The Opportunities Are Infinite, But No One Is Invincible

I know your world. It was only five short years ago that I was you, walking the circular hallways of Rye High in between nine challenging classes, and eyeing the clock until it was (exactly) 2:37.


I know your world. It was only five short years ago that I was you, walking the circular hallways of Rye High in between nine challenging classes, and eyeing the clock until it was (exactly) 2:37. My world was full of AP classes and locker combinations and chemistry labs and X-period and SAT prep and driving lessons, and about a thousand other important things that now, a year out of college, seem trivial. I wish I could have known when I was in high school that the real lessons I was learning came in the in-between moments — a thoughtful discussion with a beloved teacher, or working with my classmates on decorating our hallway for Spirit Week. Those opportunities and moments are just as important as playing on the soccer team or being a member the National Honors Society, even if they don’t feel like it right now.


In high school, you can feel so consumed by the tiny little world of RHS that sometimes it’s hard to see that there’s a bigger world out there, and infinite possibilities that lay outside the realm of Parsons Street.


There are so many ways to learn and grow during your four years as a Garnet, but if you can, please try and remember this:


You are not your AP class.


You are not your SAT score.


You are not your part in the school play or your D in French or your prom night or your weekend plans or whatever else you might think defines you within the walls of Rye High.


You are a person. You have infinite worth and value and merit. You have a future that is so incredibly bright, so much so that it may be hard to see what it looks like right now.


It doesn’t matter what college you choose, or don’t choose. It doesn’t matter who you go to prom with. It doesn’t matter if you choose Regents over Honors.


What matters is the kind of person you are, and the way you treat yourself and other people. What matters is the room you give yourself to grow and learn and make (safe) mistakes. What matters is how much you invest in yourself and your lifelong learning experience, something that will take you much further than the path to valedictorian or varsity football.


You have the opportunity to learn so much more at Rye High School than the symbolism found in George Orwell books or how to use the quadratic formula. Learn how to be a friend. Learn how to spot someone that needs a friend, and be there for that person. Learn how to take safe and healthy risks, and learn how to make mistakes. Learn how to swallow your pride and ask for help. Hold yourself responsible for your actions and cut yourself some slack for all of the things you haven’t learned yet. Go to X period!


Mostly, you are not invincible. No one is. If you think you have classmates that have it all together and know exactly who they are and what they want to do, think again. If you think you are that classmate, invest more time in the things that challenge you instead of the things that come easily to you and keep working hard at being a friend. We can ALL be better friends to each other. No exceptions.


This community is yours. I didn’t always feel like it was mine, but I do now, and I wish that I had invested myself more in it while I could. We are five years out, and we have lost way too many classmates to absolute tragedies. Please support your Rye community and friends in making smart, healthy choices. You are NOT invincible. You are so worthy of the future ahead of you.


My wish for you all is that your futures do not include attending funerals of your classmates before ever attending a class reunion.


Be safe, be smart, and be kind. You will never regret it.


— Caroline Dorn, Rye High School Class of 2011


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