Lee Smith

"On March 13, I sat in the parking lot of Washington-Liberty High School and wished my high-school career goodbye."
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Lee Smith performing with Arlington Indoor Percussion

To put it simply, my high school experience is not going the way I planned. Having the great finale—the culmination, the climax—cut off so quickly and so sharply, was so far from what I have been expecting since I was younger.

On March 13 at 3:03 p.m., I sat in the parking lot of Washington-Liberty High School and wished my high-school career goodbye. This was before the official announcement that school was closing. It was before many major events were cancelled. There was just this feeling that day, reminiscent of the anticipation of the final bell on the last day of the school year. But it was a scarier, more eerie feeling. I just knew.

However, there were many things I didn’t know would be over so fast.

Like my indoor percussion group, an ensemble that each year spends roughly five months crafting a six-minute performance. As it turned out, we had our last run-through of the show on March 9. That was the last time I would get to carry my snare drum, perform with those friends and march the formations.

And my youth group, a regional collective of about 200 teens who spend weekend-long events learning about social justice topics, exploring the Jewish faith and creating lifelong friendships. We had our last event on January 17. Little did I realize that would be the last time I would engage in the rich traditions that hold our community together—like singing, talking about our mascot, Moishe Moose, and having the ceremony of Havdalah at the end of the week.

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Lee Smith performing with W-L’s Symphonic Band

My school’s symphonic band, a group I played with for four years, had its last rehearsal on March 12. That was the last time I set up the percussion equipment, heard the beautiful music emanating from our instruments, did a big timpani roll during our playing of “To the Summit” by Robert W. Smith, and goofed around with the other percussionists in the back of the room.

There were so many things I did this year that I never realized would be the last. My high school career has been left unfinished, incomplete and open-ended.

With so many others experiencing the same type of loss, I hope that my generation will use this experience to cherish everything we do like it could be our last time doing it.

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