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Hurricane Journal writer finishes high school

Don’t miss award-winning Hurricane Journal writer Samantha Perez’s account of her final day of high school in Louisiana. Here’s the beginning:

Today is my last day of high school, and as I sit here in St. Thomas Aquinas’ dusty library, I can’t help but wonder about all the wonderful things I would be doing with my friends if Hannan were still around. Seniors used to parade around the halls with their video cameras and sign each other’s uniform shirts. We would all be wearing countdown tags, marking down the days until the end of school. At the end of the day, all the seniors would run to the front office and countdown the last thirty seconds of their final day of high school. No one from Hannan will be doing that this year.
Today, more than any day I’ve experienced since the hurricane, seems fake, seems hollow. It’s almost as if this reality is slightly off and that next year, I’ll return to Hannan after this little vacation for my real senior year.
But, with a graduation dress hanging in the closet of my grandparents’ house trailer, I realize that’s not true. I graduate this year, this month. This, this hollow day, is my final day of high school.
Next August, I won’t be returning to Hannan as a student. Instead, I will be living in a dorm room on a college campus, struggling to adjust to a new sort of normalcy all over again.
I graduate on May 20th, and although this year’s grades will not be included, I had the second highest GPA in the class, which means I will be delivering the salutatorian address.
My prom is on the 13th, and I will be wearing my gorgeous pink dress that held against the tyrant of the hurricane.
I am a senior. I graduate. There’s no stopping that.

Read the rest at If you haven’t read the many journal entries that Perez started writing the day that Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore, this is the time to catch up. She’s written a remarkable slice of history, a telling account of her life in the midst of the maelstrom. It’s altogether astounding.

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