By Kevin Chen
As my time at Seven Hills comes to an end, I think back to my first day here as a sophomore, and I think to myself that my high school years passed by very quickly. I did not have the perfect high school experience, but the mix of obstacles and triumphs shaped me into a different person in the past three years. As I move on to college, I am not certain that I will want to relive high school, but I will forever be grateful for the opportunities and experiences that I had.
At Seven Hills, I believe that all the teachers make an effort to academically challenge students and assign a lot of homework to fortify a student’s understanding of the material. However, at the root of every teacher’s philosophy is the goal to teach students how to think critically rather than to take and ace a test. As a sophomore, I was obsessed with maintaining a high GPA and I did not study to learn about a subject but to simply achieve a good grade on a test and forget the material later. Marcus Twyford, a computer science teacher at Seven Hills, was the first teacher to remind me to stop and enjoy the learning process. He told me that learning should come first and that grades will follow. I will never forget his words, as that was when I began appreciating acquiring knowledge and seeing the connections and patterns in class material.
In a more general manner, my interactions with my classmates from both Seven Hills and Lakota West helped shape my priorities. My friend Jacky Hou, a senior at Seven Hills, reminded me of a lesson. He said, “You are not defined by other people’s words.” Across my high school years, I did not expect every single one of my classmates to have a positive opinion of me. If you ask anyone, there is probably something that can be critiqued about me. At the same time, I met classmates who have improved my high school experience with their supportiveness and kindness. However, the interesting thing about high school is that most of my current friends are people whom I never expected to interact with, while some people whom I have distanced myself from are people whom I once believed to be close friends. As a senior, I am amazed by how much my friend circle changed throughout high school. However, I am grateful for the friends who have remained and I look forward to meeting new people in college next year.