What we’ve learned

Our student years are coming to a close as the 2019 graduation date is imminently approaching. Four years ago, we walked the halls as incoming freshman and now the dreams we had about graduating are coming true.

Everyone told us that four years would pass us by in the blink of an eye, yet we never believed them. Now here we stand, ready for our diplomas and the rest of our lives. Each member of the class of 2019 came to Perry and experienced it differently, so here is some advice from an administrator, a student athlete, a scholar, a fine arts student, and two average Joes.

The origins of Principal Dan Serrano began in a small “copper mining and blue collar town”; this is the exact opposite of our very own school. According to Serrano, he attended high school with people he grew up with since kindergarten where life was simple, especially with no social media or mobile devices. In his life as both a past senior and a current administrator, he has accumulated pieces of advice over the years for soon-to-be college freshman.

“Whatever your next phase is, if you don’t have it, you got to pick what you want to do and have goals to go get it because it’s competitive out there,” Serrano said, “so what you do as soon as you start the day after graduation it’s going to matter. If you’re wasting time not meeting your goals other people are going after it.”

Football player Kyle Patterson, who is committed to United States Air Force Academy, has learned the value of being a student athlete.  

“I have academics first, always, you can’t be able to perform on the field if you can’t perform in the classroom,” Patterson said.

Since his transfer to campus his junior year, Patterson has made the team feel like family. He advises to anyone in pursuit of the life of a high school athlete that, “balancing sports and school can be overwhelming at times but you have people around you who can help so you don’t have to go at it alone.”

Receiving multiple offers, the player is undoubtedly talented on the field. Even though he has accumulated a frenzy of collegiate attention, Patterson has knowledge now that may have helped him rise above from where he is today: “I wish I would have come in as a freshman having that mindset of working every day to get to a goal.” He explains that one essential way to achieve a goal is to “let people in on your goals like your family and friends so they can push you every day.”

This year’s valedictorian Grant Williams is a future Harvard attendee who has excelled above the rest. He plans to major in applied math and economics and is arguably the most driven senior on campus. His academic credentials are countless and one could conclude that the pressure of success takes a strong mindset.

For anyone who strives to be like him, Williams advises, “my first piece of advice is to not put so much stress on yourself about having a certain class rank,” Williams said.

“When it comes to standardized testing and stuff don’t put so much pressure on yourself to achieve a really high score because it’s more important that you are exploring what you are passionate about in your extracurricular.”

Surprisingly enough, Williams had a completely different idea of what he wanted to pursue in the future. He explored different classes and found what he referred to as his “niche.”

He also advised, “don’t be too invested in getting into one particular school, it’s just a way to waste high school,” Williams continued, “if you want to enjoy your life, find friends and people that you like being around and that is what’s more important than anything.”

His last piece of advice was to “make sure that you are giving yourself time to enjoy high school and not stressing yourself out because there are no guarantees.”

In the fine arts department veteran theatre student Ryann Neubauer is no exception to the nerve-racking experience of being new to the department. The theatre department is a seven-time consecutive winning program. That alone sounds intimidating enough to make kids want to drop out. On top of being a prestigious team of actors and actresses, the natural onset anxieties of meeting new people can be overwhelming, Neubauer recalled.

From her time on stage, off stage, and late nights in the rehearsal room Neubauer has one resounding piece of advice for any newcomer: “Don’t feel like you are not talented enough.”

Lastly, a note from your senior newspaper editors: Don’t be so negative about everything and embrace every moment- every opportunity- because you can’t get them back.

We hope that each graduate is able to accomplish what they have set out to do after high school and that the years as a Puma have made life-long memories.

Congratulations class of 2019.