Editor’s Note: With the school year starting to wrap up, the NewsTribune interviewed area high school seniors, teachers and administrators about their advice for the next crop of underclassmen and life after high school. Here’s what they had to say:
What advice do you have for underclassmen?
“My advice for underclassmen would be to never think you’re not good enough. No matter what anyone tells you, or what failures you encounter, know that you are extraordinary in your own way. Everyone is their toughest critic, but you should never give up on yourself.” — Gianna Elias, St. Bede Academy senior
“Try and actually respect your teachers because if you do, they will respect you and high school will be a lot easier.” — Claudia Alonzo, Putnam County High School senior
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions.” — Emilee Walker, Putnam County High School senior
“Always do your work honestly and to the best of your ability. It may be tempting to take shortcuts, but they do not benefit in the long term. Hard work always pays off in the end.” — Alex Dittmar, St. Bede Academy senior
“Don’t wish it away and don’t hold grudges. Everybody grows up in high school. It’s good to get along with everybody.” — Becca Taylor, LaMoille High School senior
“Try as hard as you can right from the beginning, even if you think it’s irrelevant.” — Reiss Buettner, Mendota High School senior
“Do not procrastinate — it will make high school a lot harder.” — Annie Sabotta, Putnam County High School senior
“My advice for the underclassmen would be that they should definitely get involved in anything they are interested in. Your mental health is more important than your grades, get your sleep. Take classes that you want to take and are interested in.” — Nena Perry, La Salle-Peru Township High School senior
“Do not slack off as an underclassman and try to make it up as an upperclassman — it does not work, and it makes the last years of high school awful instead of being the best.” — Rebecca Ramey, Putnam County High School senior. “
Show up to school and do not procrastinate.” — Madi Solomon, Putnam County High School senior
“Get involved in as many extracurricular activities as you can because that’s where you make the best friends and the most memories.” — Abby Phalen, Mendota High School senior
“My advice to the freshmen is to take every opportunity to be involved in the school and community. Many leadership and volunteer opportunities will open up and you will find yourself blossom into a confident and assertive individual.” — Yogini Patel, La Salle-Peru Township High School senior
“Never get behind in school. Always leave time to study. If you do sports, always do your best because it always flies by.” — Jack Massey, Mendota High School senior
“Work hard and do everything you are supposed to, but don’t forget to have some fun.” — Megan Wiesbrock, Putnam County High School senior
“My advice is to value the time while you have it, don’t stress about the things you can’t change, and to live in the moment. High school goes by way too fast, so get involved and make memories while you still have the time. Get it right the first time. Don’t graduate and look back wanting to change anything.” — Gabby Englehaupt Hall senior
“Cherish the memories and be involved by going to football games, be on student council and work hard.” — Emma Boatman, Mendota High School senior
“I would tell underclassmen that it is important to stay organized, maintain good grades, and get involved. These four years will be over before you know it, so make the most of it and enjoy.” — Jenna Parente Hall senior
“Never give up on what you believe in. Even when times are rough just keep pushing for what you want to achieve in life. If you are still having the roughest amount of times, look towards your family and friends. They will always be there for you no matter the issue.” — Robbie Anderson, Earlville High School senior
“Be involved with the school, sports and other clubs. Also work hard at whatever it is your good at, be respectful and kind to others and things will eventually go your way.” — Tyler Bretsch, Earlville High School senior
“Always try your best and do all of your work, go out and participate in as many activities as you can, and remember always have fun.” — Jared Pickert, Earlville High School senior
“Some advice I would give would be to work hard and be as involved as you can be. Doing his will impress many colleges.” — Hailie Hale, Earlville High School senior
“The best advice that I can give to underclassmen would be active in your school. You are only going to get as much out of high school as you put into it. Work hard and be involved and you will have a good time during high school.” — Brennan Sweeney, Earlville High School senior
“My entire high school experience has been a roller coaster of different emotions. There will be days where you will dread getting out of bed and getting ready for school. At the same time, there will be days where you will find yourself having a good time with your classmates. Cherish those moments the most. Look forward to all the good days, rather than the bad days. I always wanted my four years to fly by, which they did. Although, I now find myself reflecting on how much I have grown as person because of my high school experience. You will too. You may be the person who just wants a diploma; I was that person too. There will come a day where you will find yourself looking back at the good and bad times from high school. As cliché as it may sound, you should make the most out of your four years. Do the extra credit, go to the school dances, take care of your mental health, go and cheer at the sporting events! Do all the little things that matter the most. Do not leave high school wondering if you had done things differently.” — Yuliana Quintana, DePue High School senior
“Get involved in anything and everything you can. Also, always be kind. You never know what someone is going through.” — Karly VanDorsten, Earlville High School senior
What advice do you have for soon-to-be high school graduates?
“You are starting over again in college. Always remember where you came from and the values instilled in you by your most influential mentors.
Do not compromise yourself and your beliefs to fit in or make friends, but still take time to adventure into interests and get involved. If you are true to your heart and character, you will find your place and you will flourish.” — Tom McGunnigal, St. Bede admissions director and head girls’ basketball coach
“Set goals for yourself and make all of your actions in pursuit of those goals.” — Tyler Ellena, Putnam County High School guidance counselor.
“When you are planning for your future, make sure to consider all possible options that are available to you. Never be afraid to admit to your mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and use them as a guide to make you a better person! Live everyday to the fullest and have no regrets!” — Kim England, Putnam County High School business/tech teacher.
“As you graduate from high school, take a moment to reflect and relish your accomplishments as these successes will give you the confidence to make future plans. I would encourage all graduates to make plans for their post-secondary experience, whether that is joining the workforce, attending a trade school, or attending college. At the same time recognizing that the plan may shift as you mature and realize your role in being a productive member of society. Be your best! Congratulations on your graduation!” — Ingrid R. Cushing, associate principal of teaching and learning, La Salle-Peru Township High School.
“Be prepared for a world filled with exciting opportunities. As some with define success, others may seem like failure. Learn from each experience and strive for careers that interest you. Live your lives with honor and dignity and remember where your roots are. We are and always will be your biggest supporters.” — Brent Ziegler, LaMoille High School principal
“You are graduating with the knowledge, the skills, and the perseverance needed to succeed. You can do this! Please remember that It is okay to change your college or career goal from what you think it is right now. Make yourself proud.” — Denise Aughenbaugh, Mendota High School principal
“Don’t go to college and then figure out what you want to be. Decide what career you would like to pursue, then find out what you need to do to reach your goal.” — Barry Gilstrap, business teacher, DePue High School
“My advice to seniors would be to always believe in themselves. Advocate for themselves and seek out the resources they need to succeed.” — Kaylee Ficek, counselor, DePue High School
“Don’t ever be threatened by the future.Take life one day at a time. Don’t ever feel guilty by the past — what’s done is done. Learn from any mistakes you might have made. Always be dedicated to excellence! Be open and accepting to others’ decisions. Don’t judge others. Always have a goal and do everything with a purpose.” — Earlville CUSD 9 staff