home Q&A Q&A: How Will Wilgucope with Our Loss (Seniors Leaving)

Q&A: How Will Wilgucope with Our Loss (Seniors Leaving)

 Tony Julian | tjulian19@dtechhs.org | June 7, 2018
Photo by Evan Tung

Summer is creeping up on all of us. The thought of time off with friends, focusing on jobs, or just relaxing by yourself is in all our heads. But for seniors, it’s a stressful time making sure you’re set to graduate, prep for college, or just get ready to leave everyone to pursue your future. Mr. Wilgus, d.tech’s history teacher and senior @d.tech advisor, knows the seniors as well as just about anybody, and shared his opinions on them, and how he feels about them leaving. Will he miss them when Wilgus RETURNS next year?

Q: How do you feel about the seniors leaving? Are there students you’ll miss?

“Of course there are students that I’ll miss. The irony of loving your students is, I want them near me because I like them, and I want them to go away cause it’s good for them. So, on the one hand, yeah it’ll be sad to lose some. On the other, good, they should probably go. It would be inappropriate to stay here for too long. It gets increasingly uncomfortable if you overstay your high-school four year experience. A fifth year is extra awkward, and beyond that…might even be illegal.


Q: Do you think your sadness is due to you being a senior @d.tech advisor?

That part doesn’t actually make a big difference, mostly because I get such weird attendance for my seniors. I’ve got a couple of students taking so many courses at community college nearby that they never come here. I miss you Evan Tung. We all do. But realistically, it’s fine it’s good, most of what our @d.tech has been is [figuring out] ‘how do we leave without burning everything down behind us?’ Because it’s right and natural to feel constrained when you’re…a koi fish who has outgrown your aquarium. Slapping your fins against the walls, knockin’ over the mermaid and the little fake plants at the bottom.

It’s good that they feel uncomfortable here–this isn’t the place for them anymore. It’s bad when they start to get uncomfortable being here, and in order to ease the pain of departure, it’s easier to leave something if you hate it, than if you love it. So many of them are in the process of pivoting to “I don’t like it here anymore. It’s easier to leave if I don’t like it, and so I don’t. It’s easier to make this big scary life shift if I disdain the old thing and look forward to the new.” It’s okay, it’s how seniors are all the time everywhere. You outgrow it. Y’know, like a koi fish, in a very small aquarium.

 

Q: Do you genuinely believe the spirit or the message of d.tech will be diluted in a way because the founding class is leaving? And are the juniors capable of picking up what the seniors left?

Oh, they’re more than capable. Our seniors, for the most part, have benefited from lower expectations and have created the higher expectations we hold subsequent classes to. There’s not a senior student I know who doesn’t have a story about over-procrastinating something, because it was a behavior that was inadvertently enabled when they first started here. And one that [they] could not eliminate. Every class should get better than the previous class, and the juniors this year have semi-large shoes to fill, and I imagine these juniors will leave unknowingly-slightly-larger shoes for the current crop of sophomores to fill when they get to that point, too.

 

Q: Do you believe there’s any sort of issue we haven’t thought of yet that will happen next year?

I think the thing we haven’t considered all the way–or at least I haven’t considered all the way–is, what does it look like if we have 5th year seniors? What does it look like if our first graduating class, doesn’t? Where do they go, what do they do? How do they stay a part of the d.tech community despite maybe the community not being ready for them, or the system not being ready to account for 5th year seniors? What @d.tech do they go in? Are they in a senior @d.tech? Do they drop down one–do they go all the way back to the beginning again and join a freshman @d.tech? Do they even have an @d.tech? I don’t know. That’s a tough thing to figure out, especially when the school is competency-based, and if you either haven’t demonstrated competency or haven’t finished the thing you’re supposed to have demonstrated competency on, you don’t get to go yet.

 

Q: Is there anything you’d like to tell the freshman about the seniors that they might not know?

I think everybody knows this intellectually, but it’s easy to forget in practice: The current group of seniors were equally or more annoying than the current group of freshman when they were freshman.

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