By Tiana Pham, DSST: College View Class of 2020
October 5, 2019 was the last Homecoming of our high school careers. My friends and I were determined to make it the best one. We went out to dinner at Flaming Joe’s Seafood before the dance started. It was all smiles and small talk, but there is one conversation I remember particularly vividly.
“This is our last year,” my friend, Raquel Carrillo, said. “And we’re closer now than we’ve been for the last seven years. I wish we were this close our entire time together at DSST.”
“Raquel, you’re making me depressed!” I joked.
But the thing is, I wasn’t joking. I remember walking into that old building we had to use before our middle school was built, thinking, “I have to spend seven years here with these people?” And seven years later, I look back and think, “I’ve spent seven years with this family.” I wouldn’t trade those seven years for the world.
College View’s Class of 2020 is a special one. We’re our school’s second graduating class, which means we spent the last seven years being constantly compared to the Founding Class of 2019. To me, it always seemed like everyone thought we weren’t as good at a first glance, but we always proved them wrong. I mean, what other class won the title of Alpha Wolves for being the loudest at a pep rally their freshman year? Or started a revolution to push for a better instructional system and school culture to ease academic stress off of future generations of Wolves their sophomore year? Or single-handedly spread school spirit throughout the high school and middle school during 2019’s Senior Signing Day?
Every single year, the Class of 2020 has left our mark on the school. And even though it was cut short, our senior year is no different. We had our first bonfire and danced in the middle of a parking lot for hours. Lesly Velazquez, our president, organized the best senior events from a night at Boondocks to a simple afternoon of painting our clothes for spirit week. Raquel Carrillo got matched with Vanderbilt through Questbridge and ran around the school ringing the Acceptance Bell with a mini-parade. Then, Juan Bartolo got accepted into Yale, and over half of 2020 ditched class to march around the school at least ten times and chant his name.
There are a million other memories like these that I can’t even recall, and I know that we would’ve made a million more if we had our Senior Spring. Maybe we would’ve had another uproar with each new acceptance. Maybe we would’ve had one singular Senior Ditch Day instead of an entire Ditch Month thanks to this pandemic. Maybe we would’ve been crying and hugging throughout our Senior Signing Day. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.
One thing I know that isn’t a maybe is that I love the Class of 2020. Anyone can tell you how loud and obnoxious we can be, but that’s what everyone loves about us. Being a part of this class has taught me how to be passionate. How to stand up for what I believe is right. How to stand by the people I love the most. How to be my own person.
When I walked into DSST as an eleven-year-old, I didn’t think the year 2020 would ever come. But the years went by too fast, and I didn’t realize it until I reached my senior year. Raquel was right: we’re closer than ever before and realizing that just made us more determined to have the best senior year we could. And as far as I’m concerned, we have.
Maybe we couldn’t spend the few weeks of high school we had left together, but we can look back knowing we spent the best seven years of our lives shaping and growing up together as College View’s one and only Class of 2020.
Please note: The photo collage represents many students from the DSST: College View Class of 2020, but not the class in its entirety.