To the Class of 2023


Illustration courtesy of Sienna Heasley

A final reminder for seniors preparing to enter college or the workforce: embrace the change and don’t lost sight of the important people and values in your life.

720 days. 144 weeks. 16 nine-week quarters. 4 years. Our high school careers, reduced to a handful of statistics. 

My first instinct in writing this letter, to address you, my peers and the Class of 2023, was to compose a summary, a highlight reel of our collective journey from freshman to senior year. But that could never do justice to the narratives we’ve each been working on that have carried us to where we are now, looking out at the no-longer distant horizon toward our futures.

When we passed through the front entrance doors on the first day of ninth grade, most of us were too preoccupied with navigating the high school to acknowledge the significance of that moment. Now, almost four years later, we stand poised to emerge from those doors a final time, proverbial pens in hand as we conclude the final chapter in the collective work of our childhoods.

After twelve years, our suffering as students plagued by alarm clocks that blare far too early in the morning and countless exams that surely must be a form of torture has come to end. We’re past the climax of a chapter we’ve been diligently writing for years. Now what?

For many of us, the nerves that filled us as panicked freshman have returned, but this time our anxieties are a little more serious than questionable navigational skills. In light of that, I don’t think I’m alone in my apprehensions about letting the ink dry on the pages of high school. 

The Class of 2023 is unique in that we endured the entirety of the Covid pandemic as high schoolers. While I hesitate to recognize at it as some sort of class-defining moment, I’d be remiss not to acknowledge its impact. Some may think that we missed out on a normal high school experience, but for better or worse, we never knew any different. 

Yes, the shutdown in March of 2020 and the “Covid years” that followed were pretty ugly for many of us. But when I reflect on those years, I realize that Covid brought us, none of us chose to quit writing our stories. Sure, the chapters from the early days in quarantine when it seemed like the world would be shut down forever are probably not our most eloquent. But we didn’t edit them out of the final copy. They remain alongside the rest of our stories, an unflinching testament to our resolve and ability to face life’s “big” problems and come out on the other side, perhaps not unscathed, but certainly stronger and more equipped to face the next challenge.  

Reflecting on Covid and what its consequences put us through, on top of the requisite woes of adolescence and teenage angst, encourages me. At the very least, it has helped me start to accept that while I may be closing the back cover on this chapter of my life, there is a new volume on the table just waiting for me to crack it open. And I hope that each of you will come to this conclusion as well and face this unopened future edition, its blank pages ready to be filled with new stories, hands ink-stained but itching to start writing. 

My fellow classmates, I ask the writing-averse among you to forgive me for equating high school to some great narrative process, but I cannot apologize; I’m the Editor-in-Chief of the school paper after all. And for what it’s worth, I find great beauty in viewing life as the creation of a personal canon. 

With that in mind, I present to you the “The Hiller’s” 2023 Senior Issue. It has been simultaneously published digitally and in print for the first time since 2016. “The Hiller” staff is overjoyed to share this edition with you, and we are immensely proud of its contents. Join us in celebrating the Class of 2023, our accolades, achievements and aspirations for the future.