I graduated from MWHS back in 2011 and, at the time, I was eager for graduation. The next big adventure (college!) was waiting for me – I was so ready to move to my new city and start a new life.
Now that I’m three years removed from high school, it’s interesting to look back at the years I spent at MWHS. I didn’t always realize it at the time, but growing up in District #277 was an experience unlike any other; the activities I participated in, the people I met, and the environment of a small town school provided me with more opportunities than I could have ever imagined. When I hear my peers’ stories now about their high school experiences, I’m eternally grateful for the time I spent learning and growing in Mound, Minnesota.
At MWHS, I never felt the need to conform or change. As a smaller school, there wasn’t as much pressure to fit in or seek attention. We all knew each other to some extent, whether it was as teammates, classmates, best friends, or neighbors. While this could sometimes be a bit claustrophobic as a teenager, I realize now that our tight-knit community offered so many more advantages than I ever realized. When I got to college, I found myself immediately joining clubs in an effort to replicate that extraordinary community feeling.
Partially because of our size, MWHS also presented so many opportunities for involvement and growth. Because we were a smaller school, we didn’t have too many students for our sports teams or a waiting list for activities. We were lucky; if we wanted to try something new, we could do it. When I was listing activities on my college application and I realized just how many different activities I’d gotten involved in, it dawned on me: MWHS is a place where students can easily figure out what matters most to them. Everything that I did at MWHS (and believe me, I did a lot) taught me a little bit more about my interests and, even more, myself. I’m still constantly drawing upon those experiences today.
On graduation day, I stood in front of my 160 classmates and their families to deliver one of three commencement speeches. I had watched two of my close friends deliver the first two, and I remembering being so proud of the life that we had all built at this small town school. Looking down on faces that I recognized, whether it was from a play in eighth grade, trying out for wind ensemble together as freshmen, dissecting a frog as sophomores, tackling AP classes as juniors, or celebrating our last homecoming as seniors, I realized something: the students at Mound Westonka High School are more lucky than we’ll ever know.
MWHS was an amazing place to spend my formative high school years, and I wouldn’t change that time for the world.
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