“[In] Junior year, I auditioned for One Acts. Honestly, I was super scared. None of my friends had done it before and I had to beg my friend to audition with me. We both ended up getting parts, which was awesome, and we had so much fun. I wish I had the courage to audition when I was a freshman and sophomore because it was such an awesome experience. It’s one of my favorite memories from high school. I regret not getting involved in the theater program at LO sooner. It’s so much fun. I wish I did it all four years of high school.
Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t be scared people will judge you. Audition for the school play, try out for your favorite sports. Do whatever you want to do without fear of judgement from your peers. You’ll regret it if you don’t.”
“In the spring, I volunteered with the track team’s Pathways program. I was sort of an assistant coach for a few years, which entailed ensuring that the athletes were staying motivated and paying attention by running alongside them, cheering them on in their workouts, and making sure they got to their events
on time and were fully taken care of. Getting to work with the kids is a really rewarding experience. It’s about working with people who learn and process in different ways than you do, managing situations if there’s ever any tension, explaining things in new ways. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to approach different situations and move forward with that [open] mindset. Not getting to do track with them this year is one of the biggest losses for me, personally.
Being a student at LOHS, I came to understand the benefit of building relationships with teachers. A lot of students don’t think that they can go to teachers for help or advice … but the faculty at LOHS are a support system. They want to build relationships with you and understand the personal challenges you’re facing. Reaching out for help is the best way to get the support you need. They want to see you succeed, and communicating with them is the best way to make that happen.”
“I’ve been wrestling since sixth grade. I got into it because the [high school] coach came to the middle school cafeteria to speak, and I was new, so I was looking for things to do. I loved it. Honestly, I love the fight. I love the mental toughness it instills in everybody — having the willpower to push through even when you think you can’t go any more. During my junior year wrestling season, I had three dislocated ribs at one point, but I still walked into a match. My teammates were like ‘Are you sure?’ and I was like, ‘I have to go in.’ And I won the match.
I’m proud of the friends I made in high school. No doubt. I’m super grateful for the amazing people I’ve met. But I regret leaving things at the end of the school year because everything ended so abruptly. I guess things got left unsaid.”
“Compassion has been very important to me over the last few years. On numerous occasions I have made sure to be understanding of the struggles of those in my group and have done my best to help ease the burden of their work. [And] I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t benefitted from the same compassion … when I bit off more than I could chew.
It is okay to make mistakes. In fact, it is better to make mistakes and learn from them than never make any mistakes at all. School is about learning, and the best way to learn is trial and error. You will trip at points in your academic career, but your responsibility is to get back up, dust yourself off, and throw yourself back into the fray. That ability to accept your mistakes and get back up is what will make you successful in the future, not the letter grade you get on a test.”
“In my sophomore year, I was talking to one of my friends. He was like, ‘Diyar, you’re a soccer player, right? How come you’re not playing this year?’ I told him I had asthma, and so he was like, ‘Do you want to come out and be the kicker for the [football] team?’ I didn’t know much, since I don’t watch football, but I did it. And I was really bad the first couple weeks of practice. But one day it clicked … that year we ended up winning the state championship. I felt like all my hard work paid off.
Don’t be scared to put yourself out there. Do things for you — don’t do them to please others. I spend so long trying to please everyone that I forgot I was an individual and had my own needs. I wasn’t doing what made me happy, you know?”
“I joined the cross-country team this past fall. I’d never done the sport before or run really any long distance other than just training on my own. I didn’t know how it would turn out or if I’d enjoy it, but the coaches — especially Coach Kinney — assured me that it would be a great experience. Looking back on my high school career, running cross country this season was probably one of the most fun and memorable experiences of my last four years. I will never forget the relationships and memories I built that season.
Our high school basketball team went undefeated in league this season, winning the Three Rivers League by a large margin. It felt great for all the hard work my teammates, coaches, and I had put in over the last four years, in the preseason, and each day during the season to result in this substantial collective accomplishment.
Coach Luhnow, the assistant coach of the basketball team, has influenced me greatly over the last four years. Through working with him, especially during my junior and senior season, I was able to build a strong bond with him and learn a lot about basketball and life, like the importance of always having a presence, competing for what you want, and trusting your teammates, coaches, and family members.”
“During junior year, while I was taking my standardized tests, I wanted to be prepared. I worked hard to grind out [my studying] and get good scores that, looking back, I’m very proud of. I believe hard work, perseverance, and optimism are some of the most important values. [You] don’t have to be the smartest person in the room, but if you have the work ethic to strive and be the best you can and never give up, you can be just as successful as anyone else.
I felt rewarded for those efforts when I was admitted to a leadership scholar program at a university I’d applied to. The program wasn’t something you could apply for — they simply offered it to me with my acceptance. It came with a notable scholarship, admittance to their graduate school, and a lot of other impressive perks. I felt valued by the university and proud of everything I’d worked for and accomplished during high school.
