Opinion

Presidential Perspective

GABE CASEY

ASB President (2021-2022)

Dear Associated Student Body

(of whom I am President),

Earlier this week, as I lay in bed omicron-stricken, disheveled and discombobulated, I found myself with the daunting and difficult task of encapsulating my entire high school experience into a few short paragraphs, to act as a pseudo “farewell address” for this month’s presidential perspective.

 I knew I was in for a challenge, to say the least. To not only find my words, and the motivation to collect and compile them in a coherent manner, but to choose what would and should be the focal point of my farewell. 

 Upon spending hours racking my brain into what exactly (statement, sentiment or point) should act as the culmination of my experience as a royal… (as a silver lining to the ordeal, being trapped to quarantine in my room afforded me no shortage of time to overwhelm myself in this endeavor) I realized, in my introspective imprisonment what highlighted my high school experience was exactly what I was currently being deprived of, and what set in my dreadful dissociation while I lie as a lump of feverish self loathing – my sociability! 

Admittedly, I couldn’t help but let the pressure get to me, and it was truly a tremendous relief when I came up with this double faceted measure of my success on campus (at least my definition of it, as I was never academically inclined enough to want to base my definition of a personal best based on grades) and furthermore: real advice I’d be able to impart upon anyone willing to listen, while further allowing me to honor my tradition of rambling about myself and my accomplishments extraneously. 

Image courtesy of Gabe Casey

As I bid my farewell to this campus and the way of life I have sustained thus far upon it, and with that, try to similarly summarize my successes and condense the challenges through which I have faced, persevered and learned from into a palatable read, I must immediately drive forth, with insistence, that a “successful” high school student, to truly hold themselves accountable to a standard of Royal Excellence (whatever this means to them) should aptly apply themselves socially just as rigorously as they work themselves academically. 

And by my extremely self indulgent definition, I can triumphantly announce that, in confidence, of all of the countless mistakes I have made and out of all that I have observed, obtained and internalized, I know nothing will seek to serve me more advantageously as I transition beyond high school than my sociability!

And furthermore, I take immense pride in the extent to which I was unafraid to apply myself socially and diplomatically,  and the privileges I was afforded as a direct result of this in recognition of my doing so. 

I know my high school experience has been one of a kind – one to fondly remember, but from this I cannot solely assign myself the credit. 

Dear reader, I would like to offer you an ecstatic and heartfelt thank you, in the ever indulging of my extraversion, you have brought me fantastic joy and immense gratification. You have all not only enabled me to act as my most sociable, and thus successful version of myself, but you have actively empowered me to do so! Truly, I will remain eternally grateful for the acceptance, humoring, and pure kindness I have been shown by students and staff alike.        

I am forever indebted to you…

Though, I know I cannot reasonably expect the average royal to force themselves out of their comfort zone to the extent of mirroring the capacity of my aforementioned extraversion, especially with the end of the school drawing so nigh… I will task you, dear reader, with a bit of summer homework. 

The importance for youth to practice proper social skills, and foster complex relationships beyond simple, superficial acquaintanceship, especially after having been subjected to two years of online isolation, has never been more pertinent to leading a successful life. 

This summer I highly encourage you to pursue a new passion and/or experiment with an unfamiliar routine. I feel this is important on its own, but especially when applied with developing your sociability, because in taking time to create for yourself something otherwise unfamiliar, you get to better know yourself and become more acquainted with your wants/needs.

Additionally, in facing the self consciousness of trying something new, the hyperfixation with self error will hopefully assist in the facilitation of asking personal questions that aid in increasing your sociability, for instance: 

Are you portraying yourself in a way that is advantageous to your manifesting or are you inhibiting yourself by getting in your own way?? From this practice of internal dialogue hopefully you will be more in tune with what you need to work on to #Dobetter.  

And as for when you return to school, you’ll have a better idea of what you want to do and who you should surround yourself with to get there. While many would advise against it, I say don’t underestimate the power of groupthink/group accountability in obtaining goals shared or personal. 

Whether you feel you need to increase your sphere of sociability or not, no one is off the hook this summer. Leverage the ease of doing so that the summer season enables! Everyone is excited to have fun and unwind, people are more themselves without coping with school year stress, and will be excited to meet you!  Pursue new relationships, platonic or otherwise, summer is the best time to apply yourself socially. Do not allow yourselves or your friends to become recluses. We live in too beautiful of a place to allow ourselves to be cooped up for months. 

In a typical presidential perspective I try to be more conceptual in the advice I give and less particular about specific methodology, but I understand that this is the last time I will be able to exercise the privilege of having such access to the eyes and ears of the associated student body, and I want to be more meticulous in the execution of delivering my message, considering its finality. 

Dear reader, if you’ve made it this far, I appreciate your humoring me this last time and I apologize for the unusually extraneous condescension. 

This is one of a very select few arrangements of topics I feel qualified to speak on and advise in confidence. 

