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The LEAP Student Blog

Stay Strong, Stay Determined

Kamryn Shannon
Ephrata High School, Class of 2020

A Letter to the Seniors

Eighteen years. 6,570 days. Four of those 18 years spent in high school.

Freshman year we were the new faces. We were the scrawny little kids of the school that had yet to find their place. We sat at the kids’ table for the most part, except for the few times that upper classmen took us under their wing. Young minded and unknowingly stepping into a lion’s den.

Sophomore year we maybe got a little too big for our britches. We were moving up on the food chain and we might have been the mean class because we were still too ignorant to understand that the real world was about to come slamming down on us. High school was classified as “not too bad” this year. We were finally upperclassmen, finally had some sort of power.

Junior year. The year before being crowned as the rulers of the school. The year of preparation to become some of the most influential and commonly heard voices of the school. The last year before stepping into a huge leadership role. The year for me personally that, at the time, I thought had the most impact. The year that I became a LEAP member. The year that I started running start. The year that I earned my first real job. The year that, unbeknownst to me, would be my last full year in high school.

Now here we are, senior year. Started off as a privilege to be able to have the title of “senior,” then somewhere along the way it became more like a job. College applications, letters of recommendation, networking with employers and companies, and communicating with recruiters. All eyes are on you as a senior. All those underclassmen that you might despise simply because that is the natural flow of the stereotype; they’re looking up to you in some way because they want to be in your shoes. Everyone knows you, especially in a small town. Our last first day and last first round of high school finals. Out first semester came to a close and then… so did senior year. In years and years of tradition, this is never how it’s supposed to end.

I used to think that I was ready to get out of high school. I was ready to hop into adult life and just get moving in the world making a name for myself. But now I’m starting to reminisce more. I’m starting to wish that I could turn back the clock. I’m supposed to have three more months. Three more months to say goodbye. Three more months to prepare to walk across the stage, doing my best to not think about tripping in front of stadium bleachers full of my community. Three more months of dreading being in high school while simultaneously being terrified to step into the “real world”.

All Washington state seniors along with those around the globe probably feel the same way. We’re all at a loss for the correct response at a time like this. What’s the right way? The wrong way? Is it selfish of us to be longing for graduation or is it reasonable to say that our irritation and anger is rational? Does having a sense of humor about the situation make us irresponsible or does it make us hopeful?

Nevertheless, here’s to the next round of leaders about to head out on their own. Here’s to the next medical students and the next soldiers. To the next teachers, politicians, businessmen and women. The next farmers, blue-collar workers, and small-town business owners. To the next round of young adults that are the future parents of future leaders. For it is with us that the world will continue to grow.

A Letter to the Underclassmen

When this is over, I hope you find ways to enjoy the rest of your four years in high school. I hope your Friday night lights and spirit weeks awaken your competitive drive and sense of childlike joy. I hope that you endure that boring class and manage to feel gratitude for being able to be surrounded by your peers. I hope that you become stronger because of the pandemic, not fearful of your future. For the Mondays that move too slow and the summers that move too fast, I hope that you find a way to make every moment count. I hope you grow to be a positive and important part of society. Maybe now there will be balance, maybe now there will be acceptance. This virus may have caused panic but maybe something good will come of it. Perhaps we will be better people. Perhaps having it all taken away is what we needed to become aware of our impact on the world. Dear underclassmen who I have had the privilege of sharing my four years with, this world needs minds like yours in it. Stay strong and stay determined.

A Letter to Society

Never underestimate the power and comfort of being embraced by a friend. Spend more time outdoors than you do inside. Unplug for a while. I hope you meet strangers and never forget the impact that a simple greeting makes. I hope you find beauty in being stuck in a long line or caught up in traffic. When an opportunity arises to take the scenic route, I hope you stop and smell the roses along the way. There is bad in the world and that is just the reality of it, but there is also good. The sun will rise, and another day will start and one of those days will be the end of the pandemic. One of those days we’ll all go back to our normal routines, but here’s the caveat: you get to make the choice to change the way your future lies or you can go back to normal, you can go back to doing things the way you usually do without change. Normal is good, but will that show that we came out of this as better people? Will it show any growth?

Thank you all for washing your hands, it is greatly appreciated by all those around you. Now if we could work on turn signals, that would be just lovely.


From: Sally Kaatz 4/13/2020 12:03 pm

Beautifully written. Thank you!

From: Ryan Shannon 4/13/2020 1:51 pm

Just when I think I couldn’t be more proud of you. I am truly proud to call you my daughter! Thank you for sharing this with the world.

From: Adam 4/13/2020 2:36 pm

Very heartfelt and true to all of my memories of High School, with a fantastic ending. Well said, good luck, and congratulations.

From: Simone Kelly 4/13/2020 4:14 pm


Nicely done! See you are letting it refine you and not define you! I plan to share the letter to society section to my team!

Love ya kid!

From: Sandi Black 4/13/2020 9:34 pm

That was beautifully stated. Thanks for challenging us to think about going back to our normal or coming out having grown in ways that will make us better and able to be kinder to those we come in contact with. Glad you are going to be one of our next leaders!!

From: JJ Heston 4/13/2020 10:35 pm

You are an amazing young lady!
Thank you for sharing.

From: Patti Authement 4/14/2020 9:37 am

Wonderful article! The Letter to Society really resonates with me!

From: Linda Ebberson 4/14/2020 2:29 pm

You are a very thoughtful young lady. Thank you for sharing. I wish you well and this truly will be a memorable Senior year for you and your fellow Seniors. Great things are yet to come for all of you. God bless you.

From: Greg Hewitt 4/14/2020 2:47 pm

Speak it and Live it!!! Well done and well said young and faithful TIGER!!!!
Proud of you Kami!

From: Darcy Jensen 4/14/2020 2:51 pm

What a very insightful letter. Your wisdom is beyond your years, but makes me glad
that are bright young people like yourself that will rise to any set back and find the good.
Thank you for being positive and you are one more reason I am proud to work in and
call Ephrata my home.

From: Frank Moore 4/15/2020 10:15 am

Well written and very proud of you!

April 2020

4/26/2020 Remember What's Important
4/17/2020 Renewed Appreciation
4/13/2020 Stay Strong, Stay Determined
4/9/2020 We're In This Together
4/7/2020 High School Roller Coaster
4/5/2020 On Hold
4/4/2020 You Don't Know What You Have Until It's Gone
4/2/2020 Heartbroken

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