Annie Hering: Staff Writer– Winnie the Pooh once said, “how lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Although I am ecstatic for this next part of my life to begin, I will have some difficult goodbyes first. I have met so many people during high school that made a huge impact on my life. My freshman and sophomore years, I was surrounded by a group of people that became my family during the years I was in marching band. Mr. Schuessler provided that opportunity for me. I learned so much from marching band, and I will take those lessons with me beyond high school. Schuessler taught me discipline, self-respect, how to work well with other people, how to be a small part of something much greater than myself, and how to love what I do. Due to increasing health issues and a change of heart (pun intended), I decided that my time in marching band had come to a close. Without marching band I had to find something else to do. I would have been so lost my junior and senior year if it had not been for Best Buddies. My best buddy, Zach, from my junior year became one of my greatest friends; his family became like my family. He taught me how to appreciate all the little things that make this life so great. He taught me to laugh on the bad days, appreciate my family, and enjoy every song. “Every song has a coda, a final movement. Whether it fades out or crashes away, every song ends. Is that any reason not to enjoy the music?” (One Tree Hill) After Zach moved, I felt lost again. But Mrs. May allowed me to become a peer tutor and help in the special education classroom Zach used to be in. In that classroom I am reminded daily of how blessed I am, and I always look forward to peer tutoring. During all these changes I have had a wonderful support system. My sophomore year math teacher, Mrs. Bedan, taught me how to love the life I live and how to laugh even during hard times. Although she was 163 miles away this year, my sister helped keep me grounded and showed me how to see things from a different perspective. My younger brother and best friend, Adam, has always offered me a shoulder to lean on and been someone to talk to. My best friend of 9 years, Elena Ponder, has stuck with me through all my changes. My two best friends who are now in college, Rutger and Chelsea, have always been just a phone call away. My friends have been there to laugh with me and at me, to cry with, to vent to, and to simply enjoy life with. Without these people, high school would have been unbearable. My parents, though, are my greatest support system. They have made me who I am today, and I cannot express how grateful I am for all they have done for me because when you think life can’t get worse, it does; it throws you for a loop. And when it does you need people to be there for you. My parents were always there, especially this past year. After years of constantly being sick, my health issues were finally answered. Although it was wonderful to finally have the answers, it was not so wonderful that the issue lay in my heart. My parents took me to get the best care possible even though it was far away. We made trips to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and my sister met us there. After years of constantly being sick, I had a successful surgery and am now cured of the rare heart disease, Wolff-Parkinsom-White Syndrome. Without my parents and doctors, I never would have gotten the care I needed. Without that care, I would not be able to explore the career I hope to have as a nurse in the Air Force. My parents have been supportive, but they also knew how to set me free, how to help me learn to be independent. They gave me the opportunity to travel, whether it was with or without them. They provided life-changing travel experiences for me. When you travel, you are stepping away from all your problems and realizing that the world is so much bigger than yourself. Traveling has helped me discover who I want to be and what I want to do with my life, which is to have a positive impact on the lives of others. Although I love traveling, it is not something I can do on a daily basis. However, I can write and take pictures. Mrs. Tedrow helped me explore my passion for writing in a new light: journalism. Photography and writing are the two ways I can best express myself. Tedrow helped me grow as a writer and as a person. During my senior year, Ms. Warner and Mrs. Tedrow both showed me another way to use my strengths: publications. In publications I have learned how to write for a website, yearbook, and news magazine. I have learned how to be an anchor for the CGTV announcements, and I have learned how to make videos for those announcements. I hope to be able to take a class like that in college to keep those parts of me alive. Next year I will go to Northern Kentucky University to study nursing and do Air Force ROTC at the University of Cincinnati. I want to take my compassion and share it with the world; I want to save people. If you have crossed my path during high school, thank you. Thank you for being a part of my life, even if it was just for a short while. High school flies by, so enjoy being young and having your parents to rely on. Appreciate your friends, teachers, and the life that was given to you.