Three seniors from Eric Hamber Secondary describe what it's like entering their long-awaitedlast year of high school.
By: Haley Sengsavanh, Nina Rogers and Sarah Azad Manjiri
On September 3, 2019 the doors of Vancouver schools opened to the nervous chatter of new and returning students alike. Haley Sengsavanh, Nina Rogers and Sarah Azad Manjiri were no different, feeling anxious and thrilled for their senior year at Eric Hamber Secondary. It was the fresh faces of Grade 8 students wandering the halls of Hamber that solidified the reality that this was truly their final year.
What has the first week of senior year been like?
Nina: When I first received my schedule, there was a huge sense of relief. Knowing where my classes were and who was in them made me realize how much I've grown from my first year. I went into each class with confidence, knowing that there would always be someone who I could talk to and that I wouldn't walk into the wrong room. The first week showed me how much I will miss the teachers, my friends and even reading the little messages left in textbooks from years before.
Sarah: Since Grade 8, we have always talked about going to prom, driving to school and having lockers next to each other in the grad hallway. The first week has consisted of me trying to wrap my head around the fact that our senior year dreams are actually happening. I think what really allowed senior year to sink in was seeing my classmates lounging in their lawn chairs in the grad hallway—a senior tradition."
What will make senior year at Hamber special for you?
Nina: At Hamber, there are many activities for Grade 12 students spread throughout the year. Grad breakfast, prom and the grad ceremony are only a few to name. I think that seeing all of the Grade 12s enjoying their last few moments together at these events is what will make this year special for me. No matter what, these are the memories that will stay with us forever.
Haley: The most rewarding thing for me is being able to help younger students navigate their high school life the way I was aided by senior students when I was in Grade 8. I used to be really soft-spoken but was able to overcome this obstacle once I began debating. When I first became president and began coaching the members, many were just as shy as I was when I first started, but have since become much more well-spoken. It has been so special for me to not only see how far I have come, but also how far my lovely friends in debate have come!
What advice would you give to your Grade 8-self?
Haley: An issue I definitely encountered was not being as open to new experiences and new people as I could have been. I would advise my Grade 8-self to not be so afraid to branch out and meet new people or join discussions! Eric Hamber is a really great school with equally great people, and I wish I began really engaging with the school community sooner.
Sarah: If I could speak to my Grade 8-self, I would remind her to keep her eyes open for the many opportunities that will arise in the next five years. There is such a diverse extracurricular community at Hamber. However, despite attending Hamber'sclubsday event each year, I never really paid attention until I reached Grade 10. I've learned just as many valuable lessons getting involved as I have in my classes. Extracurriculars have also become my favorite part of going to school!
On June 25, 2020 the doors of Eric Hamber Secondary will close for the last time to gradutating class of 2019-2020Grade 12s. However, the doors to the rest of their lives are just beginning to open. In just five short years, the various sports teams, theatre productions, clubs and experiences molded these three shy Grade 8 students into capable young adults on the cusp of entering university life. Haley, Nina and Sarah are terrified yet eager to find out what comes next. But before that time comes, they are going to live in the moment and enjoy the ending of their five year journey that they have realized holds some of their greatest memories.