Seniors (and some parents) reflect on the high school journey


Both students and parents provide insight into their journeys at Leesville Road High School.



Ryan Gallagher — Gallagher offers advice

    I’ll be completely honest, I’d held off finishing this piece for as long as I possibly could have. Am I lazy for that? Sure. Should I probably have spent more time working on a piece that all of my classmates will eventually read? Yeah, I probably should have. Yet through all of that unnecessary procrastination this feels like the best way to summarize my memories here. Now, I’m going to leave you with some heartfelt and honest advice, advice I’ve acquired through these past few years from a place I’m proud to have called my home.

    I know that I’ve shared this same home with every single one of you, which makes it even more depressing to say that nothing will ever be the same again. In a few short months from now memories will be the only thing left of this school year. Half of the underclassmen reading this have no clue what that truly means, but the seniors know it all too well. Underclassmen, you know how you usually hear a senior or two saying, “Can’t wait to leave this place,” or “Glad I get to graduate soon…Blah blah blah,” they’re lying (well, at least a good portion of them are).

    It’s an illusion to hide the fact that some of us aren’t ready to move on quite yet. It hits everyone in different ways. Some can easily move on to college, while for others it’s not that simple to just walk away from high school. It hit me much differently. No, I don’t plan on bawling my eyes out and crying during graduation, but it has made me reconsider how I spent my remaining time at Leesville. I’d had this realization early on that I had all the time in the world, but eventually you end up spending so much time on one thing that you end up neglecting something else. Balance and knowing when to let go is some knowledge that I wish I had been given years ago. After all, time is a precious commodity that few of us know how to spend wisely or thoughtfully.

    We aren’t promised another second in this world and for sure I’m guilty of taking advantage of that. Find your own balance, make some lasting memories, and learn how to let go when the time comes. back to top


Asia Yu-Robinson — Weight Training pushes Yu-Robinson to be the best

    “Asia you’re a ….” said one of the upper classmen as he pushed me aside so he could make his way to the locker room. What was my favorite memory of high school? My answer though [it] may seem churlish, remains the same as freshman year: being the only girl in Weight Training. During Healthful Living first semester, Coach Shock teased me incessantly about being registered for this all-boys class second semester. Having won a karate world championship two years prior, I was up for the challenge.

    Most of the boys ignored me, except when I wore tight pants. For the first time, I felt invisible, not knowing what to say to these macho guys. One day I was greeted with six guys, mooning me–thanks? Being in Weight Training taught me not to take any crap from anyone, be bold, be courageous and show all the guys I could do anything they could do, but better! I understand this is a simple class, but this class gave me the opportunities to push my way through not only high school, but life.

    Freshman year, I strived to win the superlative for best legs my senior year and for those who [don’t] know, I won! Sophomore year I dedicated most of my time to Sports Med and karate, and although I love Mrs. Ennis and the field of study, I really found a passion for education my junior year in PEPI. Junior year, I came up with a better strategy to win the senior class president spot!

Finally, [during] senior year I came to the realization that it doesn’t matter what class you did or didn’t take, how many games you won, [or] even how many Nikes shoes you have, but how you respond to the challenges thrown your way. So I’d like to thank all the rude and obnoxious boys in that class for teaching me, not only to be better than you guys, but to push myself and be the most resilient person. And to all the boys who mooned me, too bad there isn’t a superlative for best jerk because you definitely made one of yourself. back to top


Sean Nicol

    First off, senioritis is real. No matter how much you deny it or focus yourself in your studies, there will come a point during your senior year when everything changes — no, not a lack of motivation — but a new appreciation of this special time in our lives and what is important. Understand that as long as you believe in yourself and always try your very best, you will find success. Whether it be managing a daunting class schedule or chasing your dream job, invest in what you love to do. As Ferris Bueller says, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop to look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

      Well, when you’re a senior, you stop to look, and frankly, you see amazing things. Life is here, and you might as well live it doing what you love.

