Caroline Hockenbury, 2012

Sacred Heart Academy

Too often high school students mistake their most meaningful qualities as discomfiting. Today, the eccentric teenager is a rarity, an unnatural wildflower woven amongst even rows of conditioned crops. Seeded uniformly and prepped strictly, such conventional students struggle to extend their roots, fully absorb their surroundings, and grow unfettered. Out of fear of ridicule, they often hesitate to express individuality, masking their beautiful imperfections with an expressionless facade. But the peculiar perennial is able to embrace its splendor, exploring the sod with curious limbs and wallowing in the sunlight. But just how difficult is it to be the outsider? And, moreover, to maintain confidence?

Present day high school students are generally too inexperienced to comprehend the assets of individualism, and they instead thrive on the opinions of their peers, generating a sense of self worth with every approving smile or amused giggle. Conformity is synonymous with comfort. Therefore, students often avoid fully developing unique personas and toss aside any talents or interests they deem as publicly unfitting. Consider the potential wasted, the portals to greatness forever padlocked. Life as a wildflower can undoubtedly be taxing, but freedom of expression is vital in developing one's genuine character.

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