Picture this: Sunday, October 23rd. 8:50 P.M.
My mom is back from a business trip in North Carolina and we are going out for ice cream at the Penfield Wegmans after picking me up from youth group. We pick out our pints of ice cream and go sit in the seating area above the sub shop.
We are enjoying our ice cream when my dad says, “We have some news.”
Turns out my mom wasn’t in North Carolina for a business trip. She was there for a job interview.
I hear those words and my stomach drops. I sit there waiting for the “Haha, just kidding! Gotcha!” But it never comes.
“When?” I say.
I go numb. Two months? I have two months to part with the things that I have known my whole life? I can’t seem to wrap my head around it.
First, I’m mad. Like, really mad. How could my parents do this to me? How could they just uproot everything I have? But I soon realize that my parents spent long, painful weeks deciding whether or not they were going to do this. They made the decision that was best for my family. But then I begin to think. I think of everything I’m going to be leaving: My Boy Scout troop, which I’ve been part of for five years; my church, which I’ve gone to my whole life and in whose youth group I have been active for a year and a half; my karate school, which I have attended for eleven years; and McQuaid.
I thought through what I’ve done at this school. Second place in the sixth-grade spelling bee, one year of outdoor track, four years of cross country, starting the Rosary Club, spiritual director of the Campus Ministry Board, a year of MasterMinds, a year and a half of the Shield, and too many friends to count. At McQuaid, I prided myself in being able to take new students, or those without many friends, and welcoming them in. I describe my group of friends as a bunch of third wheels who became unicycles. [Editor’s Note: This is the best metaphor I’ve read all year.] But now, I’m going to lose what strengthened me. I get stronger by helping people, and now I’m going to be the one who needs the same help I used to give. I will be completely out of my element: no one to talk to, no one to lean on, no one to just say “hi” to. I need these things to survive, and now they are gone.
I want to take a moment to recognize those who have changed my life at McQuaid Jesuit.
Thank you to Mr. Demers, Mr. Chesebro and Mrs. Hendrick for teaching me the fundamentals in the wild and unique first sixth grade class. Thank you to Mr. Rosedale for giving me a social studies class to remember. Thank you to Mrs. Bors for the start of an amazing lineup of English teachers. Thank you to Mrs. VanHeyst for a very entertaining Life Science class. Thank you to Mr. Hershel for expressing emotions though words. Thank you to Mr. Dye for the most enlightening math class I have ever had. Thank you to Mr. Hughes for, well, that class. (Enough said.) Thank you to Mr. Gorton for a very unpredictable year in English. Thank you to Mr. Clar for the most entertaining religion class I’ve been in. Thank you to Mrs. King for letting me take naps on her couch. Thank you to Mr. Guadagna for trusting me in a class full of maniacs, in both years. Thank you to Mrs. Martínez for a Spanish class that I could understand. Thank you to Mr. Brady for the worst jokes I have ever heard. Thank you to Mr. Siuda for a loud, proud, and crazy English class. Thank you to Mr. Drahms for a very strong spiritual experience on the Campus Ministry Board. Thank you to coach Stewart for a scream filled and impressive cross country career. Thank you to Mr. Morales for a fun-and-Hamilton-filled FLEX every day, and also for a wonderful writing opportunity that I have enjoyed very much.
The biggest thank-you goes to Roger, for being amazing and giving me a fistbump every single day. And thank you to the rest of the McQuaid faculty for a level of education that, I’m telling you now, far surpasses any education in North Carolina.
The teachers are important to a school, but the students are essential, and I’d like to thank some of them as well.
Thank you to Frankie Camp for approaching me the second day of sixth grade and becoming my first friend at this school. Thank you to Dario Ortiz for being hilarious and just kind of getting it. Thank you to Adam Daughton for filling my life with more obscure video games than I thought existed. Thank you to Jason DeJesus for being a willing victim of my “hilarious” jokes. Thank you to Delancey Hobbs for a super introspective and ridiculous time at the lunch table. Thank you to Brendan Byrne for a whole new look on politics. Thank you to Thomas Stone for a very philosophical look on school. Thank you to Kevin Murphy for always filling my life with such joy. Thank you to Danny Kantz for teaching me . . . new things. Thank you to Roy Follman for being the good kind of jerk but always relating with me and making me smile. Thank you to Kidane Malik for secretly being a total savage but always staying with his faith. Thank you to Josiah Redman for being just a totally new and interesting factor in my life. Thank you to Tristan Marie for all of his wonderful new foreign insight and just being an amazing friend. Thank you to Will Wagner for getting me waaaay back into Star Wars. Thank you to Trevor Yendrzeski for a wonderful, unemotional running environment. Thank you to Bikash Koirala for being so immersive and versatile. Thank you to Ben Buyer for making sure I was alive every day. Thank you to Aidan Hood, for being a total nerd, total savage, total stud muffin, and someone who has always understood me. And thank you to the rest of the student body for giving me a very memorable experience.
Now I’m at Charlotte Catholic High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, and it is very different here. First, there are girls. Like, what? How is that supposed to work? Second, my teachers have no personality. My math teacher does essentially nothing, my Spanish teacher speaks nothing but Spanish, and my English teacher thinks my name is Andrew. I have been here for a week, but I am in no way happy about leaving McQuaid. Every day, I miss you guys. I always thought that one day I would walk across Eastman Theater and receive my McQuaid diploma. I won’t be able to do that, but you can. Don’t forget how lucky you are. I’m praying for you.
Sincerely, Lewis Nazarian.
P.S.: I’m not leaving the Shield. I’m still gonna stick around here. I don’t know what’s up next, but it’s gonna be great!