Category Archives: Seniors

Dispelling the Myths of High School

CarolineKurzawa, Staff Reporter

As senior year comes to a close, I have come to realize how much of what I believed about high school turned out to be a myth, whether it was about the academic or social aspects. Below, I have laid out what I believe to be the top ten high school myths.

You have more freedom in high school.

While this may be partly true, you are still viewed as a child who needs guidance and discipline, so don’t get your hopes up about high school being a free for all. It’s still a structured learning environment.

Your friend group will stay together forever.

This can be true, but more often than not, people drift apart once they begin taking different classes or become interested in other things.

It’s the best time of your life.

High school has some highlights, but it’s a stepping stone for another part of your life. It’s there to transition you to the next step, whether it’s college, a job or joining the military. The best parts of your life will probably happen after high school.

High school grades determine your college choices.

Yes, how well you do in school matters, but it is not the deciding factor as to whether or not you will attend your dream school. Most of the time your extracurriculars and personal essays also matter a great deal.

Every grade matters.

No, they don’t. This is not to say that you shouldn’t try to maintain good grades. It simply means that maybe not doing as well as you wanted to on a quiz or a test is okay now and then. It tells you what you need to work on.

The teachers want you to fail.

It’s the exact opposite. It’s their job to see you succeed. It’s what they want the most. Sure, some teachers are harder to approach than others if you’re looking for extra help, but they still want the best for you.

You’ll miss it when you graduate.

Most likely, no. You won’t miss it because you are in the next step of your life. High school did what it could for you, and you just won’t miss the lockers or smell of teenage stink.

There aren’t cliques.

Cliques are unavoidable, but sometimes they’re not a bad thing. A lot of the time, a clique is a group of friends who have either known each other for a long time or have bonded over a common interest.

It’s about the same workload you’re already used to.

One thing I was definitely not ready for when I started high school was the amount of work, and not just homework, but projects and class work too. I don’t know why no one tells you how much work high school can be, but it’s a bunch, especially if you are taking an honors or AP class.

It’s the worst.

No, it’s not the worst. Sure, there are some things that are not the most fun, but for the most part, most people will find either a class or an extracurricular that excites them and makes them want to wake up in the morning. The hard part is figuring out what that is because without something to be passionate about, high school can be four, long years of waiting.



It’s Garbage Day!

GraceSassaman, Staff Reporter

Minimalism is not a radical, unachievable lifestyle. Minimalists can’t usually fit all of their belongings into a single backpack; they can own furniture, full bookshelves, technology and more than a week’s worth of clothing. A key ingredient to minimalism is deciding which of your belongings are necessities and which are not.

This is especially relevant to seniors who will shortly be sharing a crowded dorm with another person. Whether you like it or not, you won’t be able to bring everything you own to college, and your parents probably don’t want to keep your clutter stored away either.

Many people are dismissive of the idea of minimalism and are hesitant to cut down so drastically, but you can start simply. A beginner’s tip is to throw away duplicates. Do you really need a hairbrush for your bathroom, one for your car and another for your purse? Throw those boys away.

Another way to slowly transition into a simpler lifestyle is by being more mindful with your purchases. It’s easy to fall for the convenience and inexpensiveness of those sweaters encountered at the mall, but before you buy another mediocre item, remember that the cheap polyester blend unravels after two washes. If you just save your money for a little bit longer, you can buy the perfect piece that you love. Minimalism is about owning solely the things that you treasure. If you truly think you treasure everything you own, then you can keep all your stuff.

Of course, everyone’s most prized possessions are different. But when you start cutting down, it’s easier to get rid of more. Most people are willing to donate a pile of clothes every year, especially seasonal ones. Maybe you don’t really need that Christmas sweater just in case you’re invited to a tacky sweater party. Just-in-case possessions are great to feel secure, but they usually just collect dust. But who knows? Maybe you will need that lone sock, just in case its long-lost match rolls out of the dryer in a few years.

Not only will minimizing simplify your living space, but it will also encourage you be more thankful for what you have. The goal is not to own the bare necessities for survival; it’s to keep only the belongings that add value to your life–which is a different amount for different people. It is liberating to cut down on possessions. There’s no wrong way to downsize. It’ll make it easier to clean your future dorm and save you money from mindless purchases in the long run.

Senior Spots: Heather Law

JaydenChin, Staff Reporter

Heather Law is a unique, dedicated student who has been recognized with a number of great achievements during her time at Chattahoochee. She has not only demonstrated excellence in academics but also in debate where she holds the honorable position of Officer.

Which one of your extracurriculars do you take the most pride in?

I take the most pride in being the founder and President of the National Chinese Honors Society, which I have spent countless hours on running the group with some of my closest friends. I am also the Vice President of the World Language Club and the Brain Bee Club, which I take great honor in as well.

How have you managed to balance your extracurriculars with your school, academic life?

I always make it a priority to get ahead every time I get the chance. The courses I take could be described as difficult but none of it is new to me. My commitment to debate and my clubs gives me the motivation I need to be the best I can be in all of my courses.

What would you say is your most prestigious accomplishment during high school?

