Smale has a few final thoughts and words of advice
By Mike Smale, Current Staff
That’s it. I’m done.
After four years of attending West Bend East, I can now turn the page to a new chapter of my life. Many seniors are extremely happy that they can now carry on with their lives. I, however, am not all so eager to move on. In fact, I find myself remembering and reflecting on my years in high school.
Looking back, there’s something I discovered: this school has changed a lot. There are many small things that have changed, grown, or disappeared altogether. Just look at this small list of remembrances about my freshman year four years ago:
- East and West administration used to be separate.
- We had two head principals.
- The two offices used to be in separate locations.
- Bookkeeping and the school store used to be where the current office is now.
- The Nifty Nibble used to have a more expansive and sweet menu.
- Nobody smoked vape pens.
- Most kids didn’t have smartphones.
- The farmer group used to be much larger.
- Extracurricular activities seemed to have higher participation rates.
- East and West had separate student councils—Channel and Voice.
- There was Ace for East and Sac/Rec for West, which organized freshmen activities.
- There were no data walls and no data sheets.
- There were no GAINS or EOCA tests.
- Administration wasn’t a hot-button issue.
- The Current used to be a print paper.
- There was no Resource Time.
- Two o’clock Tuesdays had more meaning.
- Traffic would be absolutely horrendous once school ended at 2:34 p.m.
- There wasn’t a hallway “roamer” issue.
- There used to be more fights during lunch.
- There were exemptions allowed on two semester exams if you had an “A” in the course.
- You could exempt an AP class exam if you took the AP test and held a “B” in the class.
- Lunch tasted better.
- Big Daddy Pizza was the greatest thing ever.
- People would play guitars in the hallway.
- There was no PEC center.
- Pass sheets were pink all year long.
- Announcements would be every third hour.
- They used to announce what’s for lunch.
- The same woman would say the Pledge of Allegiance every day.
- Fridays would have the national anthem instead of the Pledge.
- There was the “Glow-Out” dance during winter.
Clearly, many minute changes have occurred—some good, some bad, some neutral. But many of these changes show larger trends.
One, for example, is how the two schools have become more like one; West and East have become Weast. I was astonished when the proposed combination of the schools was shot down last fall. It seemed as if we had been inching our way to becoming one school throughout three years.
Another trend, as revealed by the data sheets and tests, has been the “administrationization” of the school. Clearly this has been a controversial topic for both students and teachers, and I won’t dwell on it much; the comical November disturbance took care of that discussion.
But regardless of these changes and trends, I look back on high school with a tremendous amount of pride, happiness, and fulfillment. The school has not only provided many learning opportunities from the wonderful teachers, but many experience opportunities, too. While big events get all the fame, the small, daily occurrences truly make up most of life, and I certainly have filled my memory with these little everyday experiences at our high school.
So if I have any advice to give underclassmen or incoming freshman, it would be to remember the small events and things during your days here. Remember your lunch conversations. Remember the books you read in English. Remember how the hallways themselves are. Remember these ordinary and routine things because soon enough, too soon perhaps, it’ll all be over.
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