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Goodbye to seniors

Sonja Karp, NLJ Sports Editor

As we count down the days to the end of the school year and look forward to lazy, relaxing summer days, teachers and coaches are getting ready to say goodbye to students for the year.

We are also looking forward to and making plans for next year, or next season, and putting together ideas for those kids who will be returning to us in the fall.

But, there’s one group of kids who won’t be coming back to us.

The seniors will have moved on to the next phase in their life, whether that be college, trade school, or jumping right into the grown-up world of work.

As a parent, I graduated two of my own children and felt the pride of their accomplishments, but also the sting of them leaving home. While it was bittersweet, there was the comfort of knowing that I would be going along with them as they made their way into the world.

As a teacher, I feel proud of my students’ accomplishments and also the sting of them never being in my classroom again. I know I will get to see some of these students again occasionally, but some I know I will never see again.

And that’s a little sad.

As the class of 2024 walks the halls of Newcastle High School for the last time this week, I am reminded of 25 years of seniors that made those same journeys through these hallways and classrooms. Each class has left a legacy behind and contributed to the collective personality of NHS.

I remember wonderful presentations given by students in my classroom from many years ago. I still laugh about the antics of students throughout the years, and look back with pride at the kids who reached milestones and achieved their dreams during their four years in high school.

Those dreams cover the gamut, from winning state championships in sports, winning accolades for athletic achievements or prowess, winning full-ride scholarships for academic achievements, being recruited to play sports in college, being awarded all-conference and all-state honors, earning the honor of being valedictorian, graduating with an associate’s degree before earning a high school diploma, seeing hard work pay off by getting a high school diploma, and the list goes on and on.

It’s an awesome perk of being a teacher or a coach to get to see our kids succeed in something that we know they have given so much of themselves to achieve.

As parents, we know our nest is going to be empty one day, and we want very much for our children to go out and make their way in the world — but when that last chick flies away, it can be tough!

For teachers, our nest is never empty, as we have a perpetual brood of kids who fill our classrooms each year. However, that doesn’t make saying goodbye to each class of seniors any easier.

They are all special, they are all unique, and they all have touched our lives in one way or another.

They are all missed.

I wish nothing but the best for the class of 2024, and can’t wait to see how they spread their wings and take flight!


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