State High Seniors Reflect on Their High School Experiences

SCASD school bus celebrating class of 2024
SCASD school bus celebrating class of 2024
Noah Demo

In August of 2020, State High’s class of 2024 entered State College Area High School in a way no other class had–through screens rather than doors. With the school year ending, seniors are reflecting on their journey as they begin their last week of school. 

It’s no secret that high school is a time of change. It’s generally considered to be one of the most hectic and transformative years of a person’s life, as large swaths of it are designed to prepare students for college, jobs, and adulthood. However, State High’s Class of 2024 didn’t exactly get off to a normal start. 

Seniors entered high school in the backdrop of a global pandemic and watched as what will become major historical events happened in realtime–from the George Floyd protests and the January 6th attack to the wars in Eastern Europe and the Holy Land, as well as so many others.

Senior class president and FBLA president Joshua Fragin captures the experience for many students by characterizing the last four years as a “roller coaster.”

For Fragin, the last four years were characterized by “Days of incredible highs and incredible lows, as well as tons of suspense for what comes next. And then, it just feels like it all came to an end so quick, and it’s time to move onto the next stage of our lives.” 

Senior Isabella Poehner also described her time at State High has been as a wild ride that could get disorienting at times. “State High has definitely been a lot. There’s been a lot of great opportunities, and there’s also a lot of people. So as a byproduct, it becomes easy to get mixed up and feel as if your voice isn’t really being heard,” Poehner said. 

Poehner found her voice by connecting to smaller communities. “I’m in like 17 different clubs. I’ve done a lot with music in particular, and I’m president of EmpowHer, I’ve helped with Go With the Flow and other leadership organizations, and have been involved in more career-based organizations, such as DECA and TSA,” Poehner stated. 

State High has a wide range of clubs and organizations that facilitate belonging while preparing students for college and technical careers. 

Maya Salter’s experience at State High has been defined by her participation in the IB diploma program. 

“I am an IB diploma student and I’m in a group of like 16 kids that all kind of doing the same thing in the same classes. So some of my favorite memories have been the classes I’ve taken there. And being with that group of 16 kids, particularly my IB physics and IB art class, have been a ton of fun with solving problems in small groups and working on cool projects,” Salter said. 

When reflecting on his State High memories, Fragin cited two as his personal favorites. “I’ll always remember the day I found out I got elected as senior class president last year. So this was after weeks of campaigning and posters and buttons and T-shirts and sending out 500 emails. I was in my IB Business Class, it was like the last week of school, no seniors, and then they came over the loudspeakers and announced it. It was such an exciting moment,” Fragin said. “Another memory that I was really fond of was in my sophomore year was when I competed and won in a Shark Tank competition, and that just really built my confidence and set me up for two more years of doing public speaking.”

For Poehner, her time on the rowing team and participating in different music programs were particularly meaningful. “I joined the rowing team when I was in my Sophomore year and I absolutely fell in love with the sport and the people that were there. And that’s been like a constant in my life since then. I’d also say that anytime we have a concert or rehearse music, the way the group starts to gel in the fun that we have during those rehearsals is also definitely one of the most favorite points for me,” Poehner said. 

State High seniors leave having mastered diverse academic subjects and acquired meaningful life lessons. 

Fragin’s most important lesson learned from State High is one he learned directly in the classroom. “During the first day of Mr. Merritt’s AP Government class, he gave one simple message that really stood out to me: ‘Be kind’. And I agree with it completely. If you’re kind to yourself, others, and the world around you then everything will fall into place,” Fragin said.

For Poehner, the most important lesson she learned was based on self-sufficiency. “I’d probably say that my strongest lesson and all of that that I’ve learned would probably be to depend on yourself because you are the only one that can truly make the goals that you set and like fulfill them completely but rely on other people to be able to hold your hand and get you there because you don’t have to be this like big tough person who’s in like does not need help. You’re allowed to ask for help and you should ask for help because you are not alone,” Poehner said.

For Salter, her biggest lesson learned is one based on the importance of interactions. “Be kind to people, meet new people. I always end up introducing myself to the same people at least 20 times, because I can’t remember names and faces, but if you just go up and make friends with people, then it usually works out. Also, get sleep,” Salter said. 

Overall, high school has been a transformative and hectic experience for the class of 2024. It’s been filled with ups and downs and historic moments that have rocked their world. But one thing is for sure, the class of 2024 leaves State High much stronger. And that’s something worth celebrating. So whatever the future holds, they’ll definitely be ready for it.

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