Ten years ago today, I graduated from George Washington High School Media and Communications. I’m part of the 2010 Media and Communications graduating class. Wow! Unbelievable that it’s been ten years since I graduated from High School.
I remember it was a Friday. We were going to graduate at 1pm at the school’s auditorium. When I left my house to go to graduation, I remember people saying to me in the streets, “Congratulations.” I felt famous walking those 12 blocks hearing those compliments.
My Senior picture for the yearbook.
Out of all the graduations I’ve been part of, this was the most emotional graduation where I felt happy but sad at the same time. Kindergarten, 5th grade, 8th grade, and even college, I was extremely overjoyed of graduating. Not High School. I was sad on the inside because I knew that things were not going to be the same. All of us are going into our separate ways. I’ve built relationships, especially during my Senior Year, and I was going to miss some of these individuals.
Senior year is one of the best school years I’ve witnessed in my lifetime. Yes, the first half of Senior year was stressful because of applying for colleges, writing a college essay, financial aid, etc. However, there was also the fun side. I enjoyed having a short schedule, all the Senior activities, the Senior Trip to Six Flags, which happened the day after my 19th birthday, Prom, and the list goes on.
Before I continue with how graduation went down for me, I need to take it back to Freshman Year. Why? Because one decision could’ve changed this whole story.
When I got to G-Dubs in 2006, I was always told by people that it’s a mistake to go there. It’s a bad school. There’s too much gang activity etc. Honestly speaking, Dubs was not my priority. I was trying to go to Randolph or Manhattan Center. But Dubs fell into my lap. I figured that I’m going to try out for the Baseball team. That was my biggest motivation going into dubs. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, haha.
The first couple of days of Freshman year, I was nervous and timid. So many new faces. At first, I planned to hang out with any familiar face that went to Junior High School with me. I did find a few of them during the Lunch period. Some of the people that went to Junior High School with me were on the Law and Public Service floor. Our floor Media is on the 1st floor, Business on the 2nd, Health on the 3rd, and Law on the 4th floor.
Freshman year wasn’t fun for me at all. I dealt with a lot of disrespect, humiliation, and I even fought once in the lunchroom. I could’ve fought so many times in High School. Trust me, haha. I don’t like to feel disrespected, but I stopped myself from escalating the situation because I knew that one small issue could lead to something big. Many people looked at me as a “soft” dude, but I was always smart to get out of potential messy problems. I didn’t want to build a bad reputation in school. Anyone who has gone to school with me knows that I’m quiet, friendly, and focused on getting the work done.
By the end of Freshmen year, I wanted to get out of Dubs. I had my eye on Norman Thomas. My sister Melissa went there. In the 2000s, Norman Thomas didn’t have a good reputation as a school, either. The difference was that my sister was there and was profoundly respected by her friends, which they would show that same respect to me. Therefore, I felt it was a no-brainer to transfer there. God had his reasons why he didn’t allow me to relocate there. It also took Melissa and my cousin Oniel, who also attended G-Dubs but was in Health, who convinced me to stay in Dubs. It was a tough pill to swallow, but I decided to stay. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made. If I had transferred, I never would’ve met Kevin Rodriguez. If I had transferred, I never would’ve met Katherine Ureña. If I had transferred, I never would’ve met Mr. DeMarco, Ms. Brock, Ms. Wohland, etc.
My greatest classmate in high school and one of the most underrated members of our graduating class. Funny, smart, patient, and a person who will tell you the truth even when you don’t want to hear it. We met in freshman year, but we didn’t fully get to know each other until the second half of Junior year: we were in Chemistry Lab. Kevin and I been friends for 11 years and counting. We talk almost every day about anything. My best friend, my brother, my counselor, my script consultant, haha. True brotherhood! Sky’s the limit for you, my guy! Love you, man.
PS. AWWWW SHIT!!! (I won’t go into detail behind the meaning of this, hahaha)
I’m going to try to make this one short because I don’t want to get emotional. Katherine is one of the sweetest and most beautiful human beings I’ve ever met. She was my best friend, but more like my little sister. She brought out the best in me, and I learned so much from her. I love and miss her very dearly—a true angel on earth.
