Verso L'Alto - An Open Letter to Seniors

by SYDNEY CLIFFORD


To my fellow WHS seniors,


We’ve reached the threshold of the high school experience, senior year. Throughout our time at Westfield, it may seem like we’ve seen it all. We’ve cheered on our Rocks in Lucas Oil at the State Championship football game. We’ve raised the record-breaking fundraising totals at the inaugural Dance Marathon. We’ve collected hundreds of shoes to help improve other people’s lives. We’ve groaned about parking and construction. We’ve stood on the auditorium stage, displaying our school’s incredible talent.


We’ve lost four students, two from our own grade.


We’ve been through some of the highest highs and the lowest lows together as a class. One of the greatest things we have experienced through it all has been growth. With Westfield’s exponential growth, we have dealt with the area becoming richer, bigger and more crowded. We’ve outgrown commencement at Riverview Health Stadium and are now graduating at Grand Park. Even though our existence at Westfield seems to have been only change and growth, that change and growth have shaped us into the people we are now. We’ve grown as people--losing friends and making new ones. We’ve started to prioritize what and who we want in our lives. We’ve grown to make an impact on this school, leading clubs and organizations to excellence. We’ve grown to support our classmates, especially during this college application season.


While it may be difficult to reflect on our time in this building, the idea of leaving can either excite or daunt. Beyond these classrooms and halls, there’s a whole world ahead of us. There is going to be a complete change in our environment in the coming months, no matter if it is in a university setting, in the military or in the workforce. We’re eight months away from arguably the biggest change in our lives. We’re nearing the top, or in Italian, verso l’alto.


Let me digress for a moment. Prior to coming to Westfield, I went to St. Maria Goretti, a local Catholic K-8 school. Throughout my time in this school that’s smaller than my graduating class, we had lots of emphasis on religion and saints. Whether you are the strongest believer out there or don’t believe in a god at all, there is still much to learn from other people’s beliefs. In my case, I looked at the example of Blessed Pier Giorgio. He was a young man in Italy who loved to rock climb and help the sick. Unfortunately, his service led to his untimely death at age 24 due to contracting an illness.


Hang with me here for a moment. This comes back to the Class of 2020.


After his death, someone found a photo taken by a fellow rock climber of Giorgio sitting on a boulder he had just climbed. Written in the darker rock were the words “Verso l’alto,” meaning “towards the top.” This idea represented the pinnacle of Giorgio’s mission in life -- nearing the top. For Giorgio, this top was service for others.


For the senior class of 2020, we are nearing the top. Our time at Westfield High School is coming to a close in 5 months. What will our top be? How will we be remembered?


We can all leave an impact, at Westfield and beyond. Sure, our class can be remembered through all of our accomplishments, but how do you want to be remembered? How did you treat others? How did you approach your education here? How did you give back?


There are still five more months left. I want to challenge our class to reflect: reflect on what we have done, what we are doing now and what we want to do. What do you want your top to be? Verso l’alto, rocks.

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