Being who I am, I naturally am not an open book. If anything is wrong or stresses me out, I tend to bottle it up because I want to appear as optimistic and strong. When I moved to the school I’m at now, I was an even more shut off person than I was in middle school. It wasn’t until an older student took me under their wing, and we became friends. Not only was she a person I could look up to, but a person I could talk to as a friend. At the time, I was a friendless freshmen who didn’t talk to anyone, so she was my only confidant. As high school progressed, we became closer. She would vent to me, I would vent to her. She was the only person I knew who would stick up for me no matter what.

I am a senior now, and she has already graduated, and I almost feel lost without her. We would always check in about each other’s days, making sure we knew we had each other. As a senior, I try to replicate this mentorship I had with the younger students. I want to show the younger students about how powerful it is, how it can make maybe a friendless freshman feel a little less lonely.

—Lin-Wood High School