Every day I have spent in Union High School has been slightly different than the day before, because of this I managed to learn something new every day while changing and developing as a person. Driving past UHS, a large brown building will be on your right, while a parking lot full of cars will pass on the left. Athletic fields are scattered throughout the small campus, however simply driving by the school only offers a minimal amount of information about the school. To gain a full understanding of the school you must walk through the halls, eat lunch in the cafeteria, spend time at sporting events, UHS is much more than a simple high school.
From second grade to eighth grade I attended Dummerston Elementary School, a small, protective school for the young residents of Dummerston. Entering UHS I was undoubtedly nervous to enter my freshman year, however I was more excited than I had ever been about school before. I knew I would receive mountains of boring homework, but I knew that many more opportunities were available at a larger school. Walking in on Freshman First Day, I entered a massive building, and began my first day at the school I would spend the next four years of my life. As a passed by one room, and then the next, all the entrances looking very similar, I realized that it was my job to define what I would learn and who I would be in each class. In middle school each room had been different. The teachers tried their best to make school interesting, however it was clear high school was not the same. In middle school my teachers would alert me if I missed an assignment, in many of my classes today a simple zero is entered into my grades, shrinking my GPA . UHS may seem like a school where each and every kid does the same thing, day after day, yet there are some students, like myself who manage to find the opportunities and ways to separate themselves from the boring daily routines UHS has to offer.
Entering UHS in the fall of 2007 as a lowly freshman I can recall passing through the emerald walls of the science hallway, searching for the diversity room, completely unaware that I was on the opposite side of the school as the classroom I was searching for. The bell rang for the second time, the halls began to empty and finally I was the only student left wandering, aimlessly, almost hopelessly in search of my Diversity Education room. Finally I found the room number I was looking for. I had passed it three times during my hopeless escapade. When I finally found the room after ten minutes of traveling the square second level hallway, I was undoubtedly a complete three or four minutes late. Thankfully my teacher recognized how embarrassed and apologetic I was, and managed to understand how confusing a school full of one thousand students can be after spending the last seven years in a school with only twelve rooms.
One way I was able to separate myself from the daily boring routines of UHS was to participate in sports. I have worn the purple and white three seasons a year, for four years. I have played soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and lacrosse in the spring since I was a freshman. Similarly to school, every practice and every game is mushed together as one, yet there are certain moments that stand out. The first one of these moments occurred in my sophomore year, I was on the varsity soccer team and we were playing our arch-rival Mount Anthony Union High School. The score was tied one to one at the end of regulation, and there was still no score at the end of the first overtime. Six minutes into the first overtime a moment occurred which I will never forget. Zak passed a beautiful bouncing ball through the string of defenders feet, across the white penalty stripe and just in front of me. Every ounce of my remaining strength was used as I sprinted onto the ball. Finally I reach the ball, my left foot settled the ball and tapped it towards the right side of my body. As I looked up I saw the goalie take a step towards his left, leaving the left post unguarded. My feet brushed the ground once more before I unleashed a laser aimed towards the bottom left corner of the goal. The ball barely spun as it screamed past the goalies helpless, outstretched hands. The white and black ball ricocheted off the past and bounced into the net, GOAL! As I pivoted towards the bench I saw my entire team jump up and come sprinting towards me to celebrate.
A similar set of actions occurred this spring while playing lacrosse, with nine seconds in the game Sam chased down a ground ball, scooped through the green grass and flicked a pass into my stick. Knowing there was no time to spare I took two steps then left through the air, perfectly horizontal, finally, at the last moment my stick swept through the night air and rocketed the ball into the upper right corner. The buzzer sounded as I hit the ground, lieing there I thought back to my goal in soccer. Moments of pure bliss, nothing on earth could ruin this moment. Only a minute later I scored the game winning, golden goal to help my team beat Burr and Burton for the first time in school history. These are moments I will always remember, awards and other accolades will always be easy to look at but those awards are truly used to remind me of moments like these that are far more valuable.
Unfortunately, the moments I remember can’t all be positive. The overtime loss to Rutland during my junior year of soccer will make my blood boil for many years to come. The loss that sticks to me most vividly occurred against Essex in the final four of the Vermont basketball state tournament. After a successful season we were blown out, every player felt nearly helpless against the eventual state champions overwhelming size, skill, and power. After being taken out to let the bench warmers finish the game I looked down the bench to see each and every senior crying, some sobbing. All either holding their face in their hands or holding their jersey over their head to hide their watery eyes. Finally Coach Rivers realized the game and season were over. He began walking down the bench to say some of his final words to the graduating seniors. I can recall the quiet, shaky words being a mix of, “I’m sorry it had to end this way, but you represented your school well.” Or he would simply dejectedly whisper, “I am proud of you and all of your accomplishments.”
Each word I overheard made my heart sink lower and lower, only allowing more room for an aching feeling to grow in my throat. Although this loss caused tears and dejection it will only serve as fuel for a more successful season this winter.
Similar moments happened throughout my sophomore and junior years as well; like the sports events, some were good and some were bad. During my sophomore year I can still picture the horrified faces of my classmates as they saw their grades from the second test of English two, everyone looking around to see if their neighbor had failed as miserably as they did. I was laughing as I saw everyone’s misery, and then finally I saw my score, a simple fifty circled in red ink. Now it was my turn to look around to see who had done worse. I had failed a test for the first time in my life, not only was I embarrassed but it was a feeling I couldn’t stand. This not only motivated me to work harder, that red fifty will be an image imprinted into my brain forever.
Leading the class of 2010 at their graduation as class marshal I realized I was in the middle of a bittersweet memory. I was seeing, even helping my friends and teammates graduate first hand, however it was the last time I was a part of UHS with them. Dressed to the nines, in an all white tux, I would have thought I would remember the excruciating heat; instead I remember the reactions after each person received their diploma. Walking away with a confident stroll, some gave a quick fist pump, others went and shook a favorite teachers hand, othesr simply jumped for joy while tears began to stream down their face. As I watched I could only think that in exactly a year it would be me who was receiving my diploma, my last act as a UHS student.
In the last four years of my life I have spent the majority of my days in school, at UHS. I chose to make these days meaningful, I feel that I have succeeded and made UHS a place I will never want to forget. Now, in my senior year I have over a hundred more days to make a few more life long memories. In the classroom or on the field, I have memories to make while enjoying the relaxing days of my senior campaign. As a senior I am beginning to realize how funny it will feel to know that for many things I do this year, it will be the last time I do that while I am still a student of UHS. Win or lose my last soccer, basketball or lacrosse game, I will never play another one in the Colonels purple and white uniform. UHS is a place which has more meaning to me than I would have realized, and a place I will never forget.