Seniors say their final salute

Hanif Amanullah, Staff Writer

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The air fills with the anxiety of AP exams and semester projects as the school year draws to a close. But for seniors, their high school career is coming to an end and the feelings are more a mix of apprehension and nostalgia. As exciting as the prospects of life after high school are, many are using the next few weeks to look back on the last four years.

Many seniors share the feeling that LASA has given them new and exciting educational openings. For Mikey Orta, high school was a turning point for him.

“I’m going to be a first-generation college student, and LASA is a huge aspect of me actually getting to that point,” Orta said. “I came from Allan Elementary School, which was one of the most underfunded elementary schools in the Austin area. For me, LASA has been an opportunity to advance my career.”

The variety of classes are also mentioned under the opportunities LASA gives. The academic options are a big part of why senior Emily Kolodney liked high school so much.

“I think that if I was going to summarize LASA in one word, it would be opportunity,” Kolodney said. “Just because of the incredible teachers we have…the classes, and the really unique signature courses.”

Along with common classes and electives, LASA offers a multitude of unique courses created by the teachers themselves.

“Classes like Hitchcock,” Kolodney said. “Which by the way is one of my favorite classes I’ve taken this year, are so fun, and so unique.”

Aside from the academics, seniors expressed how much LASA’s social life has helped them. Senior Michelle Su said the friendships she has made along the way have helped her grow as a person.

“I like the people, and the sense of community means a lot to me,” Su said. “Not only that, but I’ve made some of my best friends here.”

Because many classes include students from multiple grade levels, students are able to meet people from all over the school, as opposed to those just from their class.

“LASA’s been a great place for me to definitely reach out,” Orta said. “We have so much more diversity here than other campuses, in my opinion. When they say it’s the ‘cream of the crop’, that’s what’s going on here. We’ve got all these bright-minded people.”

According to Su, the tight web of friends many students develop by the time they reach their senior year isn’t just helpful from an entertaining point of view. For some students, their friends are what help them through the academic struggles of high school, as well as the transition to college.

“Everyone is always supportive,” Su said. “Having [those friends] has really given me insight into how to deal with the stress of college before actually leaving.”

Seniors get a photo taken of them in the college center that is hung up in the purple hallway with the colleges they got into. For Orta, this signals the end of his senior year.

“Looking back on it now, I’m getting emotional seeing my photo up on the wall of seniors,” Orta said. “I would say the social atmosphere has impacted me more [than the academic]. And LASA has helped me really get to where I’m at and prepare for my future.”

According to Kolodney, seniors are thankful for the classes they’ve taken and the people they’ve met–some of whom will know each other well past high school. Kolodney said she wouldn’t have met her best friends without LASA.

“For students looking to come here,” Orta said. “You’re going to hear time and time again that it’s gonna be a hard transition, and that’s true–but don’t let that get to you. Focus instead on how much you’re gonna be set up for success after.”