Chapter 12: the epilogue


Brandi Marlin

Julia Smeltzer (R) with fellow Knight Crier staffers Spencer Heilveil (L) and Erik Jesberger.

Well, here we are. The first 13 years of my education are coming to a close, and I think I’m okay with that.

Never would I have imagined that my last day of school would be spent inside by myself. I imagined hugging all my favorite teachers and leaving the high school that I’ve called home for the past three years with a sense of pride and accomplishment, a sense of closure. But instead of celebrating in the classroom with my closest friends, I sit 6ft apart from them in the parking lot, reminiscing through our masks about the last three years.  I’ve already accepted what is going on; how this is my new normal. I’ve accepted that I’m not getting the traditional end of the year that I wanted, and I think we all have.

The only thing that is eating me up is not our alternative graduation or our virtual end of the year traditions, it’s how much I miss the people that North Penn put into my life.  I remember sitting on FaceTime with one of my friends and just saying how I missed my teachers and how I didn’t get to say goodbye to them. I imagined getting the yearbook that I was the editor of and going around to all my teachers on the last day and having them sign it, and I won’t get that. The teachers and mentors that I have gotten the chance to know over the past three years have made such an impact on my life and on my education. Even though I gave Mr. Shea an attitude way too many times in 10th grade Biology or visited Mrs. Sieller to fill her in on my day when she had much better things to do, it’s in the small moments with all of my teachers that are my favorite. I just want to thank them for everything they have done for me, and hopefully this article is the first step in showing how grateful I am to have had teachers like them. 

I realized that I’m not going to miss North Penn; I’m going to miss the people, teachers, and memories within those walls.

— Julia Smeltzer

I realized that I’m not going to miss North Penn; I’m going to miss the people, teachers, and memories within those walls. And If you would have told me three years ago that I would be where I am today, I would laugh at you. When I first walked through the doors at North Penn, I just wanted to be a part of something and create a name that no one would forget. I wanted to leave my footprint. Hopefully I have.

North Penn has taught me that it doesn’t matter how many friends you had, what clothes you wore, or what you did on the weekends. And I think I spent too much time in that mindset, especially during the first two years of  high school. I learned that high school is all about relationships and connections and making memories. I’m lucky enough to say that I can walk away from that high school knowing that I created all three of those things in that building that will last a lifetime. 

From being an awkward sophomore who had their schedule as their lock screen for the first couple of  months to being a graduating senior three years later, I wouldn’t have done anything different. Yes, I can say that I wish I participated in more clubs than I already was in or not have paid too much attention to petty little things. I don’t regret anything and I’m proud of who I am today, of who North Penn shaped me to be. My three years at North Penn didn’t look anything like High School Musical, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way. I  wish I could go back and just let 15 year old me know how great the next three years of her life are going to be, and to tell her to just soak it all in, because before you know it, you will be turning the tassel and walking away.

While every senior’s heart is a little broken, mine is getting pieced together. I’m ready to move on and to begin a new chapter, and I’m ready to say goodbye. I’m ready to move on because I have three years filled with memories and relationships that will never fade. This may not have been the ending I had written for myself three years ago, but it’s the ending that I’m getting, and I’m okay with that.

Over the past 13 years, I’ve been writing my own story. I’ve written 12 chapters that are filled with characters that have come and gone and chapters that were not so pretty to write. I’ve written chapters of this book that make me want to pause time and live in that moment forever. Unfortunately, I’ve written the last chapter, and it’s time to start a new book. But I couldn’t be more excited to see what I write next.

To my friends, thank you for allowing me to be myself and for being a part of my own story. I couldn’t have written it without you. To my parents, you’ve been my number one supporters from the day I started school and I hope I made you proud, I seriously couldn’t have done this without you. To the Knight Crier staff, I seriously don’t know how you tolerated me every morning, but you allowed me to be myself and to do what I love and I’m glad you all were with me along the way. And finally, to North Penn, thank you for everything you have given me and taught me. I will cherish it forever.

For the last time,

Julia Smeltzer.