Ten years ago today I accomplished a pretty important milestone… I graduated high school.
Part of me feels like it was yesterday, the other part feels like that was a lifetime ago. So much has changed since then. I’ve changed. My friends have changed. The world has changed.
When I think about everything that’s happened between then and now, my head spins. I mean, just looking back at my crummy non-digital photos is proof enough of that. Check out that awesome disposable quality.
p.s. check out Baby Ben in that photo! He was THIRTEEN when I graduated high school! I was even taller than him back then – I swear he grew like 10 inches my freshmen year of college.
High school was just okay to me. My sister and I always joked that who ever said high school was the best time of their life never went to college. College was so much more fun. I think I was just lost in high school. I transferred schools my sophomore year and sort of latched to a group of friends that I really never fit in with. I was very quiet back then and not as outgoing as I am now. I didn’t break out of my shell until college, in high school I was all about blending in.
I only applied to two colleges my senior year: FSU and UCF. Not a lot of people go out of state for school in Florida because it’s so cheap to stay in state. Thanks to Bright Futures and various other scholarships, I could attend any state school in Florida for next to nothing. I received acceptance letters to both schools and ended up at FSU – my #1 choice. My twin brother was accepted into his #1 choice – UF. The FSU/UF rivalry is something that dated back to when we were kids. I was always a fan of FSU and he was always a fan of UF. We were twins divided. 🙂
We took our AP exams two or three weeks before the end of the year and ended up skating through the rest of classes until graduation (there were a lot of movies and “field trips” to the beach). Our school had a tradition where they do a big senior send off the day before. We had senior breakfast and a final assembly before the principal officially released the class of 2003 for the last time. I even remember him stating “We’ll see you in 2013, Class of 2003.” After we were released, we ran a circle around the school, banging lockers, doors, and walls along the way. A few parents came to see the send off and my mom surprised us in the hallway.
Graduation took place at the local community college’s gym. It was crowded, hot, and boring – what graduation isn’t? Since then they’ve moved graduation to the football field where there are more seats and room to breathe. The football field the Class of 2013’s ceremony will take place on in a couple of weeks didn’t even exist when I was there.
I teared up a little when I found the above photo of Amber and I. Amber lost her battle with cervical cancer last year (see more here). She looks so happy there. That’s how I’ll always remember her, happy.
After graduation my family went out for pizza, then my brother and I headed to “Project Graduation.”
Project Graduation was a huge post-graduation party the parents planned for the graduates. Their goal was to give the graduating class one last night together before sending them off in the real world. It was actually a pretty cool event filled with great raffle prizes, amazing decorations, fun games, a casino, lots of food, and friends. I’d say about 80% of the graduating class were in attendance.
I wonder if the school still does it? Back then it was a pretty big deal. Most of us had been looking forward to attending since freshmen year. My dad was on the parent committee and even helped my uncle turn the school staircase into a waterfall. My only regret is the lack of photos I have of the night. The ones I do have are pretty crummy – I’ll never take my digital camera for granted again.
One of the big discussions we had at Project Graduation was where we would all be in ten years. Did I guess I would be married, living in Tampa, about to start training for my first Ironman, working in the race industry, and writing a blog? Heck, no. I didn’t even know what an Ironman was.. or a blog for that matter. I also had no sense of timing back then. I think I said I would be married, pregnant with my second kid (ha!), and some big wig television producer. Twenty-eight sounded so old. Surely I would be a “real” adult then.
I think the older we get, the younger ages seem. Now 18 feels like a baby – a baby! – and 28 is still young. I know I feel young. I don’t feel like someone who’s old enough to have graduated from high school ten years ago (ahh.. I just sounded like my mom there!).
Our high school reunion is planned and set for June 2nd. I can’t wait. I’ve already bought my ticket and everything. There’s a Class of 03 group on Facebook and it’s fun to reconnect with so many classmates I’ve just plain forgot about. I’m not the only one who has changed – we all have. So many of them have kids or have moved so far away. We’re adults. So weird.
Okay. Most of us are still kids at heart. 😉
Happy Ten Years, Class of 2003!
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