Yikes! The final sunset of summer for Wilton students is quickly approaching. My thoughts are naturally drawn to the impending First Day of School. Thinking back to my first days at WHS, I remember the seniors as seemingly untouchable, having-the-time-of-their-lives, godlike, tall people. They inhabited the entire second-floor hallway with their greatness, and as long as Tim the Hall Monitor was, well, anywhere but there, the seniors were, in fact, having the time of their lives.
Class of 2016, I’d like to be the first one to put it in writing... It’s our turn! To all my classmates, my 2016 family, K-11 has been great, but “12” will be the year we leave our marks on Wilton High School. We are those untouchable, having-the-time-of-our-lives, godlike, tall (well, some of us) people who will walk under the infamous WHS bridge, give a wink and a wave to Kim in the security booth, and enter into our last first day of school in Wilton. Myth-Buster to all incoming freshmen: We seniors are not as scary as you may think we are and we would be more than happy to show you the right way to class if you get lost!
Most of my classmates don’t know this and might even think it to be odd, but I love the first day of school. I hardly sleep the night before in sheer anticipation of it all. My meticulously planned out, but seemingly effortless outfit hangs neatly from my closet door. My crisp arsenal of soon-to-be-not-so-empty notebooks, unopened mechanical pencils and a rainbow array of gel pens has been lined up on the counter for at least a week. One of my favorite family traditions has been the first day of school photo-op on my block. I have a collection of these photos, some cute, some cringe-worthy. In recent years, this tradition has grown to include other neighbors on our cul-de-sac (shout-out to Sammy and Norah, my favorite picture-taking buddies who are going into second grade and kindergarten, and Kyle, their little brother, who by my count will be part of the Class of 2032!). I guess what I love most about the first day of school is that it is a new beginning and no matter how much I’d love an endless summer, I also love the idea of a rejuvenating, fresh start.
This fresh start is different, however, because for the Class of 2016, the first day of school marks the beginning of our last year as Wiltonian students. There is a charm about Wilton that a lot of us forget to appreciate sometimes. You can tell me 100 times that Ridgefield has a better downtown and that Westport has the beach, but there is something comforting and uniquely alluring about life in Wilton. In this final year, it is more important than ever to be appreciative and gracious. I mean this in the least didactic way possible, as I need the reminder myself sometimes. This last week has brought to mind many memories of some amazing teachers, mentors, and directors who have truly shaped me as a person and as a lifelong learner. It is to these adults whom I owe the utmost appreciation. Thank you so much.
Here is my official challenge to all Wilton students, and especially my fellow Class of 2016ers: Take a chance. Try something new. I know many Wilton students are so generous with their time and talents. We’re all doing a thousand different things aside from schoolwork, whether it is creating a team for SafeRides, participating in Warrior athletics, rehearsing for WHS theater productions, or volunteering in the community. I say, 2016 is the class to leave no stone unturned. Let’s try to make an even bigger positive impact in our own community this year. Let’s make it a B16GIE!




Grace Kelleher is a senior at Wilton High School. She shares this column with four classmates.