Seniors find joy through difficult year

Annabel Williamson, Managing editor


Let’s just be honest; this past year has been awful. Really awful. Each development was a new disaster and a notification from the news app brought a wave of panic as the fear of yet more bad news became increasingly more likely. As time went on, catastrophe turned into the new normal. In this time of constant dismay, it’s incredibly easy to slip into the darkness and lose sight of the positives in life.

Although the big picture of the present may be dreadful, it’s important to remember the small things in life that truly make it worth living. The instances that may be overlooked as just everyday occurrences are essential to acknowledge. Step back, and just remember what is often forgotten.

Just about everyone has quite mundane things that bring immense joy. For the seniors at Milford High School, most found happiness in some of life’s most simple pleasures. A very common source of happiness is one’s pet. Senior Annabelle Stewart said her cat, Gus, brought her joy.  “I love when Gus plays fetch because it’s unusual and he has his favorite toys to fetch, so he won’t fetch the ones that he doesn’t like.” Senior Grace Sarafa immediately thought of her pet as well, her dog, Carmella. “Whenever I come home, she is really excited to see me” She said.

Senior Josie Caldwell said her happiness came from  “my dogs Hugo and Riley,” and Senior Alexa Cheaney said, “I like spending time with my cat. He hates me, but I love him, so it evens out.” Wrapping up the way pets bring a little more joy into our lives, Senior Cassidy Pakkala expressed how her three dogs have helped her through these trying times. “I love my dogs and they always make me feel better whenever I’m sad, especially with the world being the way it is right now. There’s nothing better than cuddling up with my babies…I just like to lay with them and pet them. I have three dogs, so they all pile on top of me like one big sandwich.”

Pets are an incredible way to bring sunshine into one’s gloomy life. But, others find joy in human interaction, bringing happiness to others also makes them happy. Senior Bella Cutean took a lot of value in her friendships this year. She said, “I love being able to bring support into the individuals in my lives and share my words of advice and help to brighten the days of others.” Senior Kiersten Tokarczyk said, “I love getting outside and going places with my family. Although we can’t go out and do as much as before, my family made the most of what we could and got a lot closer because of it.” Senior Tess Wyniemko excitedly explained what she loves about interacting with others; “One small thing that brings me joy is when you are talking to someone and they start talking about something they are really passionate about, and their eyes light up and they get excited to talk more. I think it’s super fun and it makes me really happy.” Senior Noelle Fitzgerald said she enjoyed, “Getting to see my friends and family.” Senior Jenna Natwick finds joy in “sunshine or small acts of kindness.” When one really looks for it, happiness can be found within each other but is often missed in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s there, it just needs to be found.

Furry companions and human interaction have proven to bring joy to the lives of many. But, some find happiness in less traditional ways. Finding the greatest delight in the smallest of events, Senior Riley Watts raced on the Milford Varsity Ski team, and explained the feeling of pure euphoria as she competed in the sport that she loves. “I love going up on the ski lift and feeling the fresh air. I love the feeling of the snow under my skis and the power in them as I turn.” Senior Joe Antrim found great admiration for the necessities of life. “My appreciation for good food, taking time to make a proper meal, and being present during every time I eat has all heightened during quarantine. It’s a very comforting constant in everyday life.” Senior  Kaleb Fields also found appreciation for the simple necessities. When asked what small thing brings him joy, he replied, “When I make the perfect cup of coffee.” Senior McKenna Bausman found joy in life by enjoying, “When I first wake up and everything is peaceful and still.” Music is a constant for most everyone, yet is often overlooked and underappreciated. Senior Ansley Kopp said she found happiness from, “songs with orchestral components. If you have a pop song with a really good orchestra at the end. it’s so good. It is my favorite thing ever.”

The Class of 2021 has been hit with a difficult final year. Through shutdowns, Google Meets, and exhausting isolation, seniors have found ways appreciate the mundane joys of life as they prepare to grow beyond Milford High School.

Stewart’s cat, Gus (Photo by Annabelle Williamson)