across the stage at Newman Stadium and receive my diploma.

North Allegheny has taught me so much throughout all of my years here, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Everywhere I go, I will always be a Tiger for life.

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