A Very Wilson Thanksgiving

The Beacon Staff

When we sit down to brainstorm ideas for our monthly staff editorial, we usually end up with a whiteboard full of complaints. This month, we had another lengthy list, and the negativity of our usual staff editorials became overwhelmingly apparent. So, amidst all our criticisms, we decided to take some time to appreciate all that we love about Wilson.

Arriving at school in the morning, we’re thankful for our Kids Ride Free Metro cards. Waiting in line to go through the metal detectors, we’re thankful that our school day doesn’t start until 8:55, and after the bell rings, for our five-minute grace period.

Stopping by the gender-inclusive bathrooms on the way to first period, we’re thankful to be part of an accepting community. And we’re happy to have new and fully functional soap dispensers.

The rest of the day we spend bouncing between different classrooms with different teachers. We often complain about our own workloads, but being responsible for 150-plus students—grading, planning engaging lessons, and keeping us out of trouble—is a huge task for our teachers. There’s so much that teachers are constantly doing to grow and help us learn more effectively, like LEAP planning and observations, which in large part go unnoticed by students. These are people who devote their lives to our education; they shape our minds and guide our transition into adulthood. And they do a pretty wonderful job. 

There are countless teachers who take on more than just their classroom responsibilities by sponsoring clubs. We’re incredibly thankful to those who go out of their way to support student interests and exploration—we’d be nowhere without our own mentor, Spencer Nissly.

Speaking of overworked faculty, we seniors are thankful for our counselors, who, between them, have over 400 students to guide through post-high-school planning. Even when applications aren’t looming, they work tirelessly in an attempt to get everyone into the classes they want to take.

We’re grateful to have an administration that keeps student happiness and school spirit as top priorities. We have foosball in the Tiger Cafe, Mr. Bargeman cranking music in the atrium at STEP, and a spirit week that strengthens our connection to our school and to each other. And beyond morale, we’re thankful to have a team of adults who are so focused on making Wilson a school of equal opportunity. We’ve seen this with the implementation of Honors for All and our free AP tests and in-school SAT.

Our gratitude doesn’t just end when the school day does. We’d be hard-pressed to find another school that offers such an array of sports and activities. Beyond the conventional soccer and football, theater and a student newspaper, we also have Fortnite and K-pop clubs, badminton and squash, and Common Ground—just to name a few. If we find ourselves with free afternoons, we can head into Tenleytown and enjoy a smorgasbord of food options to satisfy our after-school cravings, and we can enjoy them from the highest point in DC, perched at the top of Fort Reno.

We’re even thankful for Wilson’s imperfections. Navigating these flaws encourages active citizenship and self-advocacy. Though we may not like every single part of this school, we’re still thankful for the way Wilson has impacted our character.

We start each Beacon production cycle brainstorming staff editorial ideas, and as the process comes to a close several days later, we read the editorial aloud as a staff to finalize it. The editorial read is a moment of pause at the end of a hectic process to regroup and reflect. In those moments sitting around, looking at all the people who’ve put so much into The Beacon for the past few weeks, the weight of everyone’s contributions feels extremely tangible. At the end of the night, we’re reminded that we’re thankful not just for the people on staff, but for the faculty and students who let us badger them with interviews all month and the custodians and security guards who graciously let us stay in the building well beyond what’s convenient for them. And for Wilson—for being a place worth writing about.