Senior Reflection: Natalie Weger


Natalie Weger, Centerspread Editor

Dear Class of 2022,

It was only four years ago when we first walked through the doors of Richard Montgomery High School, nervous and excited about everything to come. I remember sitting in the auditorium at freshman orientation, listening to Principal Monteleone tell us that “high school goes by in a blink of an eye, so make sure to enjoy each second of it.” Now, countless school days, one new principal, and a pandemic later, we blinked and here we are, ready to graduate and begin a new chapter of our lives. 

Upon entering high school, I remember a lot of upperclassmen telling us that the best way to be a part of the RM community was to get involved. And so I did– or at least tried to. In freshman year, I joined at least eight different clubs, most of which I never actually went to the meetings to. I wrote for the Tide, but never took the time to actually introduce myself to my fellow writers. I joined softball and although I did feel a part of that community, I still felt disconnected from the school itself. Instead, the beginning of my high school experience felt like a blur of sleepless nights, endless deadlines and hours of homework as I struggled to keep my grades up, which was, at the time, my only substantial goal in school. 

It wasn’t until March 13th, 2020 that I realized just how much of my high school experience I had taken for granted. I know a lot of you could probably say the same. By junior year, the RM community quickly became a sea of muted Zoom screens. Laughing in first period became sleeping through Zoom class, open lunch with friends became eating lunch alone and taking in-person tests became taking COVID tests. Joking with my friends on the bus, waving to people in the halls, listening to our teachers’ funny stories, cheering with Mr. Fahrner at pep rallies, getting Chipotle at lunch‒ those were the things I ended up missing, not just any grade I got or any accomplishment I achieved. 

With this mindset, I came back to school senior year wanting to actually be a part of the RM community, and I was. I joined SGA (shoutout to print!), and became more involved with RM’s traditions, such as the blood drive and pep rallies. As a centerspread editor for the Tide, I spent lunches scrambling to interview students for the new spread design or working hard at layout after school (shoutout to Raha for getting me through it). Softball turned into fun rides to Carmen’s after practice and extra hitting sessions on the weekends. Running clubs like MoCo for Literacy and Generation Z Tutoring showed me just how much students cared about the well-being of others. I made a bigger effort to make new friends and cherish old ones, from talking to random people in my classes to laughing in the student parking lot with friends after school. 

RM started a big building with too many hallways and stairs but ended up actually feeling like a community (though sometimes it still feels like there are too many stairs). I learned to cherish the little things because at the end of the day, it’s the memories you make and the people you meet that you’re going to remember. 

Class of 2022, whether it be sports, music, art, drama, SGA, clubs, I hope that each of you has gotten involved with your own community at RM and has found a home within this huge maze of a school. I hope that you do the same in college or where you may go in the future. Get involved as much as you can. Don’t just join clubs, attend classes and go to work, but get to know the people within those activities. Spend an extra five minutes talking to someone you wouldn’t normally talk to because you never know what it could lead to.

Community is defined as “a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.” I think the one characteristic our senior class has in common is the perseverance we had through all the crazy things the last four years have thrown at us. Though it is important to highlight our similarities, our differences are important. Walking down main street, lined with flags from over the world and seeing the faces of many students has made me realize that RM is a diverse community that we should be proud to represent. I hope that all of you remember this community as you endeavor beyond high school into college or whatever field you choose to work in. 

Congratulations, Class of 2022! We made it.