Veniums, Natavimus, Vivimus (We Came, We Swam, We Conquered)

SARAH BUERKER AND KELLY GAO

The Guilderville swim team is notoriously close. With a coach as whimsical as the parade of rambunctious high school girls he coaches, it’s hard to believe we placed fourth at sectionals this year—a hard earned achievement considering three of the top four teams of NYS were among our many competitors. However, the most remarkable aspect of our team does not lie in our podium triumphs but in the closeness of our team family. With a team whose athletes treat each other like sisters, it’s a wonder it all started with each girl’s individual dedication to the sport they love, which came long before the defining characteristic of Guilderville: our dedication to each other. Swimming is a sport in which athletes have been taught from a young age that the focus is, and should always be, on your own progress. This is precisely why it’s been a huge privilege to have been a member of such a tightly knit team, on which each athlete swims not for themselves but for the team’s success as a whole. Each girl is always excited and enthusiastic, even if they didn’t put up the best time they’ve been working for but beat the girl on the opposing team swimming next to them, scoring points for Guilderville. Though we might not have won every meet, the cheers and screams from the side of the pool were never hushed, teammates never failing to group hug you after your races, whether your relay just made states or you barely made it to the wall. Over the years, this group of girls has had the uncanny ability to make each other leave all the problems and worries of the day in the locker room. After the countless hours spent training, laughing, racing, and working together, we think we speak for all of us Guilderville swimmers when we say we know the tiles of the bottom of our pool better than we know the creaks in our own floorboards at home.

Regardless of race, school, age, background, we’ve always let our talents and the effort we put into the pool talk for us. Though not all of our swimmers may be from Guilderland, our quiet perseverance and incredibly strong family bond show the level of dedication, loyalty, and respect we have for each other, qualities all athletes at Guilderland have for their teammates. This small but spirited circle of girls, which we have had the greatest honor of being a part of, represents the best aspects of our Guilderland family, dysfunctionality and all.

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I Am Guilderland: Carlsy Ybanez

Carlsy Ybanez

Hi, I am Carl, I come from the Philippines, all throughout my life, I have been moving to place to place, I’ve been to America and back as well. When I grew up, traveling, change , and adaptation was a habit for me. I got used to the whole mentality of meeting new people, friends, and sometimes even enemies. But I didn’t enjoy it as much. It was tiring to say the least.

But, finally when I was settled down in a cozy town in the Philippines for the 3rd straight year, I experienced a horrifying accident, I got hit by a drunk driver, and flew somewhere around 40 yards before landing. It shook my entire world! I had blood clot in my brain, a broken shoulder and elbow, and some scratches here and there. My whole face was swollen. Doctor said I might have died If I had gotten the surgery an hour late. But, yet, I survived! I woke up in the hospital bed, a day after surgery, so oblivious to the events that just took place,that the doctor and my family had to explain it to me, slowly. I was shocked by the misfortune, and the suffering I brought unto myself and my family. I was burdened by the thought.

Anyway, due to our financial situation, I was discharged 2 days later. with a wheel chair, a couple dozen staples on my head, and a cluster of confusing emotions. We were broke, to be honest, we had encountered many past unfortunate events before that, like our house burning down, or me dislocating my elbow, but his just put the topping on the cake. My mom then had to go abroad, towards my dad, who lived in Albany, NY. ,my sister went with her too. Of course, they had no intention of leaving me, so a year later, after finishing up my papers, and planning everything out. I finally took the 2 day flight to an airport near Long Island, NY. After the tiring flight, I landed and had a heart warming reunion with my family. We settled down in my aunt’s house near the airport, just to brush the jetlag off. But, after those few days we were on our way to Guilderland, New York, My new home.

By that time, I was already recovered and ready to get on with the road ahead, I’ve had people tell me that it wasn’t my fault, and that I was at the wrong place at the wrong time, but for some reason I still had a finger pointing towards me, and it was my own finger. But I realized that coming to Guilderland, and meeting new friends, experiencing new culture, and meeting some of the best teachers I have ever learned from, was a new start from me. It made me different, I felt the chip on my shoulder disappear. I left that chip and the entire accident in the Philippines. I really enjoy Guilderland, because I realized that sometimes you need a new beginning, a new home to realize some of the simplest things,that “I am a survivor, not a victim” -Patricia Buckley.

Personal Narrative: Abbey Ferris

ABBEY FERRIS

When I was younger, I thought my parents’ love was perfect. They kissed every morning while the coffee brewed, they called each other during work, they were happy. When I was ten, they stopped kissing, they never called, they were fighting. I watched my mom’s heart break. My model of a relationship was awful. I swore at the age of ten that I would never find happiness because I thought love would never work for me.

I see now where my mistake was thinking I would never be happy. Society’s view of love is flawed. To many, if you haven’t met someone, you can’t be happy. Being alone means being lonely which means being depressed. But, that’s where it gets silly. Love isn’t about being selfish. it’s just being with someone you care for. You can’t rely on it to always be there. That is why happiness shouldn’t be determined by another person.

Most of us have dealt with depression in some form. In the back of the mind of every depressed person is the fear of never being happy. So I get it. At our age, love is really fun. It’s reckless, dreamy, intense. It feels good when you’re in that honeymoon phase. When you’re sad, it seems like the cure. What’s so awful is that no matter how happy that person may make you, it doesn’t treat your sickness. It only sugar coats it and let me tell you, it can only do it for so long.

It’s easy to slip into this mind set that once something we wait for happens, we will be happy for the rest of our lives. Once we reach college. Once we get married. Once we have children. Once we fall in love. But, those things can be taken from us so quickly. You can wake up one morning with divorce papers. You can flunk out of your dream school. You can lose custody of your kids. If you’re happy just because you’re happy, no one can take that from you.

What scares me the most is the fact that one person can change your emotions so quickly. I admit to having met boys and falling so quickly that when miscommunication or a break-up happens, I feel so sad. I feel emotionally worn out. I admit to having felt so happy in the moment. As it crumbled down, it hurt a lot more than it should.

At this age we are vulnerable and afraid. We are naive, lost, trying to figure ourselves out. If we took the time to focus on ourselves instead of focusing on ridding our loneliness, we would be happier. If we surrounded ourselves with friends, we would be happier. If we focused on our goals, we would be happier. If we let love find us, we would be so much happier.

Above all else, what your main objective is right now is to love yourself. If you can’t love yourself, how do you expect to love someone else? How can you live with that little voice telling you they don’t want you because you don’t want you? You are worth the greatest love but you need to give yourself time to find it. Dating is not wrong. Just don’t you dare let yourself slip into the mind set that you aren’t worth anything if you aren’t with someone. Don’t let your happiness be something they can take away from you.

Poem: Life and Death

COLIN BUYCK

A group of their closest, crammed together,

Darkness fills the souls of all relatives.

Mourning, it’s the typical endeavor.

For all, these seem to be repetitive.

Honoring the beauty with the sobbing.

Commemorating the beauty of life,

With their closest companions, hearts throbbing.

All filled with tears, putting aside their strife.

Battling time, never victorious.

The end is always inevitable,

We’ll always fight versus the relentless.

Celebration and death, compatible.

Joining together, with sadness in heart.

Celebrate life, it is truly an art.