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Speaking Out: Making the most of high school

By  Nicole Vaz, Youth Speak News
  • June 20, 2019

“Take a risk, get involved, be committed!” Four years later and I finally understand the importance of my high school motto. 

When I first started high school in September 2014, all I wanted to do was get through the next four years as quickly as possible, so I could start the chapter of my life that I was really excited for — university. 

I quickly realized that I would have to endure four long, boring years if I continued to follow that mindset. I decided I should became more engaged. I joined a few clubs and become more a part of my school community.

I started off safe and joined two clubs, Saints Club and Campus Ministry, with a few of my friends.

Saints Club is the school’s social justice club. Rather than working within the school, we would do community work, like feeding the homeless downtown.

Campus Ministry turned out to be a great experience and I continued to be a minister for all four years of high school. I attended retreats and conferences, and helped out with school Masses and liturgies. 

As my Grade 9 year continued, my parents started to suggest joining clubs outside school. 

At first, I tried to resist. The idea of joining an activity with a bunch of strangers terrified me, so for a long time, I tried my best to change the topic whenever my parents asked me about it. 

Eventually, my parents caught on and decided to take matters into their own hands by enrolling me into Army Cadets. 

While most people say that being a part of this program is a fulfilling and enjoyable experience, I knew pretty quickly that going on weekend excursions and making my own tent to spend the night in was definitely not my scene. 

By the beginning of Grade 11, I realized that I wasn’t putting enough time and effort into the program and decided to no longer continue. 

So I went on with high school, going to classes, doing homework and keeping to myself until the end of Grade 11, when I started to think about university. 

It was at that time I looked back on my first three years of high school and realized I had little to show for it.

I knew growing up that people always said the best years of their lives were the four years they spent in high school. It made me sad to think my four years were almost up and I had done close to nothing. 

It was at that point I promised myself to make the most of my last year, so much so that it would make up for my first three years. 

I decided to run for student council and ended up being elected as minister of finance. It  worked out perfectly because I was already considering business programs for university. 

That same year I also attended two overnight events, Camp Enterprise and Salesians. 

One of my best decisions was applying to be a part of The Catholic Register’s Youth Speak News program. 

It was by getting involved that I was able to learn so much, met so many amazing people and created some life-long memories. 

I don’t regret anything that I did or didn’t do in high school because I do believe that in the end, everything worked out the way it was supposed to. 

But if I did end up living my last year as I did the first three, too scared to try anything new, I do think that I would be sad when I looked at all the time I wasted. 

If you want to make the most of your time, don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new things because, in the end, you get out of it what you put into it. 

And if you end up putting in enough effort, then high school will be just as they say — the best four years of your life.

(Vaz, 17, is a Grade 12 student at Fr. Michael Goetz Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont.)

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