In January 2016, I promised to write an article about how LCS shaped my experiences as an Air Force Major and pharmacist living in Italy. Unfortunately, adult life happened, and I plum forgot. In fact, I didn’t even realize my blunder until I was attempting to purge 500+ unread emails from my account and accidentally came across my empty promise to write this article. For some reason, trying to figure out how I could have messed up so badly got me thinking about the fact that my classmates and I are all turning 30 this year, and how our lives are now filled with jobs, kids, mortgages and all the other trappings of adulthood. These musings led me to copious Facebook perusings, which made me realize I couldn’t really write an article about my LCS success story without including my classmates. Reflecting back, I was blessed to be a part of the class of 2004, which was one of the most impactful classes that ever graduated from LCS. We probably weren’t the smartest class, and we definitely didn’t win the most athletic contests. However, in the end, the spirit and drive we brought to LCS each day transformed the way the school was perceived and built a tradition of excellence that thrives in the halls today. This article is not meant to belittle the trailblazing classes that came before us or continued after us. With that said, I am unavoidably biased, so I ask that you please humor me as I turn back the clock to the year 1999.
In 1999, LCS’ fledgling high school was graduating its first senior class. The school’s unproven track record and unexpected leadership changes drove many of the top students in our eighth-grade class to transfer to so-called “better” schools. As we started our freshmen year, we learned that a number of rising seniors had chosen to transfer in hopes of enhancing their college opportunities. Uncertainty abounded as our high school journey began, but we quickly found that the paucity of upperclassmen opened up opportunities that freshmen didn’t usually get. We were able to play large roles on varsity sports teams, and we took a wide array of positions in drama, choir, band, and worship team which were traditionally reserved for upperclassmen. These early extracurricular opportunities, along with guidance from devoted and selfless teachers like Miss Frost ;-), Mrs. Bellamy, Miss Wells, Mrs. Plock, Mr. Plock, Mrs. deWaal Malefyt, Mrs. Johnson, Coach Camilleri and Coach Phelps served to intertwine us with LCS and enhance our high school experiences. Through the next few years, our common spiritual, academic and/or athletic goals drew us together as a class and led us to excel in all facets of school life, while still maintaining a class-defining sense of individuality (if you knew us back then, you know what I am talking about). As the years passed, LCS quietly and symbiotically blossomed with us. So, when it came time to choose where to spend our senior year, we chose to stay and graduate. As I look back, I think our class changed the historical precedent set by previous classes because almost all of us who started as freshmen graduated together in 2004, setting the stage for the school to flourish into the organization it is today. In any event, as we turn 30, it is pretty obvious that staying was the right decision for us.
In my graduation speech, I played a video clip from the last scene in the movie Cast Away. In the clip, Tom Hanks stood in the center of a dusty crossroads and methodically performed a 360-degree turn as he contemplated his future and the uncertain opportunity that accompanied each direction he could choose in life. Although this clip seemed apropos at the time, I could not have imagined just how far those divergent roads would lead our class. Since graduation, our class of 22 has spread out across the world earning an Army Bronze Star, major music industry awards and doctorate degrees. We have positively impacted our communities in a multitude of countries and states, including Kuwait, Canada, Italy, England, Qatar, New Mexico, California, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts, Colorado and other states I wasn’t able to track on social media. Some of us have even come full circle and now teach at LCS! It is undeniable that LCS helped us build strong foundations that prepared us for success no matter which direction we chose — and we certainly scattered in all directions!
Since the summer of our graduation in 2004, I have fallen out of contact with most of my classmates; living all over the world will do that to your relationships. Social media helps to follow key life developments, but we can’t possibly maintain the closeness that we all once had. I suppose that this also is an unavoidable realty of adulthood, which is why class reunions exist.
In light of this distance, I have come to cherish a memento from our senior trip to Virginia Beach in 2004. One evening on the trip, we were asked to write short notes to each of our classmates on slips of paper and place them in an envelope labeled with his/her name. The envelopes were sealed and given to each of us with instructions to open “when needed.” After 12 years and 10 moves, my envelope is still sealed. Someday I will open it, but right now that envelope serves as a valuable reminder of the friendships we built and the truly transformational experiences we shared in the halls of LCS.
Ben Crandall (’04)