The D-Train! Senior year was great to us because we witnessed the Yankees winning the World Series, and the Lakers beat the Celtics in a classic Game 7. Kobe (Rest in Peace) got his 5th ring. We bonded well when it came to Sports. One of my most memorable memories of this guy happened to be for my 19th birthday. I invited several friends for a birthday dinner, and he was the only one who made an effort to see me, haha. We hung out for a little bit. He’s doing great things with his life, and I’m happy for him.
Many people would criticize or wish terrible things on their ex, but that’s not me, especially if I once liked the person a lot. Zunachy, who was my then-girlfriend in Senior year, was one of the biggest reasons why Senior year was great and memorable. As teenagers, we went through many trials and tribulations. When Kat passed away, she took the time to write to me and was there for me at the funeral. She’s gone off to do many great things for herself, and I’m happy to see the woman she’s become today.
Thanks to Kevin, I was able to meet Mr. DeMarco. I didn’t have him as a teacher. Although I wish I did for a film class. When I wrote two of my short films, “The Grade” and “Bittersweet Holiday,” I sent my scripts to DeMarco, and he was able to provide me with some helpful feedback to strengthen my script. He’s very knowledgeable about films. He makes you want to listen to him. I can’t thank him enough.
The great B-Rock! Just like DeMarco, Ms. Brock is one of those teachers I wish I had in high school. However, I’m so happy that I got to meet her and build a relationship even after high school. After I left G-Dubs, anytime there’s Parent-Teacher Conference, I would take advantage to go back and visit, and Ms. Brock is one of those teachers that I have to see. She’s an awesome person. I cherish all the conversations we’ve had.
I waited last to talk about Ms. Wohland. I have so much love and respect for her. I was fortunate to have her as my teacher in 10th grade, but it wasn’t until Senior year where our relationship blossomed. She was my college advisor. On prom day, when everyone was going to the Salon, barbershop, etc., I was in the college office along with Ms. Wohland. At this point, I had no college offers. I told Ms. Wohland that I don’t want to settle for a 2-year community college, and I don’t want to take a break. Are there any colleges that are still accepting students? Ms. Wohland gave me three options: Berkeley College, Monroe College, and Mercy College. I quickly started researching all three schools, and Mercy seemed like the best choice because I wanted to study Journalism. I applied and faxed my transcripts to Mercy College. Two days later, I got the news that I got accepted to Mercy College. If it weren’t for Ms. Wohland’s guidance and patience, I probably wouldn’t start college until January. I’m happy that everything worked out the way it did. Ms. Wohland will always have a special place in my heart.
Now, let’s go back to talk about graduation.
When I walked into the auditorium and saw families and friends flashing pictures with smiles on their faces, the moment started to sink in even more. By the time I got to my seat, it didn’t help that one of my classmates, Emmi Mendez, tears, started to flow down her cheeks. She was sitting two seats away from me. I had to turn around. About an hour later or so, I hear Jay-Z’s “Young Forever” song playing on the TV screen, and the visuals are the hallways of our Media floor. To this day, I don’t know how I managed to take it all in because it is one of the most emotional moments of the graduation. The song itself makes you want to cry.
After the ceremony, it was picture time. I tried to grab as many people as possible to take pictures. It was also the nerve-wracking moment because I’m going to introduce my girlfriend to my family for the first time. High School graduation is one of those graduations where I didn’t want to leave at all. Eventually, after taking pictures with your classmates and family members, you have to go somewhere to eat with your family.
My family and I went to La Casa De Mofongo on 181st. During the whole time, we’re there; I’m thinking, “Man, I’m going to College. I’m entering a whole new world.” It was an emotional day for sure.
On April 11, 2019, I was invited to Career Day. I never would’ve imagined that I would be back to speak to students about my career and drop some knowledge: an unforgettable experience, unforgettable day.
I’m glad that I’m still here. Alive and healthy to see the 10th anniversary of our High School graduation. Our graduation class is one of the best Media classes, but also the one class that took so many devastating blows.
After graduation, we lost four members of our graduating class. I want to take this time to acknowledge the memory of each of these four individuals:
Franklin “Lenny” Ramirez
G-Dubs and Media Class of 2010 will always be a part of me. High School taught me a lot about strength and mental toughness. I went through the good, the bad, and the ugly in those years, but I came out on top. I’m going to end this article with this:
Graphic Designer: Geordano Abreu