Then vs Now

Published: May 13, 2022



If there is one thing that you can say is a universal experience for all seniors, its that every single one of us has experienced change. Change has been a defining part of our lives from that first day of high school in Aug. 2018. From the moment everyone entered those doors, we knew our lives were going to be different, but just how different they were is something that could have never been foreseen.

Our predecessors who came before us experienced a much different FHN than we have experienced. In the fall of 2018, FHN experienced major changes that started with a staffing change which influenced many other components. Fall of 2018 is when former FHN Principal Dr. Nathanael Hostetler took over the position of head principal. To many, he was considered the turning point for FHN and was one major influence behind the high school experience that we were able to have. He took office and things like bathroom escorts rules were lifted and the number of fights in school drastically decreased. He built a strong sense of community here and it was evident in nearly every aspect of high school.

One thing that sometimes gets overlooked, given all of the focus on it in recent years, is that fact that there were times before the onset of COVID-19. During our freshman year, ‘business was usual,’ so to speak. The typical high school experience that many imagine is the one that seniors got to experience for a short time. Things like in-person assemblies were a much more common occurrence and a packed stadium for a football game was not unheard of. Especially when they were home games and they were themed. FHN could host dances in the gym without the worry of spreading COVID and people couldn’t wait to buy their ticket at lunch. The number of clubs was once much larger than it is now and participation in those clubs was also much larger. Clubs like NHS, Quill & Scroll and other volunteer-based clubs also had much more activity. There were more opportunities for students to volunteer in-person both in and out of school. School in general seemed to be more active and engaging.

Along those same lines, they were things that we as freshman were looking forward to and things we couldn’t wait to participate in. One of the things that was likely on many people’s mind was the excitement of driving. Nearly every underclassmen couldn’t wait to get their permit, their license and a car. It can be one of the keystones of high school and one of the turning points in a teenager’s life. Another thing was the infamous ‘upper level.’ This is the level of the commons that is unofficially for only upperclassmen. While not always followed, the rule was still something that many abided by and gave us something to look forward to in the future. Similarly, while not a spoken rule, the ‘junior-senior battle’ was something that only upperclassmen got to do at assemblies. We were waiting for our chance to get to scream “two two two two” across the big gym bleachers at the junior class. Finally there were the smaller academic things like getting to leave early for the work program, taking easy classes as a senior (assuming credits were taken care of) and getting final exam exemptions.

This list of things only begins to scratch the surface of what ‘then’ high school was. While ‘normal’ no longer has any solid and steadfast definition, the experiences that we had in our early high school experiences were what could be considered normal. They were things that could be expected and things that you heard about from the seniors of late. They were things that, when you were younger, looked forward to and got excited for. 

One of the things that many of us have heard at one point or another in one form or another is ‘these will be the fastest four years.’ While we all have heard this message countless times, it is rarely believed. We tend to not believe it because we don’t want it to be true. When in reality, that phrase that we’ve heard countless times, is in fact true. Looking back, it may seem like just yesterday that we were just those new freshman standing terrified to walk in on the first day of school, those freshman who had no idea what they were getting themselves into. Now we are those seniors looking back on our experience, reminiscing on the ‘good ‘ol days’ and comparing life now to what it once was.


What college to go to? What place to live? What amount of student loan debt to take out? Four years have come and passed so quickly. These four years have been the most crucial to our development of relationships, people skills and finding where we belong. No matter where we choose to go, right here right now we are creating the future that will be passed onto the next generation. It’s important to look around and see just how far our high school experience has taken us. 

What do our assemblies look like? For two years, we had no in-person full class assemblies, we didn’t have an opportunity to show our school pride and seniority over every other grade. But this year, the gymnasium was packed, the spirit wear adorned our chests and the memories we shared were brought with thunderous applause. We are a completely different group from the first assemblies where hardly anyone dressed up and few participated in any spirit weeks. We’ve demonstrated how far our class is willing to go in order to profess our school spirit. And we do this in stride. We take pride in exemplifying what it means to be a knight in every fashion, including on the dance floor.

What do our dances look like? For seniors, this past dance was an opportunity to relive those memories that were made freshman and part of sophomore year. Those that won snowcoming and homecoming king and queen are solidified in the history of our school just as the years passed. We have now left our mark, our record of what and who we want to represent our school. We are now the people that return for football games or simply to visit teachers that we adored. Now is the time to show how much we can create resonating memories in our teachers’ lives that last a lifetime. A lifetime that sometimes seems a bit shadowed at times. 

What has impacted us up until this point? There’s no getting around it Covid-19 had a piece in all of our lives. It forced students to go online. No one expected that it would overshadow our sophomore and junior year. However, when we look towards today, it has shown how much we can come together. Regardless of beliefs students came together to make others feel safe, wearing masks, and today we are living in a world of relative normalcy. We surpassed one of the greatest challenges we will likely face in our lives. This chapter has crafted a perfect story to tell to our kids, we are now Francis Howell North students bonded in an event that has shaped the entire world. Luckily, we have found ways to stay connected.

What connects us? Every one of us is involved in some way shape or form within our FHN community. We now are the TAs running the classrooms, the students that pop into random teachers’ classes, the stressed out applicants in Prestidge’s office and the students that fill the officer positions of nearly every club across the student body. We all have our voices and methods that we use to speak out. This bonds us. We have the power that only comes from the experience we have gained these past four years. That experience is why the future is so bright. 

What did we look forward to? When we were little freshmen, we thought of driving, we thought of the great beyond. Now look at us today, the places we have explored, the music we listen to and all the wonderful things we hope to accomplish. While there may have been some bumps along the road, or in some cases bumps against people’s cars in the parking lot, we’ve grown as human beings. It’s important to look at some of the ways that we as seniors have changed and become the good that will benefit the world for years to come.  








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