Senior Goodbye: Tori Kegebein
When I started kindergarten in 2008, I cried every single school day for hours, begging the teachers to let my mom come pick me up and take me home. There wasn’t any specific reason for it other than me missing my parents. This was a habit I wouldn’t be able to break until around fourth grade. I went to Handley Elementary School, and I was extremely obedient and intelligent. Breaking the rules was something I didn’t even like to think about. I kept to myself for the most part because school was always scary for me, and I didn’t want too much of anyone’s attention, no matter what.
When I entered middle school in 2014, I was placed in the advanced classes with completely different people from all of my peers. Boston Middle School was where I made some of my best friends to this day. Although it took me a while to get used to, I eventually settled in with all my new group. Despite still being as shy as ever, I often tried to step out of my comfort zone. In eighth grade, I couldn’t get myself to go to school at all, and I’m not sure why still. I honestly couldn’t go. This led to me taking a year off and doing online school.
When everyone else began freshman year in 2017, I was stuck at home, finishing my online schooling; however, when I was finally able to start school, I was petrified. I was still so stuck in my shell and hadn’t had to interact with anyone in over a year. I didn’t know my way around the building, how to talk to anyone, how to behave, or who my potential friends should be. This wasn’t something I’d figure out until senior year. In fact, for most of my high school experience, I tried to lay below the radar and blend in with everyone around me. I was always too shy to want to be different or have a voice. Attending high school during a pandemic helped me realize that there isn’t enough time to shy away from who I actually am. There isn’t enough time to let people walk all over me and never defend myself. There isn’t enough time to silence myself so that others can speak.
I am 17 years old, and I have so many years ahead of me. I have so many experiences and so many lessons to learn. La Porte High School will always be the place that taught me who I am, who I should be, and who I am becoming. Teachers here including Mr. Turner, Miss Scanlin, and Miss Barton taught me that individuality is what makes people so special. Friends who I made here including Joshua Hurst, Nevaeh Mendoza, Nellijah Fleming, and so many others taught me that true friendship can hold me up no matter what I’m going through. My mom taught me that it’s important to be independent. My dad taught me that love overpowers all other emotions.
I’ve been taught many lessons throughout these 17 years. One of my most recent lessons is that family is extremely important. Things can change so fast, and life can be flipped upside down in the blink of an eye.
My recently deceased stepmom Victoria taught me that the world is getting safer, people are becoming more inclusive, and it’s okay to be who you are openly and unapologetically. When I walk down the stage, I know that she will be looking down on me, watching proudly.
So, Slicer Newsroom, that’s the promise I want to make today. I promise to make her, the rest of my family, myself, and all of you proud with what I do.