We all know the last three months have not been ideal — they have changed plans, and shifted learning methods. We went from one week without a care in the world, dreading school, to the next, sitting in our bedrooms wishing the people on our screen were with us in person.

I cannot deny that those nine weeks were hard.

Sisters High School is a welcoming place where teachers not only teach you, but become close friends. The support shown through these times of online learning was so incredible. Teachers spent their time giving to us. They worked longer hours than a normal school day. They created online platforms and figured out how to teach us best. I never experienced a teacher who got upset or impatient.

Even when my attitude was negative and selfish, they remained patient and kind and gave so much time to us.

I look back and wish I could have been more grateful for school. My freshman year brought not only learning of material, but the way the teachers poured into me was something so unlike any school experience I have had.

Not only did I experience support and love from teachers during the online learning phase, but every time I walked into those Sisters High School doors, the staff were right there with me. They serve the students with joy and genuine passion.

I would also like to share about how I felt supported this year with my first high school basketball team. The team was a place where I was pushed to be better and I was challenged. I was surrounded by people who genuinely radiated joy, integrity, and care for those around him. Brittaney Brown was a huge aspect of that team and I had a very positive experience with my first high school team this year. Thank you, Brittaney!

I believe that I am undeserving of the forgiveness I am shown daily. I was shown so much grace at Sisters High School. I also believe that grace had to be given in order to succeed in the phase of online learning. I believe that this year and everything that has come with it (COVID-19, racial tension, canceled events etc.) were very hard, yet extremely unifying.

I see now that my entitled behavior blinded me from everything Sisters High School has done for me. I was a part of classes that I will remember the material for forever.

I believe it is necessary to go through a dark time. It slowly unblinded me. My eyes adjusted to the dark and therefore, I could see again. My heart became filled with gratitude just to see my teachers again. I longed to be back in Global Studies watching BBC one-minute world news.

So I write this to let everyone reading know that, by no means was my first of high school perfect. Did it humble me? Heck yes! I got my first D in a class. It reminded me that I need other people. I need my teachers. I longed to be back at school. My heart was filled with more gratitude than it’s ever been. In the midst of disappointing and humbling experiences, I was being molded and shaped. I was being challenged to leave my cozy corner of entitlement, and be vulnerable to reality. It allowed me to see again. To see that the people at school really do love their job. They give so much to the students.

The idea of Independence puts us in a box of selfishness and entitlement. We start to believe that we deserve others to serve us. Independence and entitlement bury gratitude. When we dismiss the idea of depending on other people. It blinds us. Truth is: WE NEED OTHER PEOPLE!

I thank every staff member at not only Sisters High School, but also the elementary and middle schools. I thank coaches who lost their spring season. I want to live with a grateful heart, and I want to build people up and encourage. This year has taught me so much and it began to help me see my entitlement. Thank you, Sisters High School, for giving everything!