Things we’ve learned from high school and people we’ve met gave a significant impact in us. Everybody matters: the teacher who hoists students’ ambitions up to meet their potential, or the one who just ignores whatever they say until they stop saying anything; the guidance counselor who takes misbehaving students into their office to keep them from doing again unpleasant things; the classmate who teaches loyalty; the coach who instills some discipline. Sometimes the lessons inside the classroom are the least of it.

Everyone has a story to tell from high school, sketched out of memory and/or myth. The myth reflects the faith that we all have a chance to invent ourselves, and high school is the lab. We enter for this sweaty, four-year experiment, and if we are brave and lucky, we race out the big double doors that graduation flings open onto the rest of our life. Sometimes we don’t even think to look back at the ones who got lost along the way.

The stakes are so high, the experience so searing that in retrospect we sometimes polish it up. These are the best of times; you’ll remember your prom as long as you live. Intramurals and pep rallies from senior class down the freshmen for school games, the Citizens Army Training (CAT),  various student clubs that met in some places just to bond together and establish friendships. Even the pain looks poetic from a distance.