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One Chapter Ends, Another One Begins

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Posted: Thursday, June 13, 2019 9:00 am

The Class of 2019 at Rim of the World High School walked and received their diplomas on Thursday, June 6. Graduating from Rim High School has ended a 13-year journey.

For the 201 seniors who may eventually be scattered across the country accomplishing their dreams and aspirations of work, service and education, this was a culmination of the first chapter in their lives. Much more lies ahead, with possibly marriage, in-laws, children and a career. It is truly exciting times for these grads as they forge into the unknown, just as we all did!

Braden Walker was proclaimed to be the valedictorian. Amber Armellini and Harrison Ridland tied and are sharing the rank of co-salutatorians,

The day after graduation, Braden, Amber and Harrison arrived at Hot Shots Café for an interview. Our objective was to address some fun and maybe sobering questions about their lives and goals going forward.

How did it feel, graduating from Rim High School the previous evening?

Amber answered first saying, “Very exciting to be in front of my family and friends, and celebrating all the years of hard work to get here. A fun experience!”

Braden replied, “It was a little nerve-racking at first, but once I was out there, I knew I had a lot of people supporting me when I was out there graduating. It was very comforting and I felt loved during the whole thing.”

Harrison commented, “Definitely strange. It is closing a chapter of our lives and it’s definitely scary going out into the real world.”

Braden, Amber and Harrison have known each other almost their entire lives. What was it like growing up in the Lake Arrowhead area and going to school with each other?

Harrison said that he had gone to school in Running Springs until junior high. “(Since then) Braden and I have always been in sports together, and we have always been on opposite teams. A little rivalry has been going on and it’s really been fun to get to know him... up until middle school, where I saw him as one of the toughest competition that I had to face against.”

Braden jumped in and agreed with Harrison. They had a competition going on because they were always playing against each other in sports but overall there was “…a lot of fun playing against each other in sports and had a lot of good experiences together. As we got into high school, we became friends and a little less rivals.”

Amber shared, “Both are awesome people. They have been great influences upon me and (each) has been great not only as a fellow student, but as a person in my life.”

Naturally the three have big plans for next year. Harrison said that he will attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to pursue a double major in economics and accounting.

It’s interesting that Braden also is going to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; he will study mechanical engineering.

Amber will attend UCLA to study human biology and society, hopefully with a minor in biomedical research.

Each of the three grads shared memories about the other  two students that referred to their younger years in elementary, middle school, or earlier in high school.

“One of the first things I remember about Harrison was being in math class,” Amber recalled. “He was so energetic in math class and he was willing to answer questions and help me! Braden, I have known when we were both very young, and honestly how he could make everyone laugh and was easy to be with.”

Braden said, “It was really fun to know Harrison outside of school and get to know each other a lot more because we were both singles players in tennis this year.”

“His quirky way about him!” Amber interjected with a laugh.

Braden continued, “…We have known each other since first grade and he would playfully try to trip me, just to make me stumble so I would be on guard!”

Harrison added, “Amber, Braden and I were on the county advisory panel and Braden and I would have fun annoying her,” he said with a laugh.

Considering that other high schools have populations of 3,000 students or more, Braden, Amber and Harrison likely have different impressions as a result of attending a small community high school.

Harrison discovered that it was great to be a part of a small a community, and that he had “…a lot of opportunities as opposed to a larger school. Examples were leadership, tennis and the chess team, and so may other things… being connected to a bunch of different people.”

Braden added, “This is such an amazing community that we have here. It is a little weird knowing everybody at your school!” He continued, saying he could go to almost any event and know a lot of people. A student could have a friend at any event, compared to a large school where there are so many people. “Especially since I have Harrison and Amber with me and I can always find them when I need them.”

Amber said that she valued the idea of having a small community and all the close relationships. “High school is not just about academics. It includes developing the friendships not only with my friends but with the teachers and staff members, and everyone involved in the community, which makes it special.”

As the three get ready to go away to college, they have thoughts of major issues facing their generation. What do they expect in the next 10 to15 years?”

Harrison replied,  “Thinking of more of what I am interested in, I see some real concerns with the economy. There seems to be so many more people going into debt, student loans, and there is going to be a crash. It is going to be a huge issue in the U.S. and going to destroy industry and affect all of humanity.”

Braden answered: “I think one of the most pressing issues is energy, and that is possibly what I want to focus on with my mechanical engineering degree. Not just more sustainable energy, but better energy alternatives for the future that is more readily available for everyone so we do not need to rely on fossil fuels to help preserve our planet.”

Amber chimed in, “I agree about the environment being an issue. But it is a lack of unity, there is always division between people. But the further we become divided, the further we get from becoming united as one. More problems evolve far more than have to be, and people become bitter and lacking in unity.”

As Harrison, Amber, and Braden get ready to embark on the next chapter of life, and we, as a community, want to let them know that we are proud of them. We are proud of all the Rim High graduates, as they represent the future. 

We pass on our mistakes and our triumphs, and we trust that they will make a better life for all as they move toward the future.

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