Honestly, everything I have done was to get accepted into my dream school. I recently decided to attend New York University and study International Business at the campus in Shanghai, China.

What inspired you to make this choice?

I have always seen the world as so big. I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel to a number of international countries and developed a passion for the many diverse cultures our planet holds.

Senior Spots: Carlos Castillo

JaydenChin, Staff Reporter

Carlos Castillo has shown that he is one of Chattahoochee’s finest. He is a committed member of our marching band and indoor drumline. He also holds an active role in his participation in Beta Club, Physics Club and Science Olympiad.

What extracurriculars are you currently involved in?

I am in the Hooch marching band and indoor drumline and have been invested in it for the past few years. I’ve competed in many competitions and would have never met some of my best friends if it wasn’t for the band.

How do you find the time to manage both your school life and extracurriculars?

I’ve always been a structured person. I made sure to get all of my work done as soon as I could in order to maintain both my academic and extracurricular stature. Priorities are important to have and I’ve known for some time now what mine are.

What is your most prestigious accomplishment in High School?

I was one of the only two students to get accepted into MIT. I was accepted early into Georgia Tech and I am still waiting to hear from Stanford but I will most likely study Mechanical Engineering at MIT next fall.

What inspires you to pursue this career?

I grew a passion for mechanical engineering during my time in the class here at hooch, and now I have the opportunity to study it in the best program in the country.

Second Semester Senior Suggestions

OliviaErickson, Editor-in-Chief

As the Class of 2018 enters the second semester of their senior year, much of the motivation that has driven us for the past three and a half years feels like it might be running out. Commonly given the moniker “senioritis,” this extreme loss of motivation and drive to put effort and pride into one’s work affects nearly all second-semester seniors. Despite the jokes made about the affliction, its widespread effects are overall very detrimental to seniors’ academic performance. Although most people have applied, or even received acceptances, to their respective colleges, it is important to keep your academic performance high for other reasons.


  1. Scholarships: According to the Chattahoochee High School counseling department, the majority of scholarship money is given out in the Spring Semester. You should put energy towards your grades and applications for scholarships to ease the financial burden on your parents or on your future self. There are scholarships for just about everything now, so you can really get a lot out of applying.
  2. Maintaining pride in your work: Although this may be a lame one, it is a legitimate reason. Some of your teachers may be writing recommendations for college or scholarships for you, and losing all motivation the second half of the year doesn’t exactly impress anyone. Additionally, the work you turn in still represents who you are as a student. If this has ever mattered to you, it should continue to matter through the last six months.
  3. Summer programs: Many summer programs, such as internships or academic summer opportunities, look at your grades and participation in community and club events throughout your senior year of high school, including the second semester. If there is any possibility you might want to spend your summer doing something other than watching Netflix and playing video games, try to keep your grades up and your participation high.
  4. Graduate school: If you plan to go to graduate school, you should already know how competitive it is and how much more competitive it is getting. Some graduate programs require a high school transcript in which they pay the most attention to your higher level classes, yeah, the ones you take your junior and senior year. That seventy-four you got in AP Physics might not impress your dream school’s admissions counselor.
  5. Developing a work ethic to carry you into college: Similar to the “maintaining pride” reason, this one isn’t exactly cool. However, it is probably the most important reason on this list. In college, you can’t take a test without studying or never do homework and pull out an eighty-eight by the end of the year. Throughout your final semester of high school, keeping up your work ethic is more important than ever because this work ethic will follow you into the most academically important four years of your life.


Obviously, it is very easy to give up on your grades and activities and to give in to the hype of “senioritis” in those final six months of high school. However, working hard and staying involved with your community can have great benefits for you that might even set you apart from others. If you’re about to be a second semester senior, stay motivated! You got this!

College Alternatives

HannahKornegay, Features Editor

The time of year when students consider how they want to continue their education after high school is rapidly approaching. For some professions, such as teaching and engineering, college is absolutely the right and necessary choice, but that may not be the route that every student needs to set for themselves based on their interests and goals. For students who are unsure whether or not the traditional four year college experience is right for them, here are a few alternatives:


There are some students who have the keen insight and imagination needed to forgo college and jumpstart their careers immediately after high school. With websites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe to lighten the burden of funding an entire business alone, there have never been more opportunities for entrepreneurs than right now.

Community College

For a lot of students, the idea of a community college instead of the traditional college campus seems unappealing. However, there are a lot of community college programs that allow students to get the same credits as a traditional college so that students can  work towards the future they want. There are a myriad of perks for going to a community college. For one, it saves tons of money. While that may not be something high school students appreciate now, it makes a world of difference to young adults hoping to start their lives without being weighed down by student loan debts. Attending a community college also makes the transition to college easier and allows a student to decide which path is right for them.

Trade School

Trade schools offer specific training for students who choose to perfect a specific skill or talent rather than the courses required by the college. Trade schools, which often require two years or less of training, correlate with the majority of America’s “blue collar” jobs, a term that has developed a negative connotation. The fact of the matter is that skilled labor is a factor of the job market that shouldn’t be overlooked. On top of the vocational training obtained in a trade school, often times, it’s a lot easier to secure a job after school. In addition, many skilled laborers are paid well in comparison to those who do attend a four year college.


