Thank you Louisville

Four years have flown by and I am indebted to Louisville for my time at a school I will always call home. My story is just one of many, all a part of the Louisville tradition of over 50 years, but I can speak on the behalf of all Louisville girls when I say thank…
<a href="" target="_self">Leah de Leon</a>

Leah de Leon

May 24, 2015

19690_10204455973621427_8796932372149541279_nFour years have flown by and I am indebted to Louisville for my time at a school I will always call home. My story is just one of many, all a part of the Louisville tradition of over 50 years, but I can speak on the behalf of all Louisville girls when I say thank you, Louisville.

As a freshman, I timidly walked through the hallways with knee-length socks too white and sweaty palms. I was nervous about going to an all-girls school, so I stuck with the two girls I knew since first grade. I hardly raised my hand in class and I was ashamed I didn’t make the volleyball team. It was because of Mr. Wilson, my P.E. teacher at the time, that I tried out for the softball team. Due to Louisville’s long history of losses and shortage of players, I didn’t consider making varsity softball my freshman year much of an accomplishment. To my surprise, my softball team became my family. For the next three years, I poured my efforts toward softball and recognized the importance of perseverance and work ethic.

Every practice my coaches encouraged me to push my limits and reach a new personal best. Of course, I developed my skills on the field, but I also gained insights I would carry off the field and take with me beyond my years at Louisville. During one batting practice, I gained a new perspective after listening to Coach Steve: “You are all on a relentless pursuit of the perfect swing.”

Perfection is unattainable, yet we can strive to do better and better. I took this and applied it to my life off the field. My freshman year was far from perfect, but I learned what it meant to be a part of a team and to continuously try to be my best self. I learned that getting involved early is important. It provides new avenues for connections and allows you to establish friendships that will grow.

As a sophomore, I was brace-face. I was embarrassed that I had gotten my braces on later than my friends. I struggled to make syllables with a mouth full of metal and looking back, I cringe at the selfies I took while I had my braces on. Why? Why on earth would I ever take a selfie back then? But then I am reminded of one of the many reasons I love Louisville. I took those selfies because eventually I realized people accepted me for who I was. I could go to school with no make-up, braces, and ugly orange Vans. How is this possible? Because Louisville allows you to be comfortable in your own skin. To breathe, to laugh, and to learn freely. Louisville has a unique environment that lets you grow as an individual without fear of judgment.

My junior year brought a lot of change. New perspectives, new friends, new passions, new goals.   Taking all honors and AP courses meant midweek breakdowns, numerous sleepless nights, and plenty of caffeinated mornings. This was the year that mattered. Junior year is the year that colleges scrutinize over. The pressure to take challenging courses, receive  a high SAT/ACT score, volunteer in your community, be involved in sports, participate in student council, and write multiple 500 word essays that encapsulate “who you really are,” is overwhelming to say the least.

There are two main discoveries I made my junior year. The first was my passion for journalism, and the second was a deeper appreciation for the loving faculty and staff of Louisville.

I began my interest in journalism  my second year when I joined the Focus Program, a two-year program launched by Mrs. Goldstein-Boag and Mrs. Flynn to help students focus their academics and extracurricular activities on one subject area for a potential career. This program opened many doors to the professional world. Listening to guest speakers, visiting the L.A. Times, and job shadowing a technology reporter all helped me fall in love with journalism. I took my passion for writing to the Louisville newspaper and website, publishing numerous articles throughout the year. It is because of Louisville that I have been presented with extraordinary opportunities such as these and it is because of the Louisville community that I have been confident and prepared to seize them.

Early second semester of my junior year, my dad had a traumatic asthma attack.  At a time when everything could have easily fallen apart, Louisville helped me to seek out the positive amidst such adversity. At other schools, life at home and life at school remain two separate entities; however, at Louisville, the two intersect and Louisville becomes a second home. My teachers not only gave me ample time to make up missed work, but they also asked how I was doing and how my family was doing. That is simply invaluable. Teachers get to know you and genuinely care for your well-being as a student and as an individual. The teacher I grew closest with was Ms. La Barge, my French teacher for all four years. She was by my side and always made sure to keep my family in her prayers. I also found great comfort in speaking to my guidance counselor at the time, Mrs. Marzorati. She offered great advice and, of course, tissues when I needed it most. Walking around the beautiful campus, I often felt overwhelmed with gratitude for a school like Louisville. I began to fully grasp how blessed I was my junior year, just in time for me to make the most of my senior year.

All too soon, my senior year has come to an end. I have learned, loved and laughed so much. I blossomed. I found my friends, my sisters. I found my faith. I found myself.

Undoubtedly, my senior year taught me how to love and act in love.  I first found this love during Kairos, a four-day spiritual retreat. During these days, you are isolated from the outside world and the worries that come with it. This time away was truly special. I reveled in the beauty of nature,  grew in my spirituality and got to know people beyond first impressions. I later was granted the privilege of leading K’106 after being a candidate on K’104. Under the guidance of Mrs. Zamora, my involvement in Campus Ministry allowed me to love in action as a Christian. While Kairos is a tradition for many other private Catholic high schools, Louisville’s Kairos solidified our class’s sisterhood.

There’s something amazing that happens senior year. You end up where you are supposed to be. People change, some friendships develop, some deteriorate, and some just drift slowly away, but it is all meant to be. To my crazy friends I wish I found sooner – I love you guys. You have brought out the best in me. You have taught me so much just by being yourselves. You have taught me the true meaning of confidence. You have lifted my soul and opened my eyes to a world filled with optimism and hope. The love within this tight-knit group of friends has taught me to love myself.

Thank you Mr. Wilson for encouraging me to try out for softball. Thank you Coach Steve for not only making me a better player, but a more well-rounded individual. Thank you Ms. La Barge for genuinely caring for each of your students. Thank you Mrs. Marzorati for cheering me up when I was feeling down. Thank you Mrs. Goldstein-Boag and Mrs. Flynn for helping me pursue my passion for journalism. Thank you Mrs. Zamora for welcoming me with open arms into Campus Ministry and choosing me to lead Kairos. Thank you to my best friends for loving me for who I am.

Although my time as a Louisville student has come to a close, I will forever be a Louisville girl.

Thank you Louisville for empowering me to see my infinite potential, for the abundance of blessings you have given me through these beautiful people and experiences, for preparing me for my new journey at Chapman University this fall and instilling virtues within me I will keep with me always. Finally, thank you to my parents for all your sacrifices to send me to Louisville. They were well worth it.

Home is where the heart is. Dieu le veult, O Louisville. Thank you, Louisville.



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