With the McNicholas Class of 2016 preparing to graduate and bring their days as McNick students to a close, the McNick Faculty and Staff, in cooperation with The McNicholas Milestone, decided to compose a goodbye letter for the seniors, offering them advice as they plunge into the adult world.
Dear Class of 2016,
“Off you go, young women and men – on to your destiny. Hopefully, you will remember your years here at McNicholas as years of growth in knowledge and maturity. I trust you made some deep, forever-friends, shared some laughs and some tears, and feel well-prepared for your next segment of life,” Social Studies Teacher Ms. Katherine Hayes said.
“Thank you for the gifts you were to McNicholas High School over the last four years,” Theology Teacher Mr. Sam Roflow said. “If I had some advice to offer it would be for you to choose a path in life and then commit to it. Don’t always look for the next best thing. Commit to something deeply and make your corner of the world better than how you found it.”
“Find a way to use your unique set of talents to help make the world a better place – this is the way to real fulfillment in life,” Science Teacher Mrs. Regina Goines said.
“My advice is to meet and hang out with new people from all over. Old high school friends are great, but there are so many interesting and cool people out there! Expand your circle,” said Mrs. Cheryl Heise, PE and health teacher.
“Travel to new places, engage with new ideas and try new things whenever possible. Never stop learning, growing, or pushing yourself,” Social Studies Teacher Ms. Michelle Semancik said.
“Take opportunities to travel abroad,” English Teacher Mrs. Katie Caster said. “Enjoy being independent if [you’re] going off to college, but be sure to check in with mom and dad – you will miss them and they will miss you. Meet new people and make new friends – they say college friendships last a lifetime.”
“Always remember to thank those who help you along your journey. Smile even when it’s difficult, accept help, [and] be positive,” said Mrs. Julie Dill, French and English teacher.
“Don’t be afraid to try something and fail. Failures are part of life. If you’re not challenging yourself to do something beyond your comfort zone, you’ll never grow,” Math Teacher Mrs. Ashley Brothers said.
“Learn how to be by yourself and enjoy that. That time will become rarer the older you get. There’s no shame in eating lunch by yourself at Panera and having time to think,” English Teacher Mrs. Angie Noble said. “You will reinvent yourself every four to five years. Your identity changes, your relationships change, and instead of ignoring that, embrace it and be grateful for all the ways the past has shaped you.”
“Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help in any area of your life. People are always more than willing to give help to those who ask for it. Never be too proud to ask. The smartest person is the one who knows when they need help and asks for it,” Math Teacher Mr. Bill Losekamp said.
“My advice would be to take pictures of everything, but actually print them out and put them in an album. Pictures get lost! With time the pictures help you remember, [since] time will start eroding your memories of the events,” said Mr. Shawn Young, manager of alumni relations and special events.
Some, such as Architecture and Ceramics Teacher Ms. Mel Gaskins and Guidance Counselor Ms. Kaitlyn Richter, wanted to offer some of their favorite quotes as advice. Gaskins quoted American author Henry David Thoreau, saying, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Richter offered a verse from the Bible: “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11).
“No advice here,” Spanish Teacher Mr. Kyle Jepson said. “Instead, I just wanted to let you guys know how awesome you’ve been over the past four years. You guys will always be my final senior class at McNicholas High School, and I can’t imagine going out with a better one. I love you all, and I’m pumped to see what life has in store for you all.”
“Although I only got to spend a year with you,” Science Teacher Mrs. Cathryn Lest said, “I have seen all of you grow so much. There is so much leadership and strength in this class; it is inspiring. I pray that even after you leave these halls you continue to strive for excellence in all that you do. Set goals and make plans to achieve those goals. Count struggles as victories, because you cannot reach excellence without overcoming some difficulties. Don’t be afraid to own your own identity; always be who you are without following the crowd. I hope that you stand up for what you believe in, that you make mistakes but learn from them. Above all else, try every day to let Christ lead you where you are supposed to go and you will be amazed at where you end up. Congratulations and God Bless.”
“Thanks for everything you have done to make our community richer in spirit and in love,” Losekamp added.
“I pray for your health and well-being. Please, do not forget us, and return in future years to tell us how you’ve been, what you’ve done, and how we might improve our jobs here at McNick. You carry the hopes, dreams and kindest wishes from our community. We love you all,” Hayes said.
The McNicholas Faculty and Staff.
Young wanted to add that seniors make sure he has “your email and cell phone number, so that you can all stay in touch! It is not as easy as you think it will be.”