Submitted by Daniel Palmer ’23
About twenty minutes after I woke up to start the day I realized the long-awaited time had come — my very first day of high school. I rushed down the steps, had breakfast, which was two eggs, four pieces of bacon and two pieces of toast. I put on my backpack and thought to myself that very moment was going to be one of the most important parts of my life. I waved my mother goodbye as my father and I hopped into the car.
The first couple of minutes went by as I silently zoned out in imagination of about everything that could go wrong in a million different ways. Finally my dad broke the ice and asked me, “Are you excited?” For a little while I was discombobulated from this and said, “I’m excited and nervous.” He kindly told me that everything would be fine and that there was nothing to be nervous about. When I first heard that I was confused as I looked out the car window at trees zooming by me. I thought that’s just something all parents had to say to their kids.
I knew that there was plenty to be nervous about. What if I didn’t like my teachers? What if I got horrible grades? What if I got transferred to a lesser high school? What if I didn’t make any friends? There were so many “what ifs” but out of all of them “what if I didn’t make any friends” was the one I was petrified of. My dad always told me that he made plenty of friends at the high school he went to. I always thought that I would be the one kid who would never come out of his shell just to say hello.
We finally arrived and it was time for me to get out there. As I opened the door to the car the sun beamed in my face, I heard the busyness of the cars on the street, I saw groups of freshmen saying hello to one another.
Mr. Bonham, one of the teachers came up to me and said, “Hey, Danny, what’s up?” Then before I could respond he immediately pointed out that I did not have a tie on. “Didn’t middle school teach you anything?” I didn’t really know what to say so all I said was “hello?” Some of the leaves were beginning to fall from their trees and were rustling underneath my feet. Mr. Bonham took me over to one of the seniors to take me to where I needed to be and said, “Enjoy your day!”
As we were walking under the powerful and meaningful MSJ Tower and watching the birds fly by the senior asked me, “What is your name?” I responded by saying my name was Danny and he said, “Oh, cool, my name is Danny as well.” As we passed by the small tunnel leading to the Smith Center I thought to myself that MSJ was almost like a college. I thought at the time that the campus was huge.
We walked into an end of a hallway and the first thing I saw was a big bell with an engraving on its side. We walked past what seemed to be a main office area and to a long narrow hallway with lockers on our left and a few bathrooms and closets on our right. We turned to the nearest closet and I got to choose which tie I would wear. Danny the senior asked, “Do you have your schedule with you?” and I said, “I completely forgot about it.”
He brought me to the main office area where there was a line of other forgetful freshmen. As we waited I turned to my left and saw a painting of a man in a suit and tie. On my right was a longer hallway with a row of desks with people sitting working on a computer with a little sign saying the person’s name. We finally got my schedule after being in the line for a minute.
We headed down the hallway past colorful classrooms full of quiet nervous freshmen and excited seniors. When we got to my home room numbered 206 I sat down and the homeroom teacher looked up at me and said, “Welcome to MSJ!”