Senior Goodbye: Man, What a Ride


Photo Credit: Makayla Kennedy

Makayla Kennedy, OwlFeed Lifestyle Editor

All I have to say is, this was NOT like ‘High School Musical.’ 

As a kid, I watched movies like ‘High School Musical,’ ‘Clueless,’ ‘The Breakfast Club,’ and ‘10 Things I Hate About You,’ and mentally based my future high school career off that. When I walked into Agua Fria for the first time, I was smacked into reality. 

Freshman year I kept my head down, didn’t branch out, and was trying to adjust to the new environment. I was so used to middle school, so I was so nervous about the new people, especially the upperclassmen. I joined a few clubs I regretted, but that’s what you do as a freshman, you try a few things out and see what sticks. 

Not everything was bad though, I promise. All freshman year my friend Bryan told me and told me to join theatre but with JROTC I didn’t, which is something I’ll regret later on. Freshman year was filled with mundane memories and very little I can remember.

Sophomore year was when things slowly, I mean VERY slowly started to fall into place. I was free from all responsibilities and finally decided to join theatre, the place I’d call home for the next three years. I auditioned for ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and didn’t get cast, which bummed me out, but I was offered a spot on the house team. I greeted people at the doors proudly. 

One memory I still think about to this day is on closing night of ‘Anne Frank,’ I was getting ready to leave when a fellow house member, Dayra, asked me, “Are you going to Denny’s with us after this?” and I had no idea what she meant, I didn’t think techies got to go. 

I asked if I was allowed, since I only did tech, and she said, “Of course you get to go, we’d love to have you,” and it just stuck with me. She had no idea who I was and still treated me like she’d known me for years. I went by the way, that was the day I got hooked on cake batter milkshakes. 

I heard about the Senior Directed One Acts during a theatre meeting and knew I was going to audition. I read a single scene and got the whole room laughing. People came up to me saying how good I did afterwards. I was casted for that role, Uber Driver 4, and when I saw my name on the list I was ecstatic. I’m pretty sure I called my whole contact list with the news that day. 

Opening night was inching closer and closer. We were running the show like we would if we had an audience and my director told the cast, “You have 3 seconds to get off that stage,” and I took that seriously, so seriously that I completely missed the steps, legs flailing like when a cartoon character falls off a cliff. I spent the night in Urgent Care — no broken bones, but my acting debut was spent in a clunky knee brace. 

I will forever be grateful for that show. It introduced me to my best friend in the whole world, my platonic soulmate, my rock, Reed Nunnemaker. I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without them. 

I was never too keen on singing. I have no rhythm so dancing was a no, so auditioning for ‘The Addams Family’ was not on my to-do list. I did stage crew though, which was a blast. I met my best friend Addi during that production, we bonded over our love for the band Queen. 

Closing night was full of emotions, saying goodbye to my favorite seniors Sydnee and Jake, a power outage, and the last day before spring break, little did I know was tragedy was lurking around the corner. Covid.

I honestly did not do much at the end of sophomore year. I passed my classes and closed that chapter. 

 Junior year was starting through a screen. I very much slept through my first period and second period classes (sorry McBee and Denofre). Hybrid classes started and I finally got to see my friends and campus again. Things didn’t feel “normal” though. I couldn’t hug anyone and I was shielded by a mask. Oh yeah, I was also bald too. Covid made me do some crazy things. 

Covid made me lose interest in everything, so coming back to theatre for ‘In the Heights’ rehearsals was something I was grateful for, it made me fall in love with theatre again. It also was my first experience at doing lights. 

The end of junior year was amazing. I was inducted into the Thespian Honor Society and chosen to be on the theatre leadership board for the following year. I had been striving to accomplish those since I joined theatre. When Reed and I found out we had been chosen for the theatre board, we jumped up and down and squealed in the B building hallway. It’s a fond memory of mine. 

Senior year, man, I don’t think I ever slept. On a whim I applied for Senior Class President and won. Oh my. I was now in Student Council, bye bye early release, hello new friends and a whole bunch of responsibilities. 

I will admit, senior year was a lot. A little tip of advice, don’t drink energy drinks to keep yourself running. Kidney stones are not fun. Please drink water. 

With theatre, Stuco, and journalism, I ate, slept, breathed Agua Fria, but I loved every second of it. I felt like I belonged. 

I was the stage manager for the spring musical, ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and that was the best time I ever had in high school. I would take the blisters on my hands from the curtain ropes any day. It introduced me to the new theatre members, who I hold close to my heart. They’re going to do great things. 

I’d like to thank some people who truly impacted my life and years at Agua Fria.

Anna, my oldest friend. I’ve essentially grown up with you. Kindergarten to senior year, I’m so glad we reconnected. I love our Target runs, hanging out with Jasmine, and hearing your Peter Piper horror stories. I’m so excited for your next chapter in life, you’re going to do great things. 

Olivia, Liv, I am so thankful for you. I am so glad we got sick at the same time and spent our days playing iMessage games and bonded. I would be so lost in Stuco without you. I love you SO much. I’m also sorry I’m a Dodgers fan. 

Reed, my platonic soulmate, I wouldn’t be here without you. I am so glad I met you sophomore year. You have been there for me through thick and thin. I will forever cherish the lunches on the senior stage, the late night Snapchats, the spirit weeks, and the sushi dates. I love you. 

Mr. Martinelli, you were my teacher for three whole years in a row, I am so sorry. You really were an awesome teacher. A lot of days when I was in a bad mood, you ended up making me laugh, you were there to make me checklists when I was overwhelmed and I don’t think I would have survived first semester senior year without it. 

Mr. Jovanelly, you are a real one. I joined journalism half dyslexic and you really made writing fun. Thank you for taking a chance and making me lifestyle editor, being patient with me when I was behind and just supporting me when I needed it most. Also for supporting me when I joined the Dodgers fan club, at least someone was happy about it. 

Ms. Rams, boy where do I begin? You have made me laugh so hard on so many occasions. I am so thankful for your support. You were the first teacher who genuinely showed up to every single performance no matter how big or small, not just for me but for all your students. I appreciate that. Thank you for listening to my rants, I will miss you so much. 

Mr. Gonzalez, where do I even begin? I would not be who I am without your guidance. You helped me find my voice and a place at Agua Fria when I didn’t think that would happen. You helped me come out of my shell. Thank you for taking risks with me, being honest and listening to me. I will miss you and your randomness so incredibly much. 

That about sums up my time at Agua Fria High School. It was full of highs and lows. I’ve made some of my best friends and favorite memories here. I will miss it but am so looking forward to college. 

To any underclassman reading this, don’t wait to try something new. Take a risk, be spontaneous — it’ll pay off in the end.