By Bonnie Van

The Catholic Commentator

The first week of May marks the last days of school for seniors at Catholic high schools throughout the Diocese of Baton Rouge. And for many, it means looking ahead while reflecting on the past. 

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Pictured, from left, Michael Crick, Andrew Trammell and Hunter Williams talk during lunch break at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. The young men say faith and friendships are the things they’ll take with them as they head to different colleges. Photo by Bonny Van | The Catholic Commentator

 

“I feel like I learned a lot about leadership my senior year, more than I did my other years (in high school), because I’m in those roles,” said Michael Crick, student ministry leader at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge. 

“I had the same experience with leadership through basketball,” said fellow CHS senior Hunter Williams. “You basically have to be a role model for the underclassmen because they don’t know how they fit in, and you have to give them that insight.” 

For Trey Parker, a student at St. Michael the Archangel High School in Baton Rouge, senior year was an eye-opening experience to a busy schedule. 

“The second I stepped into senior year I realized like, ‘Wow, there’s a lot to do!’ There’s a lot of college things, on top of taking AP (Advanced Placement) classes, honors classes, also applying to colleges, being involved in clubs, sports, extracurricular activities, I mean, it’s taught me a lot about time management,” said Parker. 

SMHS senior Shore Fleury agreed that the last year in high school can be busy. 

“You are so involved in making it through school and making sure you’re graduating,” said Fleury. “You have to worry about applications and scholarships and financial aid to make sure you’re ready for the next step.” 

SMHS senior Sarah Bowman said taking dual enrollment college courses during her senior year has been a significant advantage to helping her get ready for the rigors of university life. And, with an afterschool job, she also had to learn how to manage her time. 

“You have to balance everything,” said Bowman. “Find out what’s more important and what can wait.” 

Now that they are older and wiser, what advice would these seniors give to their younger selves? Get involved. 

“Don’t be afraid to get involved,” said Andrew Trammell, a senior at CHS. “There’s a plethora of opportunities for you to get involved and really enjoy stuff.” 

“Try new things and branch out of your friend groups,” said Williams, who joined the French Club during his freshman and sophomore years. “When you reach out to others, you can understand how others are going through school, what their difficulties are and you can kind of relate to them.” 

“Your best memories in high school are not going to be from studying for a test or doing homework,” said Parker. “It’s going to be like going on the band trips to Disney World or going to do that piece of service that really hits your heart in a way that sticks with you for a long time.” 

These seniors also had some sage advice for incoming freshman. 

“Don’t change who you are,” said SMHS senior Hunter McCann. “Even though high school might put pressure on you, and other people might expect you to do or say certain things, be who you’ve always been.” 

“And, every grade matters,” said Parker. “So don’t slack off freshman year because those grades follow you all the way until senior year and colleges see your transcript all the way back to freshman year.” 

As they step away from the stage at graduation, these seniors say they will take two things with them: their friendships and their faith. Fleury, who played the role of Mary in “The Passion” at her school, said the experience will always remain with her. 

“It was just an honor to be asked to play that part,” said Fleury, who credited the part with deepening her faith. 

“I learned the importance of putting God first and knowing that he’s going to be there for you,” said Williams. 

“I learned that things won’t go exactly as you planned but with God’s guidance you can make it through,” said Catholic of Pointe Coupee High School senior Laci Smothers. 

As for friends they made in high school, the students say that’s for life. 

“I know even though I’m going 1,600 miles away to college that we’re still going to be friends,” said Trammell. “We’re still going to talk and every time I come back, we’re still going to meet up and relive the memories and struggles and have a couple of good laughs.”