For through all of my schooling I have observed that as soon as I gained the courage to speak my mind, and challenge myself in leveraging the privileges of public school – immersing myself in the diversity of thought and experiences I wouldn’t otherwise have had access to – my personal satisfaction with life overall skyrocketed exponentially.  

Students, check your privilege! When will we ever have the opportunity to get to know this many people (with such access and ease) again? Especially considering the commonalities of our shared campus experience only furthering the speed of facilitation in finding common ground as you meet more people. 

Of all I have gained in my experience as a student, I can attribute the most broadly applicably advantageous, such as acting in confidence and self assuredness in academic pursuits (egregious or otherwise) and holding onto a love of learning, to taking the time to hone the social skills that would seek to ease the achieving of my personal goals, professional/academically or otherwise. 

I felt that the broadness in these concepts and their universal application will graciously favor to serve anyone on (or off) campus, including the seniors as they move on to bigger and better things: the role etiquette plays in communication rings critical in any pursuit, and will remain as such forever true! 

But beyond the pleasantries of affability, true sociality runs much deeper than this. For it is not who can plaster the most fake, unwavering smile upon themselves nor whomever can relay the most inauthentic pleasantries, that are the most sociable nor the most successful. It is those who are unafraid to challenge themselves to a difficult dialogue shared.  

Frequently in my experience: it is the most otherwise awkward (preferably otherwise avoided) conversations that push me to grow as a person in my sociability, and reinstate within me the confidence I need to drive me forward, knowing Iam acting as my authentic self, who is not afraid to stay honest with themselves in their conduction even if it means standing up for yourself or others in a less than elegant way. People will find your candor refreshing and will want to emulate you! 

Lead with authenticity. If you feel inauthentic you are doing something wrong. You have all the time in the world to practice being someone else, take advantage of our circumstances and develop the person you want to be before you end up stuck as someone you loathe because you were afraid to rise to the occasion! But do not be too down on yourself if you feel unsure or unready to fully apply yourself, know that there simply is not going to be a time when you’re gonna feel super stoked for discomfort, especially as awkward teenagers pushed into social settings – if it were a comfortable thing to do it wouldn’t push you to grow! 

At any pace you grow, at least move with an awareness of the possibility you can apply yourself further than you are currently allowing yourself to ensure you don’t stagnate. Simply accept this fact as a universal truth and you won’t feel the need to criticize yourself as harshly, but don’t be afraid to praise yourself and your progress. 

To further facilitate this change in royal sociality, I issue a call to action: to work to enable and empower those around us to challenge ourselves to live authentically and push ourselves to develop socially, and delve into the challenge of addressing what needs to be done to allow that with the same vigor and passion you confront your schoolwork with, though preferably with more. 

If you have ideas on how ASB can inspire those on campus to act as their best selves and work to confront and tear down social barriers that may otherwise be inhibiting this, I highly encourage you to visit the public comment portion of ASB meetings, which are held every Thursday at 8:30 am in room I-9.

Give yourself whatever edge you can in your efficiency and effectiveness in communication, for before we know it we will find ourselves thrust into the competition and mystery of college and the workforce, whether you explored challenges and the development of complex bonds or not. Don’t let the world pass you by because you were too afraid to put yourself and your ideas out there! 

Dear reader, take the plunge, I beg of you! Serve yourself in the long run by enjoying yourself – in applying yourself in the short run. No one is saying you are going to need to be able to close business deals and sell your own personal brand by the time you graduate, but it certainly helps if you get ahead in learning how to network: undoubtedly the most underrated business asset that will seek to serve the greatest benefit well beyond the boardroom! 

Additionally, if you’re ever in a rut, and for whatever reason find yourself bored enough to let your mind drift to think of me beyond graduation, I ask you to look to the memory of the example I have set, of what pushing yourself outside of your current social circle can afford you! 

I know I will continue to accredit much of my success to the cultivation of common culture and developing of social skills I endured as a student.

As I prepare to graduate, I can face the future I hope to create for myself and others voraciously. As I move forward triumphantly, bracing myself for whatever lies beyond the confines of this institution, I boast of doing so without hesitation nor fear that Idid anything less than apply my sociability to its fullest potential. As I took advantage of the otherwise unique cornucopia of a situation I found myself in – by having so many people to talk to, varying perspectives to align, contest and acquaint myself with – I am beyond proud to say I believe Ihave almost reached the limit in opportunity such leverage can afford me as a highschooler at this time, or at least for how hard I am willing to work. Though beyond this, I know the importance and relevance of applying these skills to ensure and achieve success will remain eternally, universally so. 

I hope through this and previous publications you have gained an insight into my (presidential) perspective, and from it, you are able to take something from my experience and (unsolicited) advice to serve to your advantage as you leave your own mark on our school and its history. 

Proud to forever be a Royal,

Gabriel A. Casey

ASB President (2021-2022)

School Site Council President (2021-2022)

Homecoming Royalty (2021-2022) 

Categories: Opinion