Connection in separation

The sound system squeaked, piercing each ear in Francis Howell North’s auditorium. On stage, senior girls embraced, some wiping tears on waiting shoulders. A few of the guys hugged too, albeit in a more manly way. Two prominent seniors from the night’s choir concert navigated through the sea of singers and handed their teacher a bouquet of flowers. Microphones in hand, squinting in the light, they began their farewell speeches.

I sat in the dark, slouched in the back row, and all I could think about was June 1st.

The two girls shared memories. Each garnered a laugh, a cheer, or a collective, “aaaaaw,” from the members of the choir behind them. The speeches were heartfelt and drawn out, in an attempt to do every day of their four years together justice.

In the audience, I sat without a clue of what they were talking about. None of us knew. Their connection, though, was palpable. You could feel it; these kids had been through something. They had shared four years of togetherness, and this concert marked their official parting of ways. To borrow from a past blog, they were “connected in the fact that they’ll soon separate.”

Seniors: On June 1st, we’ll sit together in the center of the Family Arena. We will all don the same blue caps and gowns that will make us look like the Smurf Village Choir. Speechmakers Sean Gundersen, Jeremy Karp, and Andrew Henke will stand atop the stage, much like those choir girls, and share memories. Our memories. Memories that only we, as the FHC class of 2013, will understand.

They might mention our selflessness when we helped the Desir family in the wake of the Haitian earthquakes. They might mention our school spirit, and how our student section was one to be reckoned with. They might mention Harold the janitor. Heck, maybe they’ll mention the time when those two kids brought health class to the staircase. The memory bank we’ve amassed over their years is infinite.

The onlookers — much like me at the choir concert — won’t have a clue what they’re talking about, what we’re laughing about. The experiences will be forever exclusive to us.

And that’s… awesome.

Our connection, however, will be felt throughout that arena. The shared camaraderie of nearly 500 Spartans will overflow from the seats and flood through the stands. Before the mortarboards even fly, they’ll know. Those kids shared something special.

To look out into the future, we’ll always remain connected. Friendships will last. The connecting link of waking up at 6:00 am to graph polynomial functions, however, will soon be snapped — and by this point, most of us are okay with that.

Spartans, power through. Do your homework, take your finals. Stick your feet in the dirt and trudge through these next couple of weeks, and we will soon arrive at that day. Speeches will be made, hugs will be hugged, and memories will be shared. In the meantime, make some more.

For one last time, see you next week, buddy.