Back to School Message

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Back to School Message

Lauren Stallworth, Editor

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It’s that time of year again to jump back into school. Everything starts up again; from sports to homework, getting up at 6 AM, and Friday night football games, we all have the things that we do and do not look forward to. But while many people are excited to jump into this routine, some people are not. For some students, back to school means back to stress and panic attacks, exhaustion and emotional triggers, pressure, depression, and while I’d like to think not, maybe even bullying. While we are enjoying tackling our friends with hugs in the hallway, the girl next to you may be thinking of how badly she’d love to have just one friend. While you show off your brand-new shoes and clothes, the boy from your math class is worrying if he’ll even have any food this weekend. While you’re complaining that your coach put you in too many games, the girl watching in the bleachers would give anything to have good enough health and confidence to even play for five minutes. When telling your friends about how your parents made you do chores last night, the siblings behind you haven’t seen their mom in years. While you giggle with your friends in the front of the class, the boy in the back might not be able to remember the last time he smiled, and he’s contemplating death. None of this is your fault, and it’s your right to ‘live your life’ in the open. But sometimes it’s all about perspective. What might seem harmless to you could diminish another person, set them into an emotional tailspin. The bottom line is, you don’t know what people take home at night. You might think you do, but it’s amazing what hurting people can hide. This doesn’t mean you should live your life afraid of saying something and hurting the people around you, that wouldn’t be fair to you either. It just means to be considerate.

This school year, I encourage you to push yourself to do better, to be kinder. We are the future of the world, and the examples we set today become our culture for tomorrow. So the next time you see someone alone in the hall, compliment them. If you see someone in tears, even if it’s the kid you’ve always tried to avoid, ask them if they’re okay. You never know what a sentence could do for a kid; it could even save their life. And most importantly, if you’re normally mean and hurtful, strive to change your ways. Rectify broken friendships, apologize to those you’ve hurt, long to be better. Yes, we are teenagers and we make mistakes, but that’s not a license for cruelty and ignorance. I believe in our student body, and so do our teachers. There is enough fear and hatred in this world, we don’t need anymore.

And if you are that student who is hurting, you are not alone. You are loved, and there are students and staff here who want to be there for you; don’t push them away. Every day is a new day, and every new day could be your day. Don’t sell yourself short, don’t let your negative thoughts and emotions get the best of you; nothing bad can last for forever.

To the teachers at our school, this goes for you too. You make a difference in our lives every day, and I promise it doesn’t go unnoticed. So when the day is done and you’re ready to pull your hair out, thank you for not quitting. Thank you for sacrificing your time for us. Thank you for caring. And by the same token, don’t be afraid to connect with a student, it means more than you will ever understand. And who knows, that could be the very thing they need to be the best version of themselves.

The beginning of the year is a great time to be who you want to be, and it’s when you start to set your mindset. So this year, be kind, be responsible, shoot for the stars, be safe, use different perspectives, shut down your insecurities, take an interest in the lonely, love one another, be slow to anger, be happy, get involved, be you. And most importantly, remember that no one is ever alone. No matter what’s happening, good or bad, someone’s got your back. And remember that sometimes, you need to be that person too.

If you are struggling, here are some helpful resources:
Counselors:
9th grade: Ms. Balfour
10th grade: Ms. Vaccaro
11th grade: Ms. Fewox
12th grade: Ms. Fewox

Hotlines:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Alliance on Mental Illness: 1-800-950-6264
National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-4673
The Trevor Project – Crisis & Suicide Prevention Lifeline for LGBTQ Youth: 1-866-488-7386
Crime Stoppers: Can be contacted through FortifyFL on your MyPascoConnect Dashboard.