Matt Stavalone Reflects on High School Career in “My Cinnaminson Experience”

Stavalone as a Senior

Matt Stavalone, Editor-in-Chief

If I were to look back four years ago and predict where I would be, in my senior year, I would be horribly wrong. When I entered Cinnaminson High School in 2014, I was an awkward 14-year old determined to just play sports and keep my grades up. Looking back, my expectations going into high school were very different from the expectations I now have.

It all started freshman year in second period Geometry. I wasn’t looking forward to having the class at all, only because I didn’t really know anybody in that class.  I was sitting in class when Ms. Kramer told us to get into groups. I didn’t know which group to join, so I decided to partner up with a kid who sat a couple rows ahead of me. Little did I know that this very person would have a huge impact on my life, or that I would end up sharing a math class with this person for the following three years, and now I have the privilege of calling him my the co-Editor-In-Chief of the newspaper.

We then tackled Period 4/5 American Literature with the man who is now our journalism teacher, Mr. Kind. That class may have been the greatest class I’ve ever taken. Every single day it would be something new. Then, I did something no other student had done before in his class. I decided to create a list about all the “wrong” stuff he has done. Every little thing that I saw him do, I would monitor. When I saw something funny, I would grab my pencil and yell out “That’s going on the list!!” When he read the list aloud to the class, in which it did get a good laugh, he decided to create the same list about me. I don’t know where it is now, but I do know it will be far superior to my list.

It was weird though. Never before had I enjoyed a class so much. Mr. Kind changed the way I thought of things. He taught me that it’s okay to have fun in school and occasionally joke around, just as long as I focused when it was time to work. I now am blessed enough to have him as the best teacher I’ve ever had, but even more as a friend. He is someone I can relate to and have regular conversations with (like how he shouldn’t ever sleep on the Bills).

Junior year is when things started to change for me. While I would think of myself as being outgoing my sophomore year, I think it was my junior year in which I started embracing my role and becoming who I am now. It was so odd how it all started. My history teacher, Mr. McGhee, had previously called me Provolone, as my brother was famously known as by the other teachers. I don’t know how it ended up like this, but that nickname eventually evolved into “Cheese Boy”, which I am somehow still called that today. After fully embracing this unfortunate nickname, it helped give me the humorous side that I still have today.  All these years of high school that I had took for granted made me into the person I am today.

As far as senior year is going, this is really hitting home to me now as I write this. All the unexpected friendships that I had built up; all the bonds with teachers that I made; and all the relentless hours I spent studying Calculus 1 (thank you Mrs. Arbelaez), is all suddenly coming to an end. Since I moved to Cinnaminson in 2007, I wasn’t too sure how I felt about my grade. But after going to Disney with the Class of 2018, I knew that there was something special about this class. There was just an energy that made me truly appreciate us, and what we had. The thing is, it’s the end of the final chapter for us, and yet I’m only realizing now that these last four years were the greatest years of my life. There’s a nice saying, for any of The Office fans, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good days before you’ve actually left them.” Whenever I hear that quote, I always think of the last four years, and everything that this class means to me.

If there’s one thing I learned from the last four years, it’s to not be regretful. There are several times I wish I could go back and change something, whether it should be something I did do, or something I didn’t do. But, there’s only 720 days as a high school student. That may seem like a lot, but it goes by in the blink of an eye. There’s only 720 days to leave your mark in Cinnaminson High School history. Whether it’s being the all-time leading female scorer in basketball, or being one of the best overall athletes to run through Cinnaminson High School history, to something small like being the kid who filmed George and Liam in math class while they were dancing. Maybe even while the teacher was being observed. Something as small as that can leave a lasting memory in people’s minds.

But overall, the one thing I’ve learned from the last for years is to not be regretful, and take opportunities as they come. Because life comes at you fast, and while you may have to make quick decisions, you have to know what decisions are best for you. Looking back, the last four years of my life were the best years, and hopefully the next four at Rowan University are even better.