A Letter To The Students Of NHS

Nicole LeBlanc •

A letter to the students of NHS:

When I think of Nantucket, I think of the resilience of our community. Truly, I think of the resilience of my friends and I when we were in high school. I think back to the nighttime drives we’d take, when we’d pour our hearts out until we fogged up the windshield, trusting the locked doors of a 2006 Honda Civic to keep our secrets safe. We didn’t think anyone else could possibly understand what we were going through, we couldn’t even understand it ourselves. Looking back, I think the adults in our lives would’ve been surprised by some of our conversations, at their depth, their rawness.

I think people sometimes forget that high schoolers deal with so much more than worrying about passing their Chemistry test. People forget that it is a teenager’s capacity to live, feel, and love with such ferocity and honesty that gives meaning to the term “coming of age.” It is an unfortunate truth that life does not always protect youth from its awful unfairness. Today, you have been confronted with an unimaginable loss.

I know what it is to feel that the air is suddenly heavier in the halls you’ve walked every day before. When, in an instant, the world is very different than it was yesterday. When the adults in your life start to be very careful with you, with quiet knocks on doors and questions you probably don’t have the answers to. This is because the loss you have experienced is not something that you should have to go through, not at such a young age. This grief, this horrible heartache should be saved for someone much older, when such a loss is less of a shock, less of a universal wrong. And yet, here you are.

I know that I could not have gotten through my grief without my friends in highschool. So please, take comfort in each other. Get together and sit at your kitchen tables as you’ve done a million times before, or parked at some spot in the Moors that you won’t find on Google maps. Cry with each other. Laugh with each other, if you can. Do not worry if what you’re feeling is “right” or “deserved.” Our emotions are living inside all of us, and so they are never right or wrong, they just are. Your grief lives inside of you. Honor it, in whatever way feels right to you. There is no right way to do this. The only wrong way would be to go through it alone.

My friend once said that growing up on Nantucket, it's easy to feel stuck. But here, she said, the people you get stuck with are really, really good. This is a special place. Know that there is love surrounding you on every inch of this island, from your family, teachers, classmates, and community. Hold each other close.

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