It was only a while ago, on Friday, March 13, that I sat at a table in the quad at Eagle Rock High School for what would, unbeknownst to me, be the last time.
That day, the announcement came that schools would not open the following Monday. Within a few weeks, rumors of a virtual graduation turned from speculation to reality. Prom and Grad Nite were cancelled. Those of us in the Class of 2020 are saying our goodbyes as we reflect on a high school career that has ended so strangely.
Even so, I can’t help but smile as I think back on how lucky I’ve been to experience the past six years – one-third of my life – at Eagle Rock Junior/Senior High School.
No matter who you are or what path you take, high school is a time of self-development and memorable experiences – fond or otherwise.
I had the added opportunity during high school to write each month for the Boulevard Sentinel, sharing a piece of my mind with the town I’ve lived in and loved my whole life. My gig with the Sentinel has been a defining part of my high school reality. The columns provided a soapbox to a young girl with a lot of ideas and a voice that needed projecting.
I wrote of shaved heads, the closed Taco Bell (which I still await eagerly to reopen) and backyard punk shows. I wrote about holiday controversies and civil disobedience and school shootings. I also got to write about my school, my home away from home. I had the pleasure of interviewing longtime Eagle Rock residents like Mel Simmons and Doris Thielen.
In my first article, in October, 2016, I emphasized that I wanted my column to capture the spirit of this town as seen through the eyes of an Eagle Rock youth. Now, as an 18-year old heading to college – UC Santa Barbara, here I come – my perspectives have grown up along with me.
It was as fun as it was challenging, finding a new take to write about every month. I juggled writer’s block, a pie shop job, school stress, deadlines I never could make – and shared a part of myself every step of the way. To be able to do so has let me uncover a passion for writing that I will continue to practice and pursue.
As I get ready to move on, I am flooded with profound feelings of gratitude towards those who allowed and encouraged me to write. To Tim Tritch, Mary Lynch and Tracey Hendrickson: I thank you all for the endless opportunity and guidance you provided me, for without you none of this could have been possible.
Though high school ended abruptly and my graduation speech may never be spoken on a stage, I look forward to seeing what I’ll have to say as I venture beyond the limits of my hometown.
Lani Tunzi is a senior at Eagle Rock High School.
For the price of a morning coffee you can help us to keep the Boulevard Sentinel going.
If you can, please contribute now.