By Samantha Gougher
There is quite a bit I could write about my past four years at Council Rock High School North. During my time here, I’ve published several Indianite pieces satirizing, criticizing, and even blaming this place for the problems I’ve faced. I’ve bemoaned the dress code, suggested that North ought to better respect students’ days off for mental and physical health, and poked fun at the cages recently installed on the stairwells.
I even joined with three other students to publish an open letter to the superintendent himself in reference to an incidence of student intolerance this year. From my snarky comments in real life to my short-lived deadpan Indian-NOT column in the paper, I certainly lead an audience to assume that, come graduation, I’ll be the first one to burst out of this school’s front doors.
Well, in the past year, I’ve actually cultivated a strange fondness for Council Rock North. I suppose that it’s just something that happens during senior year, an anticipatory sense of pre-nostalgia that motivates a student to pay a different sort of attention to her surroundings. For my first three years at North, I had viewed this place as a mental and physical prison—yes, it’s hyperbolic, but it’s always been difficult for me to just be in one place. And although many of those feelings remain on the back-burner of my brain, they are now joined by an odd appreciation for the walls that had seemingly trapped me inside.
Council Rock North, by itself, is not the most architecturally astounding building out there. We’ve got a pool, which beats South, but we’re also older, the original Council Rock High School. Our walls are white and our floors are tiled. There are windows in maybe 10 percent of our classrooms. There’s a framed poster of the periodic table in the third floor East hallway because apparently we don’t have enough already (that’s sarcasm—I’m pretty sure one in each science classroom is enough). The style and influence of the honeycomb windows remain a mystery to me, and probably always will.
What makes North special, what I know I will miss, is not even North itself—it’s the people working and living inside of it.
North is an exceptional school, and not for the reasons one would expect. Certainly, we reside in a privileged area, we have many abundant resources, and we rank high on some Newsweek list that I keep seeing on the CR website. But what I care about, what really matters to me as a graduating senior, is the school community that those resources and privileges have allowed us to create.
The bond between a North student and another North student, or a student and a teacher, is something that I will never be able to experience again. We all experience degrees of unspoken mutual struggle, benefit, or amusement inside our little bubble, to the extent of developing our own vernacular, expectations, and even memes.
To North kids, it’s totally normal to refer to the time with only the minutes and not the hour, because it only really matters when the bell is going to ring. To North kids, the morning song is either a hit or a miss, but always a topic of conversation. To North kids, certain teachers that we’ve all had are hilarious for one reason or another, and to teachers, there are certain class clowns that we all reluctantly enjoy.
These moments of community are what I’ll miss most about North. Of course my college will probably work the same way, and then my job, and my family, but nothing will ever mimic the exact strange world that I’ve lived in for the past four years.
Whether you’re a part of the music program, the athletic sector, the honors societies, or whatever other activities you stay past 3:00 to enjoy, you know dozens of inside jokes that will last years in your camera roll and head. But eventually, this stuff will go away, and that’s kind of sad. Back up your photos and hold onto your weird drawings and lame poetry, guys. Someday you’ll be happy to have them.
And lastly, despite all its shortcomings, don’t forget that North can have its moments of beauty—little snapshots of wonder, or amusement, or mutual understanding, ingrained inside your brain because they managed to break through the monotony somehow. The four seasons’ shining through the honeycomb windows at 7 AM; your friends’ doing dumb things in the hallways during after school activities; the journey of finding yourself, your passions, and your place within this school community. Those are the things you’ll want to remember.
Included with this article are several images I have captured throughout my past four years at North—and for that strange, wonderful reason, they have made this place beautiful to me. I encourage you to find those moments for yourself and keep them in your pocket as you journey out into the world.
It’s been an emotional, mental, and at times even physical roller coaster, North (you know what, maybe it’s for the best that we put cages on the stairs).
Thanks for being beautiful in your own strange little ways.