By Erica Gumbert
Wishing one could whisper helpful advice to their teenage selves may just seem like a dreamy fantasy, but five faculty and staff members have decided to share some of their knowledge and experience about their time in high school in hopes of benefiting current students, especially the graduating seniors. For many, high school was a time shared with friends to look back on fondly, but, nevertheless, advice about high school is always beneficial to have.
Randy Royal – Social Studies Teacher
Royal urged seniors to live in the moment and take life as it comes. “Seniors’ plans for life will be extremely different from reality. Don’t get so hung up on what you had planned that you miss out on what can happen,” he said. College is a time to reinvent oneself multiple times, he added, and one can always start over, it doesn’t matter when.
Royal said he never had any regrets because, “if you’re happy with who you are, why would you want to change anything?” Growing up, he always heard adults complain that they wished they did this or that, so he never wanted to live a life he would later look back on and have regrets.
Shannon Kapp – Director of Communications and Marketing
Kapp stressed the importance of never giving up, as well as staying true to one’s roots. “Always be yourself.… Never forget who you are, you owe it to God and to yourself,” Kapp said. She wanted the senior class to be true to themselves along with “keeping the basis of learning we have been given for the past four years and to build up from there.” Kapp wanted the seniors to have fun, but also remember that college can be a lonely time. “Make sure you’re meeting new people and having new experiences” she said. She wanted seniors to keep their strong support system as the new change of college is looming ahead.
Regarding advice for herself, Kapp said she wishes she thanked her faculty and staff more often. “I regret not thanking my teachers more and expressing my sincere gratitude towards them,” she said. The most memorable piece of advice she had received from one of her teachers was, “when it seems like a door closes, [another] one will always open.” She keeps this in mind whenever doubt kicks in, and she uses it as fuel to spark her determination on whatever goals she is working towards.
Andy Ey – Director of Technology
Ey said he is driven by passion and wants the same drive for the senior class. He talked about how immensely important it was to find out one’s passion and strive to attain it. “You have to be focused on things that last.… Things of now and doing things for immediate happiness won’t last and aren’t worth it,” he said. Ey added that “the biggest thing is to find something you’re passionate about and invest yourself in it.… Think about what kind of impact you can leave for yourself and others.”
One of Ey’s most memorable times as a high school teen was his state championship baseball game, and he said that he didn’t have any regrets. “I was taught from an early age to live with no regrets and to do everything with a purpose and reason,” he said. Ey added that his desire for the things he enjoys has stayed the same since his time in high school, along with his strong sense of humor.
Katherine Hayes – Social Studies Teacher
Hayes’s advice for seniors was to be safe. “There are so many temptations, drugs and alcohol, and getting into a bad spot without safe resources is scary,” she said. However, Hayes also said to have fun. “Try things you never thought you’d ever be interested in and talk to people you never thought you would ever talk to,” she said.
She also hoped the senior class will realize, in time, that because they attended McNicholas, they were very blessed. “So many people care about them at this school and want the best for them, but they may not realize it now,” she said. Hayes added that after the seniors become adjusted to their collegiate life, they will look back on their time at McNick and realize how fortunate they really were.
Hayes said she wishes she would have involved herself in more activities during high school, as well as doing more for her school itself. She said her proudest moment in high school was sticking up for someone. During her freshman year, she said, one of her friends was being bullied, and she decided it was time to stick up for her. It was difficult for Hayes to do since she was a very shy girl at that age and she knew she would be the bully’s next target, but she was still proud of her actions. She added that while her shyness has evolved into a more outgoing personality, her passions for kindness, horses, music, and nature has remained strong for many years.
Steve Dalton- Mathematics Teacher
Dalton’s advice for seniors stemmed from advice he received from his grandfather. He said, “you are going to leave, grow, and change, but the family and the people you leave behind will stay the same…. You need to remember that you’ve grown and changed, but your family has stayed the same.”
Dalton didn’t have many regrets in his high school days, as “high school was a period where everything clicked for me, so I don’t have any true regrets on anything.” He did reflect on his senior prom night, where he regretted not remembering his date’s name. “My senior prom date was a blind date, and she was a wonderfully nice lady, but I couldn’t remember her name to save my life, so I had to write her name on my hand to remember throughout the night,” he joked. His biggest challenge when he was younger, he said, was that he thought he knew everything, but the older he grew, the more questions he had. He learned that, “I didn’t know much, but I didn’t need to. What I needed was to have faith and believe.”