Happiness is the greatest thing a person can achieve. Happiness is everything one could ever want and yet is so difficult to find. Happiness is different for everyone, though the idea is identical. Happiness is contentment. Happiness is beauty. Happiness is love. Happiness is a smile, a hug, or a laugh. Happiness is engrossed within the welcoming walls of Mound Westonka.
As a 2012 graduate, it has been almost a year and a half since I have walked the halls of my alma mater. Oh how I miss shivering in my car on my ten-minute drive to school with my best friend sitting next to me in the passenger seat. Dani, my younger sister, would play the role of a DJ and we always ended up blasting Taylor Swift while singing at the top of our lungs by the time my car rolled into the parking lot. I have no shame.
Since the parking lot was always filled with familiar faces we would gather amidst a clan of black parkas and colorful scarves, most often discussing our homework from the night before or the recent White Hawks sports update. Once inside, my first stop was always at my locker. Since the lockers were organized by last name, the exact same people surrounded me for all five years. This came to be a home for me. After classes I would talk with my “locker buddies” about my stressful exams, my latest crush, and my excitement for whatever my weekend would entail.
One of the things I distinctly remember includes always being so hungry right before lunch. I guess I should have eaten more breakfast. Oops. My favorite lunch was either Dominoes Pizza or an Asian sesame chicken and rice meal. Although I held my academics at a high standard and cared deeply about school, lunch was by far my favorite part of the day. Lunchtime meant talking with my friends, catching up on homework, eating food, and most importantly, hanging out with my favorite teachers, Mrs. Lolich, Mrs. Simonson, and Mr. Lee. These teachers were not just my DECA advisors and business teachers; they were my friends.
DECA stole my heart. From the first competition I competed at during my freshman year, I fell in love with all the organization had to offer. I devoted my time and my passion to this club and I would never in a million years trade it for anything. It is through DECA where I learned how to write a 30-page business paper, how to speak in front of audiences of over 3,000 people, and how to communicate my thoughts in a professional manner.
I am now a student at the University of Minnesota and can honestly say that Mound Westonka not only made me a successful student, but also a better person. It is now, in college, where I realize that I can’t go back to my high school days. I can’t relive the moments that are engraved in my mind and in my heart. All I have are the timeless memories and the countless friendships that will last a lifetime. I know with full confidence that my best friends from Mound Westonka will be the girls that stand next to me when I am at the alter. These are the girls I will take trips with when I am fifty years old. These are the girls that will keep me grounded throughout my every venture.
I thank Mound Westonka from the bottom of my heart for giving me the experience of a lifetime. Before I was twelve years of age, I moved to thirteen different cities, all in the state of California; thirteen different schools, thirteen different teachers, and thirteen different groups of peers made it very difficult to feel at home. It wasn’t until my family moved to Mound, Minnesota where I found myself feeling fully content, fully loved, and fully happy. When I moved here, I had no idea I would stay long enough to partake in the ride of high school. I am so lucky that I did, and what a crazy ride it was.