Peace out Wantagh! – Nyatashh, Tashi, Natashh.O, Nyatasha

Nyatasha Jackowicz, Editor In Chief

November, 2012 marked the beginning of my
journey as a Wantagh Warrior.

I was peculiar girl, walking into homeroom for the first time with a stoic expression and an unnecessary anger, directed at the injustices my life had, not at the change of surroundings I was experiencing. Unfortunately I did not follow a kind Wantagh student, who was supposed to be my guide for the day, and from that point on I sealed my fate as an outsider. I wandered through freshman year struggling to find a designated group. I ended up at the tables in front of the school after the final bell and spent the end of freshman year becoming a model congress debater.

The following year I came back with new intentions. I wanted to participate and become a team player. I joined the JV soccer team, where initially I was mistakenly thought of as a freshman because of my lack of notoriety and my delayed try out. Eventually I ended that season with many new acquaintances but still nostalgic of my old home. Then wrestling season came around and I was ready to try my hand in a previous desire. In middle school, when I lived in Baldwin, I attempted to join the wrestling team but for various reasons I was denied the privilege to participate. When I discovered the school had a team I immediately knew this could be my second chance. I went through many conversations with my guidance counselor, the fitness director, my parents and one of the coaches and I ended up completing a fitness test. Immediately following that I went to the wrestling room and have been stuck there ever since.

After becoming a member of the team things began to change for me. I had always been a good student but afterwards I was more determined to do well in school. I become more outgoing and willing to spend more time at school so I joined a few things; stage crew, WARR, and helping with Escapades. Sophomore year blew by (and was inducted into Tri-M honor Society at some point) and junior year followed. In that time I built relationships with friends in my classes and on my team. In junior year I was so focused on throwing the headlock during tournaments that I ended up sending an opponent to the hospital with a neck sprain. I was labelled “neck-breaker” by my teammates and, being the silly girl that I am, I embraced it. But not even two weeks later karma bit me and I ended up giving myself a concussion by throwing the exact same move on a new opponent.

A few months later I joined the varsity softball team and finally acknowledged that I have terrible hand-eye coordination and my strength was in close contact sports. During this time I was also inducted into Foreign Language Honor Society, Business Honor Society, and National Honor Society, which I became a president of my senior year. I competed in business competitions and Moot trial court, placing in the top three slots each time, and I developed close connections with faculty.
My final year in the wrestling room was more than I ever could have asked for. I came back from my concussion with an intimidating reputation to boys at other schools and I dropped ten pounds to do my best at a feasible weight. I ended up going to qualifiers and even though I lost I was invited to Nassau County Section 8’s County dinner. I was surrounded by a sea of wrestlers, which some girls may fantasize about but if they knew anything about our eating habits they’d reconsider. There I received the honor of being the first female wrestler to attend the dinner and receive a scholarship.

From my first walk onto that mat to the very end I learned a lot about myself and others. I realized that wrestlers can’t do three things: spell, hear and walk without knocking into someone or something. But the most importantly I learned that appearances are deceiving and that mindset is everything. Every time I walked out onto the mat or into a new place I stopped expecting things and I learned to go along with the situation. People may look like scrubs (wrestler’s version of someone who sucks) or act like stereotypes but in reality they are better when you spend time to learn more about them. Also, mindset is everything. On the mat any doubt within yourself, whether it be about your strength, skill or technique, it can make you lose in a split second and that’s the same in life – especially with the college admissions process. My dream school was Harvard, where I was waitlisted, then denied. But I haven’t allowed that to consume me. They didn’t want me, for whatever reason, but I didn’t let that stop me from continuing to strive for success. Now I’m attending Bryant University in the fall with acceptance into their honors program.

My failures aren’t failures because I haven’t allowed them to overcome me. High school is about trying new things and learning how to handle humility. To all of my acquaintances, thank you for dealing with my unfamiliarity with the social landscape here and for never labeling me. To my teachers, thank you for pushing me to work my hardest and for making me into a well-rounded individual. And to all my friends, I couldn’t have done half of the things I have without you guys by my side. Those of you in my classes continually make my day better by laughing at my stupid jokes and for supporting my suggestions at mutiny when teachers try to assign work. To those who I hang outside of school with, thanks for dragging me out of my house because otherwise I wouldn’t have any interesting stories. And to those few close friends who were in the wrestling room with me season after season, I wouldn’t have done the sport without your jokes, support and willingness to drop me face first into the mat. Without you guys I would’ve been too self-conscious to actually have fun and become a person that I’ve really enjoyed becoming.

Perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose and I know that I’ll keep working hard to fulfill my goals and you guys should too.