Julie Cleckler

See below for a link to Julie’s audio file.


Best Year Ever

I am now a senior in high school, and my class finally has the senior lounge. They all decided on painting the wall in the lounge using a Spongebob-theme with the words “Best Year Ever” written in the middle of it. I personally thought it was kind of dumb because I was fully convinced this year was going to be awful. Covid had already ruined the end of our junior year, and it was already messing a lot up for us at the beginning of our senior year, but little did I know that this would actually be the “best year ever.”

The first day coming back to school was exciting for me. I was not ready to be back for the school work, but I will admit I was excited to see some of my friends. It was really weird coming back seeing everyone wearing masks, having to “social distance,” and schedules being different with the new period called “flex time” in place of assembly. Other than that, everything was going great. Then our first Covid case hit. Two girls in my grade got Covid, and it sent over half of our class home for two whole weeks. I felt bad for the girls because everyone, including me for a minute, was mad at them. I look back now realizing it was not their fault, and we had no right to be mad at them. They just got sick-it happens-but, sadly, most people’s initial reaction was anger. 

That moment was the start of my senior year going downhill for a while. My grades dropped during our two-week quarantine and my motivation was gone. It was hard to bounce back from it all. I was fully convinced that our quote on the wall was a complete joke. 

I started accepting that this year was just going to suck either way so why not make the best out of it. Basketball finally came around, which is my all-time favorite sport. I struggled to get back into the sport, and it made things hard for me. I was out of shape, still struggling with motivation, and I wasn’t that close with my team. As the season went on, Coach Korielle constantly pushed and encouraged us as a team. He called us “his seven,” and you could tell he really cared about everyone individually on the team and wanted the absolute best for us. It rubbed off on me. I started to care more and enjoy everything a lot more, even outside of basketball. Our team got really close, and I made some of my closest friends through basketball. The season didn’t turn out exactly how we planned it to be, but it was definitely the best season of my life. 

Midway through the season was the moment when I started to believe in our class quote. Although things weren’t going the way I planned my senior year to go, I could still make the best out of it. 

One person that probably impacted me the most and completely made my year was Cailin Emma Campbell. Right before basketball season, I wasn’t talking to many people, and I didn’t hang out with anyone after school until her. She invited me to an Oxford football game with her and her friends, and I remember that night made me feel wanted and included for the first time in a while. We grew really close during basketball, and I made it my goal to help her grow during the season. I’ve never had someone like her before. She has made me feel loved and wanted, and I look up to her in every aspect. She is so outgoing, caring, loving, will always be there for me no matter what, and she is just the perfect role model for me. I’ve never been more blessed to have her in my life, and she really made this year the “best year ever.”

Although this year didn’t start off the best and multiple curve balls were thrown at me throughout, our class quote stood to be true. I learned so much through this year and fully believe I am the best version of myself that I have ever been, and I can thank no one else except for the people around me. Thank you to everyone who made this year the “best year ever.”

Please click on the arrow below to hear Julie’s Senior Reading.