Showing gratitude for life


Khalid Mohamed

It is the month of Thanksgiving and everyone is grateful

Khalid Mohamed, Writer

It is the month of giving thanks and many people at OHS are reflecting on their lives and the things they are most grateful for. Throughout the year, students and teachers alike have found new moments that brought them a sense of gratitude and have reminded themselves of older memories and moments that shaped them to be who they are today.

For many people at OHS, this extends to the people in their lives and the experiences they had at OHS. OHS Social Studies teacher Ms. Laura Epland said, “I am most grateful for my childhood and how I was raised. I had a really close knit family who supported me, which was awesome.” Students also have reflected on opportunities they received. Senior Max Guenther said, “Joining the All-State choir because it provided me with lots of opportunities after college and gave me scholarships.” Many people at OHS value family. Guenther said, “They provide for me and give me a home and all those basic things, but also because they got me to be the person I am today.”

Not only are people thankful for their families, they are also thankful for music. Ms. Epland said, “I’m really grateful for music. I like to play the guitar and the piano. Music really does a lot to help you connect with what’s happening.” Guenther feels the same, as he said, “R&B and rock really connect with me and I like the message that a lot of the songs have.” 

Technology is also something that students and staff at OHS feel grateful for, although it can come with its faults. Ms. Epland said, “I’m grateful for the technology; I use most of the time. I think sometimes we become too dependent on our technology and sometimes that can have a negative impact. But overall, technology has made my life a lot easier.” Technology has also been impactful for students. OHS senior Gabriella Lamont said, “I’m grateful for it since it helps me connect with my friends and stay closer to them.” Some students aren’t so grateful for their technology. OHS freshman Angel Barajas said, “I’m grateful for technology but also not because it can be something you can use to get you to where you want to be but it can lead you to bad places as well.” 

Many people at OHS have a special place in their heart that helped shape their lives. Ms. Epland said, “My aunt and uncle used to live on a lake and that was always my favorite place in the whole world. Just sitting at the dock going fishing and waiting in the water watching the sunset. I always felt like that was the most beautiful place in the world.” For others, it may be somewhere completely different. Guenther said, “Probably Montana. I like going out to Montana because it’s really nice. It’s remote and there’s lots of cool things to see.” 

This month also helped people at OHS recall the hard times that they ended up being grateful for. Ms. Epland said, “I have had some really difficult times since I started teaching. I’ve had some difficult times in college. But ideally you work through it and you come out the other side.” But, people have also used this month to reflect on the acts of kindness that made them feel grateful. Guenther said, “I volunteer with the St. Vincent DePaul Society and I really enjoy being able to give people furniture, especially when they don’t have any other means of getting it. So it’s always great seeing how happy they are.” 

Every year, at some points in the semester, I’ll get random notes from students thanking me for being their teacher and impacting their lives. Those notes always mean the most to me. I keep them and look at them sometimes when I need inspiration.

— Ms. Epland


November has been a month that helped staff at OHS reflect on their relationships with students. Ms. Epland said, “Every year, at some points in the semester, I’ll get random notes from students thanking me for being their teacher and impacting their lives. Those notes always mean the most to me. I keep them and look at them sometimes when I need inspiration.” Students also reflected on their relationships with staff. Guenther felt most grateful for Mr. Fish. Guenther said, “He taught me how to write good papers and have good grammar and he’s a great guy.” OHS senior Madeline Koslosky also felt grateful for Ms. Drever. Koslosky said, “Ms. Drever helped me a lot with math and she is a great teacher.” OHS senior Bianca Avalos is grateful for Mr. Kuehn. Avalos said, “Mr. Kuehn inspires a lot of kids and I loved having art with him.”

Throughout all of this year, students and staff alike have felt very grateful for being able to come back to school in person. Ms. Epland said, “I am honestly most grateful that we are back in person so I can see my students every day in front of me, because it was hard and  disheartening sometimes last year to not be able to interact with my students.” Guenther also felt the same. He said, “I struggled a lot being online and I’m very happy that I can see all my friends and be able to actually learn at school.” OHS has had a rollercoaster of a year, but students and staff are still able to find something to feel grateful for in the midst of it all.