Our senior class is unique because, in a way, we’ve been seniors for four years. When Del Norte started off with a student body of 500 freshmen and 200 sophomores, we immediately meshed together and acted as a collective senior class. We established the clubs, the athletic teams, and the classroom rigor. We set the precedents. The sense of ownership we developed towards Del Norte was unshakable and unmistakable, no matter how much flak we got from Poway, RB, Westview, and Mt. Carmel.
Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Our first yearbook cover was branded with a winged fish dubiously labeled a Nighthawk by the yearbook staff. At the time, this was unfathomably embarrassing. But looking back, there could have been no better symbol of the ambitious group of fourteen- and fifteenyear- olds that comprised our school in its infancy, yearning to spread their wings and fly.
Second trimester of my junior year, I began a pretty intense job search, applying to ten or fifteen restaurants around North County without success. Eventually, I got my job—but I didn’t get it through applying, I was offered the job by a family friend. I took up work at a successful sushi restaurant in La Jolla, and let me tell you, it was sweet. People always tell you life is about who you know, and I’d never appreciated the saying until I was offered my job. I have the job that I do solely because of my positive relationship with the owners. Relationships can’t be taken for granted. Work at your relationships. They will open more doors than most other things in life. Maintain them, nurture them, care for them. A personal investment in a friendship can be life changing, and it might bring opportunity that you wouldn’t believe; you can’t ever discount that fact. Don’t close a single door or opportunity for yourself in high school, and you’ll turn out fine.
Listen to good music, kids. I wish I’d known to do that as early as freshman year. What you hear on the radio is not good music, at least not most of the time. “Call Me Maybe,” “As Long As You Love Me,” “Blow My Whistle Baby”: no one will remember these songs come next year. It’s still fun to rock out to them in your car, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes down to it, you want to be that kid that knows good music. Even if that’s pretty pretentious sounding, it’s true. At least know the basics. Nothing is worse than sitting in a car with someone when they ask you to name the song playing, and you genuinely have no idea what it is or who the artist is. Then it turns out to be someone like Elton John, someone who you should know. Trust me, I’ve been there, and I will probably stay there for a while. Moral of the story – listen to good music, listen to the oldies, try to find new stuff that you really do like, because no one’s favorite artist is really Ke$ha.
There’s always been an elegant and understated duality between the freshmen and senior classes of each high school. For the freshmen, the jump from middle to high school is the biggest transition they’ve made in their lives. Oftentimes, freshmen are struggling to define themselves as individuals while trying to fit into the culture set in place for them by the seniors. Throughout it all, the freshmen are eager to look ahead at what their high school experience has in store for them.
In a setting like Del Norte, still developing its culture and traditions, the freshman class is given unparalleled opportunities. To put it another way—if Del Norte was a garden, the Class of 2013 is essentially a group of gardeners. We tilled the soil planted the seeds, watered them, and witnessed the first sprouts. Not every seed we planted saw daylight, but we were not deterred.
Despite knowing that we wouldn’t be able to stick around to see the garden in full bloom, we toiled away, establishing the programs of Del Norte and pouring our souls into perfecting them.
Now, joined by a new group of gardeners, the Class of 2016, it’s on us to teach them everything we know. That’s not to say that the freshman class has no responsibilities of its own. When our class departs, we leave behind a school that needs to be tended to with patience and love. We rely on the freshmen to make sure that our legacy lives on. In return, they get to inherit a school where opportunity is boundless and rewards are abundant.
There’s a lot for the Class of 2016 to look forward to in their four years at Del Norte. To paraphrase our wise principal while sticking with my metaphor, “Spring is coming to Del Norte—are you in?”
Although the day that I can call myself a senior isn’t very near, the anticipation began the second I walked onto the Del Norte campus. Since then, every time my mind drifts off, thoughts about the excitement of ruling the school flood my consciousness. New school spirit has come about at Del Norte—in no small part due to this year’s graduating class—but I feel that the Class of 2016 can raise the bar even higher. When the day comes to finally roll into my senior parking spot, Del Norte will have evolved into a model school. I can picture a gym full of CIF banners and not one empty seat at any sports event. Our class will be incredibly tight-knit, and everyone will be enthusiastic about finishing high school with a bang. We’ll be the first class to really have any traditions to perpetuate, and we’ll make sure to both continue those and start new ones. Finally—and perhaps most importantly—after these next four years we’ll have made such a strong impression on each other’s lives that after we graduate, we’ll remain not just friends, but family.
How do I imagine things will be like when I’m a senior? For starters, the level of spirit is going to be off the charts. This is the first year Del Norte has really had spirit—the seniors came together and formed “the Flock.” Not only has it made football games more exciting and energetic, but it has inspired the whole school to be much more spirited. We freshmen plan to keep the energy that the Flock brings alive for the next four years. We’re also going to inspire future classes to have pride in our school, and develop Del Norte’s level of spirit into force to be reckoned with. When I’m a senior I also hope we can all be a big family. Right now all of the freshmen are new to the school—we don’t know each other very well, and though we see each other in the hallways, we never say hello. By the time we’re seniors, I really hope that unfamiliarity will have disappeared. Instead of being strangers and never really connecting with one another, I hope we’ll all be able to talk like we’ve known each other all our lives.
When I entered the gates of Del Norte on the first day of school, I was shocked by how big the campus was. I saw a couple of familiar faces, but for the most part I felt like a lost little kid wandering the aisles of a Super Target, not knowing where I was supposed to go the whole entire day and searching for another freshman who could help. But then came the pep rally. I had no idea what to expect, but I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start the year. I was intrigued by all of the performances and all of the kids screaming with Del Norte pride. I knew from that very first day that my four years are going to be amazing. The football games have been awesome, and the Nighthawk pride at school is huge; everyone wears their Del Norte T-shirts and hoodies. When I’m a senior, in 4 short years, I hope the school spirit is just as prominent, if not more. I hope that every Friday, every single student has their blue and green on. And lastly, I hope that every Nighthawk is looking out for each other like we’re all one family—all part of one nest.