The finish line is always a big deal. There are ribbons, there are medals, there are balloons, confetti, hullabaloo. If you are particularly lucky, there might be gifts. Or a sponsorship deal.

For Wilton High School seniors, the finish line comes in snippets of lasts. The last concert. The last game. The last bus ride. The last assignment. The last time you’ll ever have to use the school bathroom. And for me, the last column.

While there will be no finish line, no sponsorship and certainly no gifts, what is fitting is to close this column not with my advice to you, but your advice to me. What have my poetic musings been worth?

High school is a series of measurements. You are graded, you are assessed, and you are placed — all with minimal feedback. The value of your work is often summarized by a single letter. I have found, however, that the best learning comes not from a letter grade, but from comments.

It feels fitting, therefore to share the evaluations that I have received on this very column.  So I have reached out to many of my dedicated readers for feedback. The results were interesting to say the least. On a scale of 1 to 10, this column averaged … well, math’s not my thing. Let’s just say I did OK. I value and respect user feedback, so I have printed all these comments and stacked them neatly in a drawer where they will sit untouched for the next six years. Because, frankly, it is unlikely I will have the time to read them. Even this column was late.

What follows is the most constructive feedback I received.

“Cummins’ columns show that Wilton High School was the best of times and the worst of times.” — Charles Dickens

“I could not read it in a box. I could not read it wearing socks.” — Dr. Seuss

“Clean your room.” — Mom

“Enjoyable, but there was no math. It doesn’t add up.” — Albert Einstein

“Nobody died.” — Shakespeare

“Not as fun as Fortnite.” — My brother. And his friends. And my friends. And pretty much all of Western Civilization.

“Nice try.” — Yale University Dean of Admissions

“Did your mother write this for you?” — Sherlock Holmes

“Meh.” — Beyonce. Wait, Beyonce reads this paper?!

“You get an A+! You get an A+! Maggie, you get a C.” — Oprah

“A glorious adventure in pithy prose with a sarcastic criticism of modern teenage pathos.” — My dog

The feedback, and the experience of writing this column itself, bring to mind various valuable life lessons:

  • First: free press is the foundation of our society. If only there were free coffee to go along with it.

  • Next: procrastination can lead to missed deadlines … if only I had learned that lesson earlier.

  • Lastly: writing is as easy as falling off a log … into a pit of snakes.

For all you future Warrior Words columnists, I will leave you with this parting thought: They say a picture is worth a thousand words. My column’s only 500. Discuss.

Maggie Cummins is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with five classmates.