Friday , 25 May 2018

Teen Talk: Saving the Best (Homecoming) For Last

“Make the best of these four years, Chrissie. These are memories you’re making, and I promise you, you will remember them for the rest of your life. Make them worth it.”

My grandmother told me that repeatedly before I started my freshman year of high school and I never really paid much attention to these wise words until now, my senior year.

Senior year of high school marks the beginning of the end of your actual childhood. It also involves many of your lasts, such as your last year of high school, last year living at home, last year of 7-hour-a-day classes, last year of school dances. For some it is the last year of participating in extracurricular activities, and it is also the last time to experience a high school homecoming game.

McKinney High’s homecoming was last week. My last one. And one I’ll remember.

A popular tradition at the MHS homecoming game is to have little girls from the ages of 2 to 12 cheer on the sidelines for the first half of the game with the cheerleaders.

The girls come to a clinic about a week or two before the game and are given a T-shirt and taught cheers to perform during the parade, the community pep rally and the football game. As cheerleaders, we love having the little girls cheer with us. It’s also one of the two clinics that the cheerleaders do as a fundraiser to help raise money to fund the program and pay for scholarships.

Apart from the usual homecoming traditions, it is always a thrill to see many of the returning alumni. Former students that were seniors when I was a freshman were at the game and it was so exciting to see what they had done with their life and how they were doing now — either at college or at work. Whenever they come back they always ask “How is your senior year? Do you love it? Isn’t it awesome being at the top of the food chain now?”

You never really understand why they ask that until you are put in those shoes.

I had the honor of being nominated for the 2011 MHS Homecoming Court. I was overjoyed when I received the packet telling me that I was one of five nominees for the senior class sweetheart. I rode in the homecoming float in the parade through downtown McKinney, attended rehearsal before the game and was acknowledged during the pre-game ceremony.

Before we walked out, I looked around at all of the nominees and realized that this was one of the last times we were going to be around each other like this. Many of the nominees are my best friends and people who I had gone to school with my whole life. So, it kind of hit me that this year might be the last time I ever see some of these people. I really can’t imagine my life with these people further than just a text away.

Nerves built as we were called by category, and my friends all won their categories: Rachel Johnson and Phillip Slay were Prince and Princess of Fine Arts; Jacob Judd and Meghan Shea were Prince and Princess of athletics; and before I knew it I was on the field and Keeton Ballantyne and I were called for the Beau and Sweetheart winners.

I have never been nominated, much less won anything in my life, so when my name was called I was ecstatic and in shock. I immediately covered my mouth in shock and leaped with joy over to the front of the field to receive my sash and bouquet of flowers. (However fast you can go with high heels sinking into the turf). This is a moment that I cherish forever because I felt so honored to be chosen to represent the class of 2012 in such a prestigious way.

As for the King and Queen, they have their own special story. Nicole Gostic, who I have been friends with since kindergarten, and her boyfriend Garrett Garner were both nominated for homecoming king and queen. They have been dating for nearly three years and have always been admired because they are both so genuine and caring, so for them to win King and Queen was such a fairytale dream that when their names were
announced the fans went wild. As a cheerleader, I don’t think I have ever heard the stands make so much noise, with cheers roaring and echoing from field goal to field goal. Once they were crowned, the kiss was just the cherry on top of a perfect moment. Do you think this senior couple will forget this moment?

Never, and that’s just what high school is all about.

This is the last year that many football players will ever pick up a football, cheerleaders will cheer for their boys on the sidelines, Marquettes will perform a halftime dance, and the final time the band and color guard will participate in the half time performance. The last homecoming game was both and excitement and a letdown because we all knew this was the last time we would come to the MHS field as students for the homecoming game.

High school is all about having fun, getting ready for college, and finding out who you really are. The choices that you make in high school will follow you throughout college and your career, the friends you make will establish long lasting relationships, and the memories you make will last you a lifetime.

Teen Talk columnist Christine Baker is a senior at McKinney High School. Watch for her column on Fridays.

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