    Speaking of love, I had prepared an epic tale about the loss of a spectacle in my life, the beloved Delonghi toaster oven I grew up with. One day, I woke up and there was a new toaster oven in my kitchen, so I wrote about it. Oh, what a legend. I incorporated the cleverest of metaphors, scorned the blasphemy that is planned obsolescence, and of course, mentioned food, but no one needs to hear about my love of Eggos or the status of my kitchen appliances. I assume most of you already own a toaster oven; you already know how it feels.

    So the night before this [reflection] is due, I am scraping up something new because when senioritis finally caught me, I realized what is important: All of you guys and the lessons that you have taught me. I would not be the adventurer I am today if it weren’t for Marco giving me a propeller hat my freshman year, Sarah holding my hand, Zach redefining the word “bro”, or Nathan meeting me before 5 a.m. to talk about life on our morning runs.

    I wish that I had more than 400 words to thank everybody that has touched my life the past four years and more, but honestly, I can’t name everybody. Sometimes the most powerful acts of kindness are anonymous, but I’ll tell you one thing: Wake up everyday with the goal to put a smile on somebody’s face, and you just might fall asleep with a silly grin on yours. back to top


Emma Berg — “The time I took a dip in the third floor pool – and lived to tell about it”

    This story is a well-kept secret, for I have only told it to a few close friends. Well, it feels as good of a time as any to come clean and reveal all. I have been to the pool on the third floor. I have floated in its clear, blue, majestic waters.  Many LRHS alumni and upperclassmen will claim to have been and everyone remembers being told about this as a freshman. Of course, after the first few weeks at Leesville, this idea is dismissed. I too, dismissed the idea of the pool on the third floor.  I was a skeptic who became a believer.

    It was a warm day in early spring, 2015. It was a usual Friday in APES where we were supposed to go on a nature walk. Instead, mischievous as I am, I decided to swing a ride in the elevator and then take a long stroll to my nature site. All of the sudden, as I was on my way to the elevator, the sky grew dark and thunder began to boom and shake the sky. I dismissed this as a typical North Carolina heat storm. I stepped in the elevator and pressed the button to go up, even though I was already on the second floor. At that moment, lightning struck, and the elevator lost all power. Then, the elevator shot upwards and opened up. I stepped out and looked around. I saw a beautiful pool that is indescribable to the average person who has not visited it. Yes, I got in the pool for a few minutes but soon realized it was time to go (I wouldn’t want to be counted as skipping).  I got back in the elevator and pressed the down button and returned to the second floor. I stepped out and went back to class knowing I had seen something amazing.

    Since my experience, I have tried to get back to the little Leesville oasis, but to no avail. I have tried to share my story, but people tend to think I’m joking. Remember: you don’t always need to see to believe, friends.

    Please, share this story and contact me if you or someone you know has been to the pool on the third floor.



‘Twas the night before graduation, and all through the halls
Not a person was present, no student big or small
Our caps and gowns were laid out with care
In hopes that the morning would soon be there
The students were nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of diplomas danced in their heads
And I got into bed with blankets a wrap
and settled down for a long evenings nap-
When out on my dresser there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter
Away to my phone I flew like a flash
To hit snooze one more time and back to my bed I would dash
Then I fell into a deep little sleep
I dreamed memories of high school right after I counted the sheep
I remembered all my classes and teachers
Along with the awesome football games in the bleachers
I dreamt of the fun weekends with friends
And all our decisions that turned out okay in the end
I remembered the studying and procrastinating I did
For grades that I can never seem to get rid
I thought of the time we decorated our crowns
Everyone knew we were seniors, and the talk of the town!
Then senioritis hit and I didn’t think I’d return
After spring break I was unprepared to learn
Suddenly I woke up and realized the importance of my dream
And really pondered what it could mean
I realized that I’ll miss my high school days
Even though I felt so ready to move on from this place
To graduation I went with my memories so near
Ready to say my goodbyes, and move on with no fear
Crossing the stage, shaking hands, and sitting down
I couldn’t believe my school life had gone around
It was time to let go and embrace my new road
But I know Leesville is my foundation, which I have learned a great load
Dr. Mutillo took the podium, dressed in his robe
Standing up facing us, he rose
I heard him exclaim, right in my sight
“Congratulations to all, and to all a good night” back to top


