“Hanging” Up the High School Years

By Rachel Walker

Writing a reflection seems easy enough, but trying to condense everything learned and experienced in the last 12 years is a bigger struggle than it may appear. As I pondered what to possibly write about, I thought back to my elementary school, Marshall Lane. 

From kindergarten until fifth grade, my mom spent her early mornings organizing the lost and found at Marshall Lane. The lost and found before my moms TLC was piled high with miscellaneous items other kids at my school had lost. Seeing the dire need for an efficient lost and found, my mother stepped in unprompted. From the goodness of her heart, she traveled to many different stores, finding the perfect hangers for each clothing item and lovingly sorting each stranded object by color. Every morning when teachers asked, “Is Christine still here?” The answer was always, “Yes, she’s organizing the lost and found.” Evidence of her work still remains (the photo from my 5th grade yearbook does too). 

As I reflect on this memory, I take away four main points from her actions. 

  1. We aren’t always aware of the impact that our small actions have on others; kindness goes a long way. At the start, she organized from the kindness of her heart, and in return many children found their lost items. The hangers she bought are still there, continuing to help kids find their possessions. She never knew the impact it would have on all the kids (or me), but she spent her time organizing it anyway. 
  2. Everyone feels lost at one point or another. In three months, that feeling will return for many seniors as we embark on the “real world.” The important thing to remember is you aren’t lost forever. It’s not just called lost, it’s the lost and found. Sometimes it will take longer to find your place in life, but eventually you will be found or cared for, being lovingly hung on a hanger. You will find your place and you will be found; though it may take some time, you will fit in. For the time being, enjoy the moment. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to come along and hang you back up. 
  3. You are never alone. The lost and found never has just one item that has been lost, it has multiple. Others feel just as lost as you. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others—who knows? It could blossom into a friendship. Finding others with common interests is a great way to find community and feel a sense of belonging. 
  4. Cherish the moments you have.  You never know what the next day will bring. You don’t expect to lose your favorite hoodie, but it happens, so cherish the time you have with friends and family. 

Goodbyes suck. 

In less than five weeks, I’m graduating with the same kids I’ve known since my time at Marshall Lane. As I write this, holding back tears, all I can think is how lucky I am. As Winnie the Pooh said, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbyes so hard.”

Thanks to my mother’s work in the lost and found, I begin my own lost and found journey. Although she will be there to hang me back up, I have found a community, a place to feel found. With the four life lessons in mind, I prepare to hang up my high school journey to start my next journey: college.