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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Two different successes, two different seniors: Was it worth it?

In the words of senior Kevin Chiang, senioritis is like “having motivational hemophilia and a cut on your arm at the same time.”

Seniors once entered high school as innocent freshmen, became somewhat disillusioned by sophomore year, only to find themselves delusional after their 15th all-nighter in junior year. And then it was senior year, with the light at the end of the tunnel hidden after finishing a dozen or more college essays and received both acceptance and rejection letters.

Senioritis, occurring in second semester, is a short rest break after three and a half years of scrambling for success.

This story is about the time before that reward — the “scrambling” part, and the experiences of two different seniors each with two different successes.

And in the end, there will be one question: Was it worth it?


Edwin Chen learns to juggle commitments
Edwin Chen applied for and became drum major without really expecting to get it. This was while he was also soccer captain, a leader in Common Roots, captain of Ultimate Frisbee Club — the list goes on. Still, his biggest commitment in high school has been band.

Chen learned how to play the trumpet and joined band his freshman year, a decision he says was the best he ever made.

As a freshman, Chen was happy that band camp helped him make many connections before school even started.

“You’d meet about 200 people at band camp, so then walking through the hallways on the first day of school wasn’t so terrifying,” he said.

He said that sophomore year was pretty much like freshman year, except better. Junior year, however, was different. Even before the school year, he was tied up with APUSH summer homework, for which he pulled an all-nighter.

“That was a rough night,” he said. “I was just thinking that everyone tells me that junior year is bad, but before it even started, it was so bad.”

This was before band season began. His schedule then? School, band, eat, sleep, repeat.

With his academic career the typical junior deathtrap, he was hesitant to apply to be a drum major in his senior year.

“It wasn’t my plan originally,” he said. “I was head manager last year, and at the time I was like, ‘You know, I don’t think drum major is really the thing for me.’ But I auditioned anyway.”

As it turned out, the position of drum major turned out to be just “the thing” for him because he proved himself quite capable and never lost his commitment.

The primary purpose of the drum major is to conduct for the band during their practices and performances, but he learned that conducting is only a small part of the job.

Said Chen: “It’s a totally different experience from when you’re on the podium and when you’re on the field. You’re not in charge of the rehearsals; you’re more like an instrument of the rehearsals. You have to provide the type of energy the band needs in order to succeed.”

As drum major, it was not about his needs or his goals anymore, but rather the group as a whole, Chen said. Along with his three fellow drum majors, he presided over a band with more than 200 students.

“I learned that it takes a lot of patience and pride,” he said. “The drummers and I kept debating [over] the smallest things, but then eventually all those details and all that time paid off.”

Although it was was the final stretch of school, filled with the stress of college applications, Chen spent every bit of effort being a capable drum major.

“As a freshman, it felt like time was always running out when it came to balancing band with everything else,” Chen said. “However, if you truly enjoy the process, you won't find that to be a problem. Don't look back at all your memories four years later and regret it.”

So was it worth it?

“I was really honored to be drum major,” Chen said. “There were bad days when we felt the band wasn’t getting anything done, or it was rainy and everyone was complaining But then, after being able to conduct the last note the band ever played on the field, it was clear that everything was worth it.”


Christina Crolla: A tough start overcome with determination
“I think the way I did everything in high school is exactly how I should have done it.”

Those are the words of Christina Crolla, a girl who played lacrosse and field hockey all four years, a girl who claims to know over 90 percent of the school population. Clearly, Crolla placed a strong emphasis on sports and strong connections with friends.

“I worked really hard,” she said. “I didn’t always get the grades I wanted though, because I had a learning problem, so I decided to be a [well-rounded] kid instead of focusing on one thing.”

Going into freshman year with an “I don’t know what I’m in for” mentality, she was surprised by the academic rigor. But during her sophomore year, surprise turned to resolve.

“Because freshman year was kind of difficult, I realized that I needed to try to work hard and push through, because in the end it would be worth it,” she said. “Sophomore year is the biggest transition. To me, freshmen are the only underclassmen at school.”

Then came junior year. Though she said that she took an easier route than many other students in terms of classes, Crolla still remembers it as her hardest year.

Despite the large amount of school work, Crolla decided to keep a strong focus on sports and her social life, further packing her schedule.

“I was always doing something; I always had sports, or tutoring, or SAT or something like that,” she said. “But if I’m going to bed at night thinking that I did all that stuff, it makes me feel so good at the end of the day.”

Crolla says that junior year was also her best year socially. And toward the end of junior year, as a result of hanging out with senior friends, the senioritis began to set in early.

By the time senior year came around, it was becoming quite serious.

“I just felt like I’d done everything I could, and now this is my break,” she said. “I felt like I was just going to give up at that point. I felt like I was working for nothing.”

But regardless, Crolla still got her work done. She was accepted into 12 of the 13 colleges she applied to.

For Crolla, high school has been a success in many ways, athletically, socially and in some ways academically. She attributes this success to her well-rounded perspective, the view that it wouldn’t hurt to concentrate on more than one aspect of her life at a time.

“People think ‘I’m just going to focus on school’ or ‘I’m just going to get a 4.0 and see where that takes me,’ but you never know what could happen if you get a 4.0 and you’re student body president, and you’re also all these different things,” Crolla said. “I feel like I don’t regret anything I did during high school, because I tried so much stuff.”

So was it worth it?

“I had so much fun. When I first came here, it was such a transition, and it’s pretty much focused on academics here. I was so close to switching schools, but here I stand out, and it makes me kind of individual. I won’t regret anything.”

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