Reflections from a grateful student

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Reflections from a grateful student

Senior Reflection by Pete Villasmil.

Senior Reflection by Pete Villasmil.

Senior Reflection by Pete Villasmil.

Senior Reflection by Pete Villasmil.

Pete Villasmil, Co-Editor-in-Chief

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I am writing this a couple weeks out from a day I cannot believe is already upon me: graduation. As I remain in awe at the finality of the occasion, I find myself at a terrifyingly exciting crossroads, which has prompted me to look back at my years here as a West Forsyth student. As I reflect, I am filled with a profound sense of gratitude for the friends and teachers that have helped me get to this point in my academic career. Simply, I need to thank those who have helped me grow these past four years and helped me develop into the person I am today.

A thank you must go out to all my math teachers. To be frank, it is my worst subject but you all provided ways for me to succeed in each course. Thank you Ms. Livengood for being the first teacher I had here at West. Your class provided a welcome introduction to West’s unique atmosphere and helped me connect with many of the different students we have at this school. Thank you Mrs. Robertson for challenging me in ways few teachers had done before, and helping me understand that failure is not a sign to give up, but an opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Thank you to Mr. Beall for helping me gain confidence and a new interest in math. A special thank you to Mrs. Brann, for not only being an excellent and witty math teacher, but for also being a great coach. My ventures during Friday Night Football would not be possible without your support and supervision. To all these teachers, even though math is not my best subject, you all made it memorable and fun.

Thank you to all my friends in the 200 building. You colorful personalities and sense of camaraderie is a prime example of the school’s spirit. If I could, I would remain another year or two at West to take more classes from you all. I must give special thanks to the teachers that taught me, Dr. Hewett and Mr. Koeval. Doctor, you provided an engaging look into the biological world that impressed and fascinated me so much, it inspired me to take AP Bio this year. Your help and support to help me learn more about this field of science has helped me become a more eclectic student. Mr. Koeval, having your class two years in a row gave me one of the most unique learning experiences I have had in high school. I have many fond memories of the experiments you would perform in class or the often wild and hilarious conversations that would occur during a lesson. It was joy to learn from you, and I will certainly miss the distinctive nature of your class.

Thank you to Mr. Cochrane for being my first AP teacher and quelling the fears and anxieties I had about taking a college level course. I would not have loaded up in my coursework junior and senior year had it not been for your guidance in understanding the nature of an AP course. Also, AP Psychology remains one of the most dynamic classes I have taken and your teachings made it all the more memorable. Thank you Ms. Corey, for giving me a fun semester in Civics and Economics and for being a great Youth and Government adviser. This nation’s political system completely fascinates me, and your class pushed me further into my obsession into the political world. Thank you to Mr. Bilton for teaching one of the most exciting classes I took junior year. Western Humanities further expanded my interests in the classical world, while giving me a new approach to analyzing popular culture on an academic level. The competitions in your class were a blast (special shout out to my partner Jackson Woodard) and it was a distinct honor and pleasure to serve as a girl’s varsity soccer ball-boy this year.  Thank you to the one and only Mr. Dunham. Few words can express the appreciation I have had for your support and teachings these past years. APUSH has been one of my favorite classes yet, and the freedom you gave me in class to explore the nature of America’s history contributed to my growth as a student. World History also remains an incredibly memorable class from freshman year. May the force be with you, Mr. Dunham.

Thank you Mrs. Ellington, for helping me transition into high school during my freshman year. The excitement in your English class greatly empowered me to remain a dedicated academic throughout my years at West. You gave me a new way to look at literature and established the foundations for the growth of my writing. Homer’s Odyssey stands out in my mind as one of the most important works I read in high school, and your guidance in conquering the challenging epic filled me with a sense of accomplishment. I would not have succeeded as well in English without your class. Thank you Mr. Egan, for advancing my development as a writer and speaker. The discussions you led in class helped me further develop my public speaking skills and the lessons you gave on argumentative writing propelled my understanding of the English language. I will never forget assignments like “The Rattler” or the penny prompt paper because of how instrumental they were in helping me decipher the art and strategy behind rhetoric. Your infectious sense of school spirit has continually motivated me as a leader and Friday Night Football would not have been the same without you.

To my fellow SGA Officers and advisers, thank you for your hard work and dedication to this school’s student body. West Forsyth has an incredibly energetic, diverse and involved community and your support in giving back to this wonderful school leaves me incredibly grateful. I must give a special thank you to Dr. Pinochet and Mrs. Burris for advising and guiding me in leading this student body. The success of SGA would not have been possible without your commitment.

Thank you Mr. Sabolcik for helping plant the seeds for the enthusiasm I have for journalism today. Little did I know walking into your class on the first day of school, that you would inspire me to write for this newspaper staff. Your kindness and bold intellect made your journalism class an exciting and influential one. Having you again for AP Lit this year has helped me grow as a literary scholar and has instilled in me a new excitement for literature. More importantly, I would not be writing this if it were not for you. Thank you.

To those on this newspaper staff, thank you for your time and effort in helping advance this publication. To all the writers, your work makes me proud to be co-editor-in-chief of the Zephyr. However, I must give a huge thank you to my colleague and journalistic partner-in-crime Sarah Lindsay. I mean this very literally when I say this paper would not be possible without your zeal, perseverance, and dedication to the staff. Having worked with you on the Zephyr has been a highlight of my high school career, and your hardworking spirit continually pushes me to be the best editor I can be. A very important thank you must also go to Mrs. Peterson, someone who has taught me so much these past three years. Writing on the newspaper has been a complete privilege, and your guidance in helping me understand the complexity of the journalistic world helped me gain a new perspective on reporting. I am a better writer and academic because of your support of the Zephyr. Thank you for making this experience a defining one for me.

To friends old and new, I am beyond appreciative for the support and fellowship you have given me. I will forever cherish the memories we have made, and wish you all the best of luck in your collegiate life. To all teachers at West Forsyth, I appreciate the dedication you all show to your craft. This school would not be as successful as it is without your hard work, and while we might not always express it, we students truly value the time and effort you invest in our academic advancement. You are a great part of what makes this school such a special place that I will deeply miss.

Reflecting on this school and the people that have impacted me leaves me with a bittersweet sensation, but as Tony Stark recently said, “part of the journey is the end.” I will never forget my time here at West and those who made the ride such a memorable one. As I conclude this chapter of my life and prepare to embark on a new adventure, I am filled with immense gratitude. Thank you West, for being the best alma mater possible and know that I will always and proudly declare that West is Best.