Madison’s Senior Sign-Off

As I reflect on my four years as an Apex High School student, I realize it was full of change. There were major changes like having three different buildings to learn and adjust to as well as three different principals. There were also minor changes like meeting new friends, switching teachers mid-year, and changing interests and passions. There were also more unfortunate changes like switching from a parking lot to a parking deck to no need for parking at all because of remote learning and socially distanced senior celebrations. All in all, it is clear that very few things were consistent during my time at Apex, which is why being a part of Newspaper and getting to write for the Legacy for the past three years has been so important to me; it is the one place where I found a constant home amid four years of constant change.

I remember second semester freshman year I was taking Intro to Communications and Mass Media, and we were working on the newspaper unit. Our class took a little field trip from Pod A to the real newspaper room right off of the courtyard stairs. That day I knew I wanted to apply to join the Legacy even though I couldn’t quite picture myself there because I knew it would look completely different from the room I was sitting in then, the newspaper room all other Apex students had known.

On the first day of sophomore year, I walked into the brand new Newspaper room extremely excited and nervous at the same time. I was so excited to be in such a nice, new building, but I was quite nervous walking into this new class with no close friends. I wasn’t sure what to expect or if I would be a good fit for Newspaper, but those doubts and fears quickly left me, as I soon found that this was where I belonged. 

I have so many great memories from that first semester in Newspaper; from meeting all the other staff members and Mrs. McGee, to learning how to interview and use Canva, being mentored by McKenzie and Claire, and even finding out that Mrs. McGee was pregnant! I could always count on third period being the best part of my day simply because of the amazing, fun, supportive people I was surrounded by. During second semester I continued to grow as a writer and enjoy even more laughs and fun class periods sitting next to Andrea. And at the end of the year came what is now one of my all time favorite Newspaper memories: the Newspaper Office Olympics! For some reason, no substitute teacher showed up to class on one of the days Mrs. McGee was out, so with McKenzie left in charge, our class had our own Office Olympics complete with rolling chair races and trivia.

I was excited to be back junior year especially after seeing how much our newspaper had improved over the course of the previous year. I also enjoyed the fact that this was the one and only year I didn’t have to adjust to a new building, and it was nice to be back in the familiar fishbowl room. Getting to go to Newspaper was always such a nice break from my tough academic classes junior year, and I loved getting to talk and write with my friends in class. Mrs. McGee, Andrea, LJ, and Jake were not only the best mentors for my writing but also the best people to talk with, and I have so many memories of us laughing and chatting together during third period. At the end of that school year, I was so sad to see Jake and Andrea go but also excited for my new role as Editor-in-Chief and to finally return to Laura Duncan.

I was practically bouncing off the walls the summer morning when I finally got to meet Mrs. McGee at the brand new Apex High School and help set up the new Peak Student Media room. I walked into the building and could not get over how huge it was and the fact that I would get to go to school there. I remember how much happiness and excitement there was in the air at the start of senior year since we were finally “home.” All of the new Newspaper staff members were doing so well, and we had a great time with spirit week and capturing everything there was to cover and write about while starting at the new building. 

It has been so cool to see everything come full circle, and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to document it along with my fellow newspaper staff members as we have transitioned Apex High to where and what it is now. I am so sad that my time at Apex and writing for the Legacy has to end like this, and I’ve spent a lot of time wondering “Why me? Why our class?  Why couldn’t this have happened any other year?” But then I think back to four years ago when I found out the Class of 2020 would be the ones to transition through three buildings while at Apex. I remember being upset about it and thinking the same things, “Why me? Why our class? Why do they have to tear the school down while I’m a student there?” And looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m actually glad our class was the one to make the transition because I learned so much from the experience, it helped me get more comfortable with change, and it made my time at Apex what it was. So my hope now is that the same thing will be true for the current situation; that even though I’m sad about it now, in a few years I’ll look back and realize what this time period has taught me, how it’s shaped me, and that I wouldn’t want it any other way. And if nothing else, at least we left our Legacy. 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the past four years, especially Mrs. McGee who has been the most incredible teacher, mentor, Newspaper advisor, supporter, and friend. Thanks for giving me such an amazing time in Newspaper for six semesters straight and for being a constant inspiration and champion for me. I will miss the Apex Legacy, but plan on continuing to write by joining the Technician staff at North Carolina State University next year. I will miss everyone at Apex but look forward to seeing the Legacy continue to thrive!

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