As far back as I can remember, people in my life have always told me to “Cherish the moment, before you know it’ll be gone in the blink of an eye.”
Here I am, senior year, wishing time hadn’t gone by so fast. All I can do now is look back and be thankful for the wonderful journey that started in the Oakesdale School cafeteria, where I spent my preschool days. I began to build friendships that would last for the next 14 years and not only were these classmates my friends, but they eventually became my family. I have been so fortunate to grow up and go to school in Oakesdale because it is such a unique place. Every single person knows each face they pass in the hallway and has some type of relationship with them. It’s not hard when there are only 120 kids in grades K-12, but it is something that most kids in Washington cannot relate to. We are special because we all love each other. We are a family.
Throughout all my years at Oakesdale, the people within the school and community have always been there to support and love me through everything I do. One of the main events our community and school revolve around is the sports programs. We may be a small school with an even smaller pool to pick from, but we have been very successful in many of our sporting events. My last volleyball season as an Oakesdale Nighthawk resulted in our team bringing home the 1B State Champion trophy for the 2nd year in a row. The emotion I experienced in this moment was unreal: hugging my team like that for the last time, shedding tears of joy, and looking up and seeing our whole town in the stands cheering us. I have been a Nighthawk volleyball player since the 5th grade, and I am so thankful for each experience I have had all the way up to senior year. My school and community have never failed to cheer me on the whole way.
Basketball approached, and I was determined to make this the season to go all the way, because it was now or never. Ever since my freshman year, when I got to suit up for varsity and the state championship game, I knew I had to go back. This is one of my favorite memories from high school because I got to play with my sister and run through the smoke tunnel for the championship game. The crowd roaring, the lights turned out, and the spotlight on you as your name gets announced is the coolest feeling in the world. So as I progress through my last season of basketball, I have made it my goal to return to the Spokane Arena to take the gold ball home.
As you can see, sports have had a huge impact on my life so far. They become more important as you grow up because the competition increases and so does the intensity. What remains the same, is the people I have played with and been coached by along the way. I believe this is what contributes to our success, as we have come to know and play with each other for many years. One of the hardest parts about being a senior is it is the year of the “lasts”. The last home game, the last first practice, or the last time I will ever play with this group of girls. It is crushing to know that soon I will be departing and starting a new chapter of my life without the people who have always been there for me. Yes, it is scary but it is also exciting.
I do not look back on my years in Oakesdale School with any regret. Instead, I continue to be thankful for the town I grew up in and the community that surrounds me, because they have shaped me into the person I am today. As I finish up my last year at Oakesdale, I will take the memories and friendships I have made and cherish them forever.
I thank the town of Oakesdale for being one of a kind. Your support and love from preschool to senior year are what make it so hard to leave.