Zach Walker — Walker reflects on embarrassing moments

    Ah, high school, the wonderful melting pot of awkwardness, adolescence, and teenage angst. It truly was a decent experience that I hope to one day look back at and laugh. Better yet- let’s laugh now. That’s right folks, this reflection is a good old fashion collection of some of my most embarrassing moments. Now, you may be saying “wow, this kid has a fundamental misunderstanding of what a senior reflection is” and you’re probably right. But it is important to remember that I have a fundamental misunderstanding of almost every activity I engage in, which you are about to find out. So, with that comprehensive disclaimer, here goes nothing:

    From almost being banned from Moes for filling a water cup up with soda to being questioned by administration for distributing old APES and Pre-Calc tests, I have had my fair share of embarrassing moments. But I would have to say one of my most embarrassing moments was earlier this year when I was a finalist for a full ride to Georgia Tech. Now this may sound all fine and dandy and you may even be thinking to yourself, “Dang, nice work.” Well let me stop you right there, because that is where the impressive aspect of this story ends, and the mortification begins. You see, all I had to do for the next step in the scholarship process was email a resume. Easy, right? Well you would be wrong, because somehow I emailed them a four page paper about lizards that I wrote in the 6th grade. Lizards. An essay which was not only poorly written and incorrectly formated but factually incorrect. So, to sum things up I sent a simplistic and falsified paper about a creature I described as “a close second to man’s best friend” to a high tier, scientific institution and did not realize I did so until weeks afterward. Needless to say I did not receive the scholarship. So, what did I learn from this? Well, I learned to double check your email before you press send, because mistakes happen. On a larger, more philosophical level I also learned that you have to be flexible enough to handle and cope with these mistakes- a pretty big lesson that Leesville ultimately taught me. But I am sure you don’t want to hear that, so let’s move on.

    Now, I think it’s vital that I mention that I am physically incapable of speaking English. To illustrate how I speak I need everyone reading this to participate in a short exercise. Simply pick any sentence, select a single word in said sentence, pronounce that word, and then proceed to smash literally every other word together into a continuous blurb of unintelligible noise. I hope you see the issue. Other than the fact that I am constantly repeating myself and people always love to bring up my speaking ability, it has been manageable. For some reason, however, someone decided it would be a good idea for me to speak in front of a large group of people at Senior Assembly. I will spare the traumatizing details of this public speaking excursion, but I do want to mention that this experience challenged me in ways I never expected to be challenged, and I have in turn grown as a public speaker. In some respects, I would argue that this has been a common theme throughout my Leesville experience.

    While all of our Leesville journeys have been extremely different, we have all no doubt faced hardships, trials, and awkward moments. But it is through these awkward moments that we grow as people and find the skills necessary to enter the world as citizens prepared for anything life throws at us, and with that I conclude sub par attempt at a senior reflection. back to top



Kathleen Kelly on Will Kelly — Reflecting on a son’s accomplishments

     As a family we have attended sporting events, plays, open houses, dance performances, award ceremonies, senior assemblies and more for 8 years now and we will miss it when it ends for us in June. During our time at LRHS we remained active PTSA members, joined the PAC and supported the school through volunteer work with concessions and the Social Committee.

 Will is the last of our three children to go through Leesville Road High School.

