Dear AP Class of 2020,
From the bottom of my heart, from the start of my inferior vena cava to the end of my pulmonary artery, thank you. In a semester where senioritis robbed me of so much of my passion, this class was an endless well of love and joy among the drudgery. After 3 years of high school ELA, I was convinced that the words “English” and “Love” didn’t belong within a five-mile radius of each other, but you have all proven me wrong ten times over. If there is anything that I have gained from this class, beyond a crippling fear of vague writing prompts and a compulsive tendency to annotate, it is love. With graduation imposing an expiration date on all the little joys of high school, I wanted to use my last blog post to thank you all for the love you have given me in these stressful five months. This experience was one I will not soon forget.
Thank you for returning my long-lost love for English. I remember bright-eyed Grade 9 Maria who read all the Book Club books three months in advance and showed up even when she knew no one else would. She wanted nothing more than to go into AP English and be a genius like Ziyana or Claire, and did her datasheets without complaint (can you imagine??). Then, 10AP happened. And then 20-1 kicked me while I was down. And then I was a science kid! Going into this year, I had to force myself to finish the datasheets, fell asleep at least once a day reading the Tempest, and was generally pretty unenthused about the prospect of extra writing. That was until I sat down in the room with all of you during our first Socratic. I didn’t think it was possible to feel so intelligent and so stupid at the same time. The things I have heard within those teal walls still make my neurons buzz with resonance to this day. How could I be unenthused when I was listening to that? English became my daily highlight, with little Grade 9 Maria reappearing with her boundless enthusiasm. I remembered my love for reading with Frankenstein and I’ll Give You the Sun. I remembered my love of writing on this very blog. As shocking as it sounds knowing me now, my childhood dream had nothing to do with science and math; I wanted to be a writer, and this year reminded me why for the first time in years. Thank you for your polished personals, for letting me run my mouth about capitalism and gay rights in Book Club, for all of your insights that make me frantically search for scrap paper and a pen. Thank you for reminding me how beautiful language can be.
Thank you for all the love you have shown me. It’s a miracle that I can even fit through the classroom door at this point with how much you‘ve inflated my ego. Reading comments on these blogs make me feel like Hemingway reborn, and I never fail to swell with pride when I see that one of you has taken the time to read my ramblings. I used to be absolutely terrified to post, but now I can hardly wait to get my posts done. Every doubt I have had in my ability has been assuaged by all of you and your constant support, and that means more than I often let on. After last year, my confidence in my writing was three feet below rock bottom, and all of your love has built me back up. Thank you all for making English feel like home again.
I can never repay you all for the love you have given me in the last five months. That being said, before I sign off of this blog for good, I want to do my best to return to you a little piece of what you have all given to me.
My elevens, you absolute angels, I love you all like my kids. Yes, I know I am only a year older, and yes, I recognize that you are all strong adult-adjacent people, but in my eyes, you are all my children and I will protect you with my life. You are all so intelligent, so thoughtful, so much more capable than I was last year. A part of me will always be trying to catch up with your brilliance. If I had a fraction of Jimmy’s writer’s voice, Luca’s eye for unified themes, or Lexi’s imagery, I’d be unstoppable. If you decide to continue, I hope you have a good time being the resident disasters for the new crop of elevens next year. If you don’t, I hope -1 treats you well (Sidenote: don’t discount this class because it’s too much work. I firmly believe I would have pulled an 80 tops on my diploma if I never came here). I am heartbroken that I won’t get to see you all start school next fall in the blazer, but I’m sure that it will suit you all beautifully. I love you.
My Grade 12 posse, I adore you all. I always felt like the idiot in the room when we all worked together, but I was the luckiest fool alive to have been given the opportunity to work with you. Abhay, I will miss getting overexcited about socialist themes and critiquing the American Dream with you so much. Though I don’t know where your future will take you, I know you’ll work harder than anyone else to achieve it. Nimrat, you scared me into success in this class. Every time we talked about prompts, I would take furious mental notes for my own thesis. Somehow, against all odds, you always had a piece of unique evidence, a new insight in analysis, or a new subtheme that fit flawlessly. Every project we completed together left me reeling with your intelligence. Thank you for challenging me to improve through simply being yourself. I am so glad we got closer this year. Mia, my wife, your love and your TikTok dances will warm my heart forever. Being around you makes me feel the heaviness of school and stress melt away. You have this way of making the person you’re taking to feel like the most important human being alive, and I only hope that I can express how important you are to me. I can’t for bio with you next semester. I love you. Thank you for the wild ride, you three, and for letting me join the squad without reading Streetcar. Here’s to surviving one more diploma together.
Hunnisett, thank you. After all those years of campaigning to get me to snap out of my science-kid delusion, you finally did it, and I’m so eternally grateful that you did. I am so appreciative of all your support, for all your excitement over my ideas, and for giving me the opportunity to work with such miraculous people. I love you so, so much, and I wish I had a better vocabulary to properly express it. I guess I’ll just have to keep working.
Many have said that overusing the word “love” robs it of its meaning. I humbly disagree. When I say that I love you all, I mean that with every single inch of my being (and then some – I am only 5 feet tall after all). This class has brought so much love into my life, and the memories of this year will stick with me well after I leave Calgary in the fall. I will never be able to peel an orange, talk about Hagel, say the word LGBTQ, engage in feminist criticism, or, most of all, read Memoirs of a Geisha without thinking of Hunni’s room and all the love I felt there.
I wanted a pretty title for my last post, but the Latin phrase I chose is worth more than pure aesthetics. It is a promise, from my heart to yours, of love forever.