There are always places for men and women who want to serve the country, and more than 100,000 students join the military right after high school. The benefits for joining the military instead of choosing to go to college include free health care, little to no living costs, a salary and paid tuition while in service. Though here are a long list of requirements for joining any branch of the military accompanied by an even longer list of risks, but the military is a very admirable alternative to college.

Gap Year

A gap year, a break usually between high school and college or between college and higher education, is rapidly becoming the reality for students who are unsure of  their next step after high school. During a gap year, a student could choose to do volunteer work in the form of a mission trip, save money to put towards college or travel to gain experience before they settle down and start their lives. A gap year gives students a mental break after the stresses of nearly thirteen years of continuous school. One of the major downfalls people attribute to a gap year is the sense of  not wanting to go back to school after their year is up.


Ultimately, it’s up to students to decide their own course based on the interests that apply to them. If that doesn’t correspond with the idea of attending a four year college, then there’s an abundance of other options to choose from.

How to: Apply to College

CarolineKurzawa, Staff Reporter

It’s that time of the year: the school year is in full swing, and most seniors have realized that it will be a busy fall. Not only are high school students dealing with the normal school year stress, but also the stress that comes with the college application process. It’s staring you in the face, and the days of childhood are over. You must now decide where you will spend the next four or more years of your life. So, relax. Take a breath and sit back while I walk you through the minefield that is the college application process.

For starters, you have to decide where you want to apply. If you are still unsure, I like bigfuture, a website sponsored by College Board. You can go through and set preferences for things you’re looking for in a college, and it will compile a personalized list. Next, find out how you can apply. Many colleges are available on the Common App or the Coalition Application, but others will have individual applications that can only be found on their respective websites. Then, you must fill out the application. It is best to have a copy of your transcript, SAT or ACT scores, Social Security number, counselor’s contact information, list of accolades and student resume at hand while filling them out, as this is the basic information most applications will require.

Additionally, applications will ask for a list of your extracurricular activities but don’t panic if you haven’t started your own business or founded a country. List the activities that are the most important and have had the most impact on your life. Preferably, it is best to include activities only from your high school years. When you describe the activities, make sure to give enough detail, so the admissions officers can have insight into the activity, especially if it is something new or different. Congrats! You have made it through a good portion of the application process, but there is still much more to do. It is a marathon, not a sprint, after all.

Another difficult portion of the application is the recommendations section. Many schools will ask for counselor and/or teacher recommendations. For teacher recommendations, the school will most likely specify that it must be a core teacher from your junior or senior year. If this is the case, think of one or two teachers (dependent on the college’s requirements) whose class you enjoyed and who you think will be able to accurately portray your character. When asking for a teacher recommendation, be polite and explain why you think they would write you the best recommendation. This is important: DO NOT add them as a recommender before asking them. It is common courtesy. Most recommendation forms are electronic, so you will be listing your teacher’s professional email. Then, they will be invited to write a recommendation for you. It is always a good idea to check in with them to see if they have received the email notification. Additionally, if your deadline is quickly approaching, a reminder can help. Most teachers are busy but want to help you achieve your next step. This is not to say that you should wait until the day of your deadline to ask. It is best to give teachers ample time to write a quality recommendation.

Moreover, some schools will require a recommendation from your counselor. For this recommendation, follow the procedure that your school sets. As a student at Chattahoochee High School, all seniors seeking a counselor recommendation for a college or scholarship must fill out a senior profile (a student resume) and a recommendation request form. These materials must be turned in together, and counselors are to be given at least ten school days to fulfill the request.Thus, be mindful of any deadlines the counseling office establishes. You have made it through one of the hardest parts. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The next part of most applications is sending a copy of your transcript. Again, this is on a college by college basis, so check with the institution. Most colleges require you to send it electronically, which can be done via Parchment. It is a free service that will electronically send your transcript to the colleges you select. Other colleges will require a paper copy, and this can usually be found in the counselor’s office. Additionally, check with your counselor. He/she may already plan to send it for you. Another piece of information that must be sent is your SAT or ACT scores, and these must come directly from the testing institution, either College Board or ACT. The scores are about $12 a piece to send if you did not select the colleges before you took the exam. Colleges provide their testing codes on their websites, so you can be sure that your score ends up in the right place. Additionally, you can choose to send your AP scores now, which are $15 if you did not specify to have them sent when you initially took the exam in May. Lastly, there will most likely be an application fee upwards of $50. Once you pay this, you are free to click the submit button. You did it! You hit submit and bore your heart and soul to the admissions office of your chosen colleges. Now what?

Now, you must anxiously await the results. Hopefully, you are accepted everywhere you apply, but if not, no fear. Things will fall as they may. While you wait, it is a good idea to search for scholarships, whether they are sponsored by a foundation or the school to which you applied. Websites like Chegg help filter the thousands of scholarships available to the ones that are just right for you. Additionally, it helps to stay organized. Find a way that works, so you are able to stay on top of all your deadlines, whether it is housing deposits, honors college or scholarships. Keep calm and apply on, and may the odds be ever in your favor.