William came to LRHS from the Montessori School of Raleigh where he had been an inquisitive student since the age of three. Will was always a curious boy who loved to learn for the sake of learning and understanding…The summer before he started at Leesville, he and his oldest sister mapped out an academic plan for his high school years. He challenged himself by taking as many mathematics, science, and higher-level classes as possible at each grade level. William has always been an easy kid to parent because he has a strong sense of right and wrong, a solid work ethic, and an internal desire to succeed. We are incredibly proud of our son and his many accomplishments.

“Wisdom is knowing the right path to take…Integrity is taking it.” -M.H. McKee back to top

Stephanie and Shane Yount on Parker Yount 

    As [we] reflect on [Parker’s] time at Leesville, we are filled with many emotions.  We saw him arrive at Leesville from middle school and mature into a young man who has embraced almost every opportunity offered to him during his high school time. From four years of awesome soccer with Coach Dink, to playing football for the first time in his life as a kicker, to the creation of his “weather enthusiast” Twitter account (@weatheryount), and not to forget his wonderful experiences with Mr. Broer and the newspaper staff just to name a few – Parker has, without a doubt, embraced the Leesville community.

    Often [we] wondered if he was too involved and why couldn’t he say “no” when asked to participate in yet another club or meeting. But Parker strongly felt that it was his obligation to enthusiastically support his school and with Leesville PRIDE!  We know as parents that Leesville has prepared Parker to embrace the next stage of his life at THE University of North Carolina, where he will attend in the fall.

    From Leesville’s rigorous academics, to the school’s abundant possibilities for involvement, Leesville has impressed on Parker the importance to both “engage fully” and to “give back abundantly.”  We have seen unknown passions emerge from the tweeting of “play by plays” at the varsity sporting events for the Mycenaean, to providing daily weather forecasts for his many @weatheryount followers.  For him, high school has been about discovering himself and his passions.  Parker is leaving Leesville with confidence, academic knowledge, judgement, and compassion — and we know those character traits will equip him for the rest of his life.

One final forecast for our @weatheryount son….  

“May the sun always shine upon you, may you feel the wind at your back, and may you always know where to find your shelter from the storm.”   back to top


Breda and Dave Phillips on Leesville — Leesville provides community for parents

    As a parent of two public school students, one [who] graduated three years ago and Anna about to, it’s an interesting exercise to reflect on a total of 16 years. I’ve sometimes forgotten that there would come a time when I would not have one of my children in Leesville Road Elementary, Middle or High School, but that time is fast approaching.  

     The K through 12 Leesville experience spans a period of human development during which one’s identity is molded and formed more than any other 13 year period in one’s life, and it starts with being thrown into a collective that is remarkably diverse. That diversity will remain throughout.

     While students navigate the social and cultural landscape, parents too become gradually more invested in what is truly a community. Just as students become accustomed to seeing each other in class, Cubs Choir, or Chess Club, parents form circles around their children’s activities. After six years in the elementary school comes the first big leap to Leesville Middle. I’ve always said that middle school covers that period when kids could not be any more cruel toward each other. If there’s a time when your kid will say, “I don’t ever want to go back there”, it’s middle school.  Fortunately, there is a light on the horizon, and it’s high school.  

     After surviving middle school, high school finally allows everyone to carve out their own space.  First, I could marvel at performances by the Dance Ensemble and appreciate the sense of connection between the lacrosse or football team and those in Sports Medicine. Later, it was appreciating all the hard work from theater tech. And then there was the band, a group of people Anna looks forward to seeing every day. Marching and Symphonic band were as much fun to watch develop as they were to listen to. As with any endeavor as large as some of these, support from the parents was critical. LRHS offered nearly as many opportunities for parents to participate, as for students. I chaperoned two overnight trips over 16 years and found that the experience is much different with Anna and high school band members at Disney compared to 4th graders at Pine Knoll Shores. My how they change in about 10 years, and they change into a remarkable group of young adults ready to take their next steps into the world. I’m fortunate to have seen my kids and their friends grow up in the community that is Leesville Schools.back to top


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