Warrior Words: How can you sum up 13 years?

I write this with a heavy heart — this is last article I will write this year and it only feels appropriate to write a farewell to Wilton and about the closing of my final year as a Wilton student. How do you sum up something with such magnitude in such few words? It seems impossible to capture.
I believe that a person’s personality is a culmination of every experience they’ve had, every feeling they’ve felt, every relationship they’ve been a part of, every success they’ve celebrated, every failure they’ve endured. All these components together are responsible for the way someone acts and reacts, their joys and their sorrows, their goals and their aspirations, their stressors and their relaxers, and well — you get the gist. I honestly find it beautiful the way that something as unpredictable as life itself can mold someone into who they are.
For seniors, Wilton Public Schools and life have provided nearly every experience, feeling, relationship, etc., for the last 13 years. With this notion, at this moment, each senior is the product of the culmination of everything that has happened in their Wilton life. The fact that our time in a place that has thrown us every obstacle and opportunity is ending is scary, exciting, and overwhelming to think about. Although it can be controversial whether growing up in Wilton has been a blessing or a curse, there is no denying that it has shaped us into the young adults that we are, on the cusp of a journey that has finally come into view on our horizon lines. Our entire lives have always been within Wilton’s boundaries, and now, we are moving on to have them continue to be ever-changing with every new situation that our collegiate life brings.
The experiences that seniors have had in Wilton that have shaped who they are, are not limited to the big events. Although it’s true that riding the yellow school bus for the first time to Miller-Driscoll, receiving the letter with what house you were in for Cider Mill, riding the roller coaster that is middle school up in Middlebrook, and finally reaching the high school where you had a taste of mature freedom, have shaped us undoubtedly, I feel as though our true character is based on the product of all the little moments. Here is where the true beauty and magnitude of our time in Wilton can begin to be comprehended.
These moments are anything and everything. They are the times you pretended to be Harry Potter characters with your friends in homeroom in sixth grade, it’s sharing the stage for countless productions with the same person, only to star opposite them in the senior show. They are the band you tried to form in second grade (to no avail), they are each time you willed yourself out of bed when you thought you couldn’t do another day. They are playing the recorder in fourth grade, they are winning tug-of-war at field day, they are buying your first prom dress or renting your first tux, they are driving yourself to Orem’s for the first time. They are the time you slipped and fell in mud while chasing a boy in kindergarten, they are your first kiss, and every ice cream social. They are getting your picture in the newspaper, they are training for sports tryouts, they are taking your senior picture, and repping your college sweatshirt to school — these are the moments that really matter.
It is surreal to be able to reflect back on my time in Wilton — something I felt was never going to end. With every up and down the last 13 years has thrown me, I am grateful to have experienced everything in this town, and with the people that I did. This is it — the final act. Armed with what Wilton has given me, I cannot wait to see what comes next.

Jackie Cooke is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.