My letter to my old high school.. Miss it every day and very thankful I had such an amazing place to call home for three years 🙂 this is what inspired me to blog!

Dear HeLa,

I tried giving a speech in leadership today on how quickly it all flies by, but it was followed by tears and wishing I had the time left that you all do. Here is my final advice as I sit and reflect on my past three years.

You all have shaped us into who we are. You have had many tears, breakdowns and laughs that morphed us into the family that we are. HeLa was a struggle, let’s be honest. It was really hard. Us sophomores had experienced a year of an open-campus high school with freedom then decided that HeLa was the next step in our lives. We didn’t agree with the rules and some of us probably never will. All of these struggles made us close, along with the achievements. That’s what makes our school so special. This small school made us all very close.

As I sit and write this, I hope you take this into consideration: It goes by way quicker than you think. I know everyone says that, and I know everyone says the three words I said before this, but I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t the honest truth. Enjoy your assemblies, enjoy the stairs and enjoy your friends & teachers. ENJOY ALL SENIOR ACTIVITIES. Do things you’ve never done before. One day, you’ll be 17 or 18 years old and having to say goodbyes that you don’t want to say. You’ll become friends with people your senior year that you should’ve been friends with years ago. You’ll lose friends you never thought you would lose. You will struggle. You will succeed. But always remember when you don’t feel like you can accomplish it, know your HeLa family knows you can do it.

Teachers, thank you. I know you get many eye rolls and not many thank yous, but thank you. All of you are very kind, genuine and talented people that help make our school great. I hope you continue to be the best for your students. Most, if not all of our students truly enjoy your presence. If I had to ask you all for one last favor, I ask you to please be more involved with social activities. Yes, a lot of you are, but I would love to see you all dress up for spirit days and see you more energized about school events. I wanted to thank you again for making our school a place I got to call home.

Juniors, it is your turn to be the big kids. It is your turn to be the role models. It is your turn to say “Senior Power.” Please know that we seniors are proud of you. Don’t drive the staff too crazy. They don’t deserve all of the nonsense. Understand that this summer and the 180 days to follow will go by unbelievably fast. ENJOY IT. Enjoy homecoming, enjoy prom, enjoy putting on your cap and gown for the first time. Seriously, these next 180 days will be the worst and best days of your life. Applying for college is stressful. But know each of you are smart enough to get into somewhere. You’ll all go SO far. It makes me so proud to have gotten to know you all.

As Nathan Scott from One Tree Hill once said, “One day you’re 17 and planning for someday. And then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And someday was yesterday. And this is today.” Your experience in high school will fly by so please enjoy every single piece of it while you have the chance. It will not last forever. After spring break, it’ll go by SO fast, it feels like all you did was blink.

Henrietta Lacks’ story is why we ended up together at a small high school in Vancouver, WA. She was an African-American woman who had her cells taken without consent by her doctor. While her cells continued to be immortal, her story and strength continued to be immortal as well. My hopes stay strong for HeLa and I hope our legacy is immortal. Thank you all for truly the best three years of my life. I look forward to seeing all the history each of you make. Once a Phoenix, always a phoenix.

Much love,
Abbie Troffer
2016 Alumni