Free Bird

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     The Road of Life
Today we pause, to look into our past
as well as our future. We remember when
we were young, starting our trek down the Road of Life.
The first place on this long and winding road
was the Meadow of Childhood. This is where we
met many new people and formed numerous friendships;
most of which still exist today.
However, we were unable to stay here, and so
continued on our journey through the
doors of Quabbin Regional, becoming some
of the mightiest Panthers in all the land.
Stepping through those doors also marked
our emergence into the Desert of Adolescence,
where many of us became tangled in the thorn
bushes along the way. But we made it out,
and from there we took our swim across
the River of Wisdom.
When we reached the opposite bank we
paused in the Forest of Enchantment,
which is where we stand together today.
Looking back we can no longer see the
Meadow of Childhood, for it is nothing
but a faint memory to us now.
The only thing we can see from here is
the Valley of Adulthood, and
the long-awaited climb to success.
And although most of us are sad,
somehow we know that the hardest part
of our journey has come to an end.
For we have sipped from the Water of Morals,
Climbed the Rock of love,
Swum the Sea of Knowledge,
And ascended the Mountain of Truth.
And as we continue on our journey,
and say our last good-byes,
I would like to congratulate you mighty Panthers
from Quabbin Regional High.
-Jason Holihan
Senior Class Poem, Class of 2001

     Lynrd Skynyrd once asked, “if I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me.” There were only a few days left before high school was finally over, and I couldn’t help but wonder who would remember me when I left Quabbin.
     The last page was finally ripped off of the “Senior Class Countdown,” displaying the huge, colorful “0.” While most of my classmates sat in the hallway cleaning out their lockers, I was scurrying to room H121; Graduation Committee meeting.
     There we sat in the most uncomfortable chairs in the world putting the final touches on everything when it came time to decide whose poem would be chosen to represent our class at Baccalaureate. A vote had been taken at the previous meeting, and I waited uneasily for the results. With a unanimous vote, it was mine. My head began to spin and I thought I was going to throw up.

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MLA Citation:
"Free Bird." 20 Jun 2018
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It hit me then like a ton of bricks that I would have to stand in front of six hundred fifty people and read my poem.
     I went home that night and revised my poem about thirty times. Finally, when I decided it was good enough, I tried practicing in my mirror; all I could imagine was what it must be like to have thirteen hundred eyes glaring at me. It was useless, I couldn’t do it, but I knew I had no choice. Every class has had a poem, and I couldn’t let my friends down.
     It was June 8, 2001, and Baccalaureate was upon us. My stomach was a knot, my head pounded with pain, and I thought I was going to vomit, perhaps at the worst time. I put on my cap and gown and got in my car.
     When I got to the school the gymnasium was standing-room-only. I never knew exactly how many six hundred and fifty was, but now I had a pretty clear picture, and a severe migraine. All seniors gathered in the cafeteria one last time. While nobody was paying attention I slipped out the door and into my car for one last cigarette to calm my nerves.
     As I was driving through the small streets of Barre, furiously inhaling my Newport, I began singing along with a familiar tune; it was Lynrd Skynrd’s “Free Bird.”
     I knew then that this was my chance. This was how my classmates would remember me. I turned the car around fiercely, not to mention illegally, and sped back to the school.
     The lights glowed brighter, the air tasted sweeter, and somehow I was calm. I took my place in line next to Elizabeth XXXX and together we marched into the gym. I will never forget the look on my mother's face when she saw me march into the room. We took our seats, and I waited.
     Finally, after all of the speeches had been read my name was screamed through the large, black speaker. I made my way to the intimidating podium and turned it to face my classmates. This was for them, not the massive audience.
     There I stood before my class, reading my poem loud and proud. I will never forget the embrace Tricia XXXX and Emily XXXXX were locked in, or the single tear that fell down Jenna XXXXX’s face.
     I knew I had touched somebody with my poem that night, and that was all I needed to know. Like Skynrd’s song, I would be leaving tomorrow, but I knew in my heart that my friends and fellow classmates would remember me forever.

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