Senior Reflections: 4 Years of Frank Sinatra
by Maeve Gopeesingh
As the month of May passes by with AP tests, last shows and Regents coming up, one thing is on the seniors minds: Graduation. As seniors inch closer to the final days of school it all becomes more real — prom, draft day, last day of classes.
These final bittersweet days are filled with angst, excitement and sadness. Despite the year and a half of pandemic online classes, a part of the high school experience that was missed out on, seniors are looking forward to the future, while ready to address what they learned, what they loved, what they didn’t and what lies ahead for the class of 2022.
For Mia Bravo, senior instrumental major, her future starts at Macaulay Honors College at City College in Manhattan. Majoring in psychology she’s open to a future career as a therapist. Mia opened up about how she believes Frank Sinatra really introduced her to people who have an artsy or unique sense of fashion that’s inspired her a lot since attending this school and that since coming here she’s really learned to appreciate the value of the arts. However, one of the best parts of attending Frank Sinatra School of the Arts (FSSA) for Mia was performing.
“I feel like it’s such a unique experience, you know? I feel like we kind of take it for granted when we get to see our classmates sitting in the hallway doing their paintings, or someone practicing in the stairwell, it’s just created a super unique experience we couldn’t really get anywhere else,” she said.
For senior vocal major Brandon Bosch, who is attending U.C. Berkeley in California this fall majoring in chemistry, he sees a future in STEM at agencies like NASA. Brandon said that his time at Frank Sinatra taught him to truly value diversity in a learning environment as he feels as FSSA may be lacking in diversity.
“Diversity is kind of just an unspoken privilege of getting to know who you are, where you are and having people to connect with,” he said.
Brandon agreed with Mia about arts being a universal connection across the school and being one of the things he’s appreciated the most.
“I feel like the arts help you to communicate on a non verbal scale, like for instance what Mia said about seeing people doing their major, you can find a way to connect with them even if they aren’t even talking to you. I don’t know, the creativity is just really beautiful to see.”
While going to college is exciting, many seniors are suffering the shock of reality when it comes to college acceptances, financial burdens and moving cross country. While there’s much to be excited about there’s a lingering element of disappointment and anxiety in certain aspects.
“It’s just a little odd. I think I definitely always had this idea that I was definitely going to go away, that I was definitely going to dorm and stuff, and I think a part of me was definitely disappointed when I did put down that commitment deposit, but at the end of the day it is a good thing,” Mia said.
For many, there is a sense of being unprepared for the reality of the cost of college and moving away from home. The last full year of in person school was freshman year for most seniors, and for them being propelled into college preparation still feels surreal. For many, their hard work in high school paid off by getting into their top schools, but the price tag made the choice inaccessible for them. It feels like choosing between a life of debt and a lifelong dream.
When asking seniors what their least favorite part of high school was, the most popular answer was the social cliques. After students returned to school after the pandemic, the friend groups that were created during sophomore year in 2020 turned into almost exclusive cliques.
“We’re all really separated as a grade I feel like, and even though ideas like popularity in this school don’t really matter, it’s clear who sticks together and who’s friends with whom,” said Brandon.
Senior art major Kaylin Ruiz, who will be attending NYU Steinhardt, majoring in studio art and minoring in psychology stated that something she really valued at Frank Sinatra was how it progressed her in her journey as an artist. In the future she hopes to start out as a freelance artist, but is also interested in fields like therapy. She explained how she never enjoyed doing self portraits before high school and generally avoided them until she got an assignment to complete one her freshman year.
During her sophomore and junior years Kaylin really dug into this and completed her whole AP portfolio centered around self portraits, and it’s now considered a signature part of her work. Kaylin also went on to explain that she feels like the social scene at Frank Sinatra has prepared her for the social scene at NYU by building her confidence and not comparing herself to other students.
“I’ve heard that NYU has a lot of rich white students who aren’t from NYC, and for me, coming from an all black middle school and elementary school, that’s all I knew. So when I came here [FSSA], it was definitely a culture shock.”
She believes that meeting people in this school who have come from all types of backgrounds including wealthier families has given her insight on the types of students who might be attending her college. She also stated that her newfound confidence and art teachers like Ms. Spata and Ms. Visconti who really encouraged her direction in self portraiture and confidence in depicting herself have prepared her for her journey as a future artist at NYU.
Kaylin believes the biggest takeaway she learned throughout high school was about growing a thick skin and building a certain sense of being sure of herself in order to disregard what others might think.
Brandon and Mia had very similar takeaways.
“I don’t need to be defined by like, how other people think or feel about me, or how I think or feel about myself either cause I just learned a lot of self worth over this time,” Brandon said.
Another important takeaway was the temporary nature of so many feelings in high school and how when you’re graduating it’s so easy to look back on bad moments and take it as a lesson but how in the moment high school can be so traumatizing.
The thing most seniors agree they will miss the most is the convenience of seeing their friends everyday and the amazing people they’ve met at this school.
“But I feel like something I’ve learned to appreciate especially after a year of quarantine is the joy of seeing my friends in the hallway and getting so excited even just to say hi to them for like a second, you’re not really going to see people everyday in college and you might not have the same intimate relationship with those friends,” Mia said.
As seniors it’s safe to say that everybody feels very privileged to be graduating next to peers that are so thoughtful, articulate and mature and very grateful for the lessons learned throughout these hallways.
As a class, every senior should be proud of themselves for graduating amidst a global pandemic and mental health epidemic that directly affected teenagers at the highest rate, and whether their next path be college or not, every senior should carry an immense sense of accomplishment.