Caleb Rogers ’16
Awhile back at an early spring seated meal, my advisor, Mr. Steve Stancill, asked me “has it set in yet?” He wanted to know if I and the other seniors in our advisory realized what would be happening in a few short weeks and what it might mean for our futures.
“Not really” summed up our collective responses. There were still projects and tests to be completed. Still nights left to hone in on our water balloon throws. Still one final Free Day to be had. Still lots of bacon, egg, and cheese bagels ready for eating at the Fir Tree. And so none of us noticed, just as we had not been noticing for months now, what is now in front of us.
I am writing this on May 23rd, a few hours after our class’ Senior Shake. It finally set in for me tonight. We are about many things as Tigers, but always the most memorable is the connections made here at the Forest. Tonight, standing in front of the Chapel in the lightest of rains, felt like a final end to many of these relationships. For, sadly, come Saturday we might not get the chance to shake a teacher or teammate’s hand ever again as a farewell. We might not get a chance to say a goodbye to our cigar-smoking classmate of four years. It has set in here, on the 23rd, because it is the beginning of an end.
So on my way back to my room I wondered about the second implication of my advisor’s question. If we all now knew Graduation was here, what does that mean for us Seniors at the end of the road? How have we changed in our time here and how will Woodberry be remembered?
If elementary and middle school serve as the providers of basic, necessary information and college acts as an opportunity for occupational specialization, then I see high school as a place for schooling on maturity. The four years from fourteen to eighteen are wildly transformative, so high school is a place to inadvertently build your own individuality and character. And this is true for schools across the world, not just here in Woodberry Forest, VA.
So Woodberry represents, to me at least, a very special place to go through this transition. We don’t go home at the end of the day. We don’t leave every weekend. During the week, we aren’t surrounded by girls. Ultimately, we’ve all asked ourselves at some point, what exactly is the point?
What we are surrounded by is ourselves and the rules. While a few may see the books, orange and blue, threateningly hanging overhead, the majority see the bedrock that makes Woodberry Forest. The one strike policy, white flags, weekend slips, and many other rule subsidiaries aren’t to be begrudgingly obeyed, but looked at as a model of how you should act. They, all together, make up our environment, that which evolves us through years here.
Woodberry will be remembered as the place that solidified our character’s strong base and chief cornerstone. Honor isn’t something that can be taught in a 45 minute class or learned through a home football game. It soaks in slowly through continued support, mistakes, and camaraderie.
Here, at the end of the road, I see now how fortunate we are to have gone to Woodberry. Many schools across the world sadly miss out on the message, for it is tough and almost accidental to teach honor.
But, a few years here will do the trick. For now and forever, go tigers.