Dear Etowah…


Dear upcoming seniors, 

Entering a new school year is exciting, especially the year 2022-2023, as you are now the top dog: the student section leaders, the hallway strutters; you are officially the role models. Entering the last chapter of your high school career can be a bit scary, but it comes with more ups than downs. 

My advice for you is to not take this year for granted. I personally made the mistake of looking forward to graduation for so long that I forgot to live in the moment. My final football game, concluding my time representing Etowah High School on the soccer field, and my last high school dance are all things that I rushed through to finally walk across the stage and receive my diploma. If I could turn back time, I would relive these moments in a heartbeat and enjoy them while they lasted. 

This is the year you will be deciding what to do for the rest of your life. If you have no idea, it will be okay. I think making impactful decisions should not be made at the age of 17 or 18 anyways. However, applying to that dream school, writing that college essay, and working hard to finish strong will be worth it. Take your time, and think thoroughly about what you are deciding, but remember that nothing is permanent. 

Make sure the time with your friends and family is not wasted. Instead of sitting in your room scrolling on TikTok, go spend time with your siblings or parents, they will not be a bedroom away for long. Go to Sonic at midnight, drive with the windows down, and scream at the basketball games with your friends; you are only a high school senior once. 

Overall, your high school career is ending soon, and it will be over in a blink of an eye. Before you know it, you will be replacing “have a great summer” with “have a great life.” Enjoy your final year while it lasts because it will be over quickly. From a graduating senior to an upcoming senior, I would like to congratulate you and wish you luck next year. 


 Alyssa Pearson 

Dear upcoming juniors,  

Congratulations, and welcome to the upperclassmen life! You can now freely bully whomever you want (except for the seniors, of course). It feels great, right? While being an upperclassman does have its benefits, junior year is said by many to be one of the hardest years yet, and, in all honesty, I agree. 

I like to describe junior year as rushed: rushing to complete your ACT/ SAT, rushing to stay on top of your unexpectedly hard workload, and rushing to balance everything before you start college applications, all while attempting to maintain a social life. Junior year, however, has the potential to be the best year yet. 

Junior year taught me that hard work pays off. Like many other students, I took rigorous classes that challenged me. I soon learned that organization was key. Staying on top of your schoolwork is more important than you may think; knowing deadlines and completing your work accordingly can save you tremendous amounts of stress and preserve your mental health. It might sound daunting at first, but the benefits are worth it. Junior year is the most important year before college, and everything you do matters. Planners, Google Calendar, or any online organizing platform are great tools. 

This year is a journey of self-discovery. The experiences you gain, the lessons you learn, and the friends you make are like no other year. Get involved in clubs, attend school events, and step out of your comfort zone. I know this is easier said than done, but I would not be where I am today had I not tried new things. This year, I stopped giving importance to what others thought of me and instead focused on my own goals. I became involved in causes that I was passionate about and made some incredible friends along the way. Most importantly, I learned that, as long as you give it your all, you should be proud of yourself—regardless of the outcome.  

Sophocles, an ancient Greek philosopher, once said that “there is no success without hardship.” Junior year will test you—there is no doubt about it. However, instead of feeling defeated at the possibility of failure, look forward to the potential of success. As cheesy as it sounds, you have the chance to make your junior year incredible, so make this a year to remember. 


 Ila Prabhuram 

Dear upcoming sophomores,  

Prepare yourself. The first thing I heard when I walked into this school as a sophomore was that my year was about to be the most mentally exhausting one of my high school experience. Frankly, they were right. But here I am, about to be a junior. I made it. I passed all my classes, joined a bunch of clubs, participated in sports, and I still somehow found time to have a social life. Do not fretyou can do this too.  

Most of you are taking your first AP class this year, if not two. It will be hard, there is no doubt about that, but make sure to dedicate yourself whenever possible to studying or finishing homework from that class, as it will help you in the long run. Take advantage of your lunch period and free time in classes to finish some extra work. AP classes, especially AP World History, are the absolute worst classes to procrastinate for, so do yourself a favor, and get rid of your bad habits early. 

You are almost upperclassmen now, but do not get ahead of yourself. You still have time to ruin your whole high school career just kidding. Now is the time to start looking into colleges and what classes will be best for the pathways you are interested in; however, you do not have to decide right at this moment that you will be going into education as a seventh-grade teacher for ten years before teaching high school for another twenty, so do not stress if you are unsure as to what your passion is yet; however, make an effort. Look into the things you like and possibly what careers could fit into that category. See what colleges offer what you are looking for. You have three years left, but sophomore year is the year to explore.  

Sophomore year is also the time to start joining clubs. You want to build up your resume early so that colleges are more interested in what you have to offer. I worked to find potential leadership opportunities and clubs that I thought were intriguing that might also pique the interest of an admissions officer, but do not overwhelm yourself. There are only so many hours in the day. Trust me, I understand the lack of desire to pack in three club meetings, a gym session, and seven hours of homework in one night.  

Finally, now that you are no longer the “fresh meat” of the school, take the chance to participate in a little bit of bullying. Let us be honest, the freshmen are annoying and need to be knocked down a peg. I am only joking, but some of them could use a swirlie or two. Anyways, you got this. Listen to our favorite basketball player, Troy Bolton, and keep your head in the game. 


 Hailey Weiner  

Dear upcoming freshmen,  

The time has finally come! You made it! You are officially no longer in the awkward stage of middle school, but do not get too excited, you are no longer the bosses. In fact, you are the lowest on the social hierarchy. Though it might be scary to feel so small in a school with so many intimidating seniors, do not worry; they do not normally bite. Lucky for you, I have some tips to survive your first year. 

The first thing you must remember is that it is a big, open campus. Due to nature, the weather will not always cooperate with you, so make sure to be prepared with umbrellas for the rain. A map might also help you navigate the large area. It can take a while to get to class, so I would highly recommend running to them, especially when it is pouring outside. This way everyone can tell how eager you are to be on time. 

Sporting events are huge at Etowah, and unless you want to be an outcast, I would suggest that you attend football games. The best way to be considered “the cool freshman” is to sit in the front row of the student section with all the seniors. Oh, and do not be alarmed when you hear “Go home freshmen!” Most of the time, it is a joke. 

Being a freshman means you are not liked by the other grades. You are the youngest and known as the most annoying. Try not to get on the seniors’ nerves too much because they will be out to get you on Freshman Friday. Also, do not be offended when you are being called a “freshie” you will get used to it. 

Make sure to buy a pool pass for the top of the New Gym. Do not let anyone fool you; it is real. They just do not want freshmen to be there because it is exclusive. The pool is one of the best things to get involved in for your first year. Feel free to reach out to sophomores to get a pass for you because they get a discount. 

For me, freshman year was a lot different from any other grade. There are a bunch of new teachers and peers. It can be scary, but I have been there, and this time next year, you will feel like a pro at this whole high school thing.  


 Ansley Giesler 

P.S. I survived freshman year. I wish you the best in your first year of high school, and I will see you around the halls freshie!