When I was a teenager, my parents always told me that the time I spent in high school would be the best years of my life.
And although I haven’t lived all of my life yet, I must agree that so far my days as a high school student are the ones to beat.
I graduated from Hahnville High School in the spring of 1999 and the four years that led up to that defining moment still enter my mind today.
I began my high school career as a shy 13-year-old girl who sizzled through the summer months before my first days as a freshman at band camp.
I played the clarinet, but learning to be part of a marching band was a whole new concept to me.
I was always nervous that I wouldn’t be able to play an instrument and remember the foot movements of the march at the same time.
At the end of the summer, all band members were initiated like a sorority or fraternity do to their pledges.
I can only picture myself trying to find my mom’s car in the school’s blacktop parking lot covered from head to toe in thick, gooey honey that had been poured on my head.
But I’ll never forget the look on my mom’s face when she caught that first glimpse of me and realized that her honey-covered daughter had to ride home in HER car.
I was 13 when I first entered the doors of Hahnville - my birthday falls in November, so I was always one of the youngest in my class - and puberty and beginning high school were a bitter combination.
As I write this, I can’t conjure up any memories that would set the stage for the ninth grade year.
I either have a terrible memory or my first year of high school was just THAT bad.
My sophomore year is where I find some of my more interesting high school moments.
Most of my friends began taking their driver’s test and got their driver’s licenses.
It was our first taste of freedom and we loved it - the ability to go to the mall or to see a movie without a parental chauffeur was as good as it got as a 15-year-old teenager.And like most high school students, I conformed to a certain group of friends and we when we were together, we acted like a larger and more feminine version of the Three Stooges.
Amanda was the quiet one. Tobie was the truly smart one, Katrina was the down to earth one, Megan was silly and Laurie was the “new” one. And for me, well I was the funny one - or at least that is what they told me and I trust their judgement.
I have so many fond memories of my girls ... the sleepovers and the countless mailboxes we smeared with strawberry preserves. Incriminating? Yes. Fun? Of course.
My junior year is where things began to mellow out.
Most of my friends were scattered throughout the school, taking different courses and we were becoming frustrated.
Knocking on the door of almost 13 years of consecutive education was almost the breaking point.
Fast forward a year. I am wearing my gold class ring with an amethyst stone and I’ve hammed it up for senior pictures and on one of the last days of high school I am filling out a “My Favorite Things” survey.
Hmmm ... let’s see ... favorite sport? Writing. Favorite cafeteria food? Hahnville has a cafeteria? Favorite subject? English. Favorite teacher? My American history teacher, Brenda Charles.
Mrs. Charles made us laugh, could roll her eyes at us better than we could at her and called everyone by their last name at all times - a practice that I profusely protested.
Being called Breaux all the time made me feel like one of the guys.
I finally convinced her to use my first name.
And she did, but always exaggerated the “er” at the end.
Those last days as a senior at Hahnville flew by and before I knew it ... I was flipping my tassel and throwing my cap in the air and all of my family was there it see it.
Graduation was my first true moment of self-assurance. I felt that if I could make it to high school graduation, then I could do anything.
And at the very moment when my name was called and I crossed the stage, I knew that I wanted to impact the world.
To the class of 1999, see you at our ten-year high school reunion and to the class of 2007, good luck and aim high, for the world is at your fingertips.
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