I hope [incoming students] will embrace the opportunities offered in high school. Everyone says it, but the four years go by so quickly, so soak them up as much as you can. Take advantage of the time you have with your teachers, counselors, and coaches. Go to all of the sporting events, the concerts, the assemblies … go to everything, because you will truly miss them when they are gone.”
“Coming into a college prep school from an ordinary high school in Chicago halfway through freshman year, I was at a disadvantage. It was a hard change … but I learned to adjust accordingly. I’m proud of how fast I adapted to my surroundings and figured it out. I kept myself grounded and balanced with my workload and personal life.
I worked so hard in choir to try and improve myself and get to know people in the program. I was surprised to see that I had made it into Windjammers considering that I’d been [at LOHS] for a little over a semester. It felt amazing to know that my work paid off.
[Later] I chose to do a professional theatre show while also participating in school stuff. It was huge when I had to leave part-way through writing the show … [because then] we had to go and change the script. I still got to help with the show, but it meant stepping away and making it a little harder for everyone else. I’m glad I did it even though I had no free time and went from rehearsal to rehearsal between a variety show, musical theatre class and my professional show. It was difficult but rewarding.”
“I’m a climber. I like to be outside in the mountains. And there have definitely been “oh [expletive]” moments, close calls. The first time I climbed [Mount] Hood, there was an accident and a climber ended up dying. I was thirteen or fourteen. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t tough. But it wasn’t bad to gain that kind of perspective so early on. I took that [experience] with me on every route I climbed afterwards.
In the mountains — in mountaineering and alpine climbing and stuff like that — there’s objective and subjective risk. There’s definitely physical risk: crossing crevasses, climbing headwalls. Every time I’m making an ice anchor or belaying off of ice screws or rappelling on an abalakov, I look at it twice and go “Huh. That’s going to hold my weight.”
The mountains have served as a great source of grounding for me. They provide a sense of humbleness and humility, and I think that’s very valuable, especially in such a hectic cycle of life. It’s easy to get lost and entrenched in your own little world, but there’s important context in the mountains that most people don’t ever get a chance to see.”
“In general, I try not to have too many expectations of things I don’t know. I don’t want to be disappointed or happily surprised. [High school] was nothing I could have ever imagined as a middle schooler. I pictured more homework, more work … but I really ended up enjoying learning a lot more. Everything’s more applicable, less superficial. Like Physics — I really enjoyed that class — I was like, ‘oh my gosh. There are things all around me that I didn’t notice.’
I’m proud of the fact that, after precalculus, I stuck with Calculus. I said, ‘this is going to drop my GPA, but I’m doing it anyway.’ I didn’t think I’d ever go to calc, and then I did. Academically, I took classes to challenge myself. Some classes, like Econ (AP Economics) … I knew nothing about it. I didn’t know if I was interested or not and blindly went into it. What’s important is the fine balance between finding a topic you don’t know much about and knowing that you’ll enjoy it.”
“In sophomore year, I learned how to sew. Everyone thought it was kind of weird, but it’s worked out pretty well. After all the hard work I put towards fashion outside of school, I was awarded a full ride to SCAD (The Savannah College of Art and Design). My mom is always pushing me and gives me helpful tips. Mrs. Burnham’s ceramic class made me realize how much I like art.
When I started at Lake Oswego I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up, but I found what I want to pursue. Now I’m almost certain that I’m going to be a fashion designer.”
“This year I took AP Calculus AB. After the first few classes I knew [Mr. Hubley] would be one of my favorite teachers. He’s calm and collected and knows what he’s talking about. He’s someone you can go to if you need any help. But even with a wonderful teacher a class can still be challenging. AP Calc is the most fun, but hard, class I’ve ever taken. Even though my first few test scores in semester one were low, I was having a good time, and that’s because of Mr. Hubley. He reminded us that ‘you don’t have to do things, you get to do them.’
I began to improve after those first three tests not only because I studied more and worked harder, but because Mr. Hubley was the type of teacher who reminded us that we could get through challenges and learn from them. Mr. Hubley changed the way I viewed math, shifting it from a challenge [that would leave me feeling] helplessness into a challenge that I could manage and push through.
What I failed to do my junior year especially was maintain a balance in my life. I had more to do and classes were harder, sure, but I could go months at a time without hanging out with anyone. It took a toll on my mental health and friendships. Even though I was able to balance out my life this year and make it a good one, some of the effects of junior year (both on myself and others) are still here. [So] don’t academically or socially overload yourself. I’m a firm believer that relationships … make life worth living. Balance your social life with academics. Balance is key. Remember that and you’ll be okay.”