Dear Freshmen,

Welcome to high school! We’re stoked you’ve joined us on this crazy four-year journey, and hope the first month of freshman year has gone well. From being the oldest group in an insane, high energy crowd of middle schoolers, you’re back to being the youngest -- this time in a much larger group. Maybe you’re relieved, excited, or nervous. That’s all pretty normal, and you’ll get used to it. Or maybe you’re already used to it, and you don’t need the underclassmen pep talk sort of thing -- but we hope you get something out of this.

Regardless if you’ve been in high school for a month or you just started a few weeks ago, it can definitely be unnerving when you’re starting at a whole new school with thousands of other kids -- all older than you. The sophomores, already seeming pretty comfortable in their skin and long-forgotten the “newbie” status as soon as they walked out of school on the last day of freshman year. The juniors, buzzing about the “hardest year of high school” — stressed, but definitely looking like they’ve got a clue or two on how to get around for the next two years.

And finally, the seniors. Oh, the seniors.

Exploding with senioritis, extending their hands out for colleges to accept them and take them out of high school. We might look like we’ve done it all, figured it all out, made all the mistakes and learned from them. We’ve got our friend groups figured out; no more drama, no more confusion and feeling lost.

...That’s not exactly true.
Okay, maybe you already knew we don’t have it all together -- and you’re right.

We’re not gonna get into the grit of all the things we haven’t figured out (feel free and come ask us, though, you might get a few pieces of advice and do’s and don't's -- there’s plenty), and we’re all pretty different, but generally speaking, this one thing is true:

Our lives are still just as confusing and complicated as everyone else’s.

That isn’t to scare you, or to tell you that life doesn’t get better and it’s still a mess by the time you finish high school -- because that’s entirely not true, we’ve improved on a lot of things and we’ve grown a ton since freshman year. Life gives us crazy experiences and God has done amazing things in our lives over the past few years. But just because we’re nearing the end of one of the toughest four years of your adolescent life, doesn’t

mean we’re better at life or just better in general. Three years of high school may have left us with a good head on our shoulders, we’re not much different from everybody else. If anything, our experience and lessons we’ve learned so far have given us a whole lot of understanding for everyone walking through the same path as we once did.

Many of us remember being freshmen like it was yesterday. We remember thinking of some of the seniors as people that we didn’t want to associate ourselves with because they didn’t want to be associated with us. But we hope we don’t come off as intimidating (in reality, we really aren’t), because we’d love to talk to you, sit with you, or even give you a little advice on how to get through the crippling long hours of SAT prep.

Lastly, we want you to know that even though you may be young, it doesn’t mean you’re insignificant and at the bottom of the chain. You’re just as important and valid as everyone else. This concept of mattering even when you feel young and small among everyone is something many of us battle with -- and it’s normal. But God wants us to know -- and we’d love to help you remember -- that being young is little to be scared and doubtful about. 1 Timothy 4:12 says “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” This is a message in the Bible from God you. Take it to heart and think about the start of high school like the beginning of a big mission that has so much

joy and promises in store for you and everyone you will impact in the next four years. It may be nerve wracking and there will be times where it’s tough, but remember that there are people here to support you and guide you to walk alongside God through these years. No matter our age, our knowledge, or our wisdom, God has called us to the same mission no matter where we are in life: to shamelessly spread his love and set an example to the world through how we live out our lives. We are all still trying to figure out this crazy thing called life too, so know you are not alone in trying to put together this universal puzzle.

As seniors, we want you to remember that we want you to feel known and cared about at HSM, because we’ve gone through high school with this ministry as our second home, and the leaders as our role models -- and we hope that you can go through high school with the same experience.

With love,
Chloe Waters and Hana Bermejo, on behalf of the Class of 2018