A Lesson That will Remain for a Lifetime

Laura Mallon, Editor in Chief

I dealt with silly drama, stressed over my grades and had some arguments with mom, but the other 99% of high school was spent with a smile on my face. I went to all the football games, hung out with my friends, and went to spirit nights and prom. I had the experience of a lifetime making it to the county final with the basketball team this past year. Looking back on it all now I couldn’t have asked for a better four years. Wantagh has been the most incredible place to grow up.
But my smooth sailing high school career halted this spring, when for the first time in my life things were put into a whole new perspective. A close family friend passed away. His name was Dawson. He was 27 years old and one of the coolest people I had ever met. His death stunned my family and me. I have lost people in my life before, but not like this. Dawson’s passing was so much more difficult. He was young, vibrant and healthy; perhaps one of the most physically fit athletes I knew. I didn’t understand and I couldn’t turn to my big brother and big sister because they didn’t understand either.
It turns out Dawson died of a drug overdose. This was a side of him that I personally had never seen, in fact never even knew about. Apparently it was a problem he had been struggling with for a while, but you would have never known by looking at him. He never looked strung out. He wasn’t doped up all the time, and he wasn’t a bum without a job. He was just a normal, awesome, funny guy who suffered from addiction.
Losing Dawson not only broke my heart, and the hearts of my family and friends, but it slapped me across the face. This dose of reality was larger than any other I’d ever had to swallow before. With college just around the corner, it has finally started to hit me that in a few months I will no longer be within the safe haven that Wantagh has provided for me all of these years. I won’t always have mommy and daddy right beside me to keep me in line. I’m going to face all of these adult things all on my own. This is the lesson that will stay with me the most and it was not one that any teacher, parent or friend could have ever truly taught me. Life is fragile; every choice you make has a consequence.
On June 25 the class of 2015 will officially bid this place farewell and for many of us this will be the last time we see most of our classmates. I can only hope the best for everyone. I hope we all remember the wonderful life that Wantagh has given us and continue to make honorable and smart choices that would make our hometown proud.