The next chapter


Maureen Dyer

PV graduate Shobini Iyer exits the graduation ceremony after delivering her speech, “High school is like writing a story.”

Shobini Iyer, Co-Editor-in-Chief

To the phenomenal Class of 2023,

As I was sitting in my room writing this farewell, I went through many drafts to try and get it just right, struggling to appropriately capture the spirit of the extraordinary class of 2023. As a writer, going through multiple drafts to capture my message is nothing new, and as a journalist, considering how my story will impact others has become second nature. With every new draft, I opened a new Google Doc, one after another, each with the all too familiar label: “Untitled document.” Then somewhere between my third and fourth drafts, it clicked. I realized that high school was just like writing a story. 

Entering high school, we faced a blank document, unsure of the stories that would eventually fill the pages. Plotlines unfolded haphazardly, filled with unforgettable experiences, moments of growth, and unexpected twists. We scribbled down our fears, our dreams, and the amusing anecdotes that would come to define our unique narratives.

But here’s the thing about writing a story: it’s never truly finished. Much like life, it’s about getting lost in the journey, exploring uncharted territories, and discovering hidden depths within ourselves. 

As a class, we immersed ourselves in the pages of high school, demonstrating excellence in every facet of our involvement. I’ve watched my classmates involved in the arts uplift one another, put on show-stopping performances, and chase careers in their passions. I’ve sat among future educators, D1 athletes, elected politicians, groundbreaking scientists, and people whose character will go on to change the world. I’ve celebrated your successes as you have won games, advanced to national competitions, and broken records. I’ve watched you pour yourselves into your writing as your articles educated others and advocated for important causes. I’ve witnessed moments of joy as you wrote your names into school history and brought the school a great deal of pride. And I’ve seen some of you amass an impressive collection of parking violation stickers :). While writing the pages of my story, I am fortunate to have been able to read your pages too.

But we also learned to put away our pen and paper, shut down our laptops, close that planner, and put off that project at times to just live in the moment. We discovered that life is not a mere checklist of homework assignments or achievements, but a collection of extraordinary moments, waiting to be reveled in. In those moments, we created memories that will be forever etched in our hearts. 

But just as any good writer knows, a story cannot only be full of the good times. We faced months of uncertainty, dealt with devastating losses, and grappled with self-doubt. In these moments, we also found strength we didn’t know we possessed. We revised our narratives, turning obstacles into opportunities, and transforming setbacks into stepping stones.

As we prepare to wrap up this chapter of our story, through with the stressful days of AP and final exams, having survived the PVHS sleeps page, senior assassins, and late-term stages of senioritis, let us remember that our stories are not confined to the halls of PVHS. We have the power and preparedness to continue writing, to embrace the unknown, and to shape our own legacies. Life will give us new plot twists and unexpected characters will enter our stories, but it is up to us to approach them with courage, resilience, and the belief that our stories are worth telling.

So, Class of 2023, as you prepare to enter the next chapter of life, embrace the blank pages before you with excitement and curiosity. Write boldly, fearlessly, and with an unwavering belief in the power of your own narrative.

Remember, life is not one single piece of writing; it’s an ongoing masterpiece. Enjoy the process, cherish the memories you made, and let the stories you weave inspire others to write their own.

Our high school years may be ending, but now we are the sole authors of our lives. Wherever you find yourself next fall, the Quad Cities, Ames, Iowa City, across the country, or even across the world, you’ll find yourself surrounded by stories waiting to be told…so fill those pages. Congratulations, Class of 2023. Let us embark on this next chapter ready to create a world that reflects the brilliance of our narratives.

Thank you.

With love,

Shobini Iyer