Goodbye Green Level


A. Guo

Goodbye to the high school of Gators.

Dear Green Level,


This is goodbye from a member of your first-graduating class. We’ve gone through everything from a school transfer, to lockdowns and a global pandemic, to social justice movements and virtual academy, to a celebratory year back in school among tragedies. We’ve painted murals across your hallways, won state championships in music and sports, and completed musicals and meaningful conversations.


To be honest, my first impression of this school was very different from what I now know it to be. With an idealistic mind, I imagined a school that followed its own mission of equity and inclusivity. Yet, through three years of all the craziness that has occurred whilst being part of the student newspaper and other cultural organizations, I’ve realized it is much more complicated than that.


Creating change in high school has meant understanding the limits of high school journalism, understanding the priorities of school administration, and learning the common occurrence of performance. Through writing for the Gator’s Eye, leading and participating in various clubs, and sitting through class after class, I have tried to point out the cracks within an institution that claims it makes everyone belong. And while a few of my attempts created conversation, rarely any made its way to tangible change.


At the same time, it is not to say those conversations had no effect. Those were the dialogues that carried me through flights and flights of tiring stairs, connected me despite virtual screens, created meaningful class questions amidst Keurig coffee and chocolate, over scribbled notes before chemistry tests, swirled through my thoughts while watching sunrises before 7:20 AM in the library, and held my friends and our lunch on school floors and tables. Those conversations are what broke and healed and divided and tied our class. They may have separated us or made us frustrated, angry, and upset, but they are all experiences we went through together: memories we all share.


So I hope future classes have the chance to see those memories spread into more hope: remembering arguments in the form of movements instead of complaints against a wall; remembering acceptance instead of silence.


But for now, I am forever grateful to the friends, peers, parents, teachers, and staff we’ve been able to learn and grow from: to have these conversations with. The people who kept me, who kept us, alive and determined and cared for are those I will always be grateful for and indebted to. 


So to the community that has supported me, thank you and farewell,

Aida Guo