The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “legacy” as “something left or handed down by a predecessor.” A family heirloom, a house, etc. And yet most people think of a legacy as something that is intangible. It’s an impact that’s not necessarily seen, but is certainly felt. I’ve recently been contemplating what the class of 2018’s legacy is going to be. And for some reason, the only thing that comes to mind is the fact that we were almost the only class to lose our senior spirit week in twenty-something years.
All kidding aside, legacies are something people tend to really focus on, and at times even obsess over. Presidents spend the majority of their terms wondering what exactly it is that they will be remembered for, so much so that a legacy can look more like a looming expectation rather than a feat to be proud of. It simply human nature. We all want to be remembered for something, something positive. Something that, when people talk about you, they’re talking of someone great.
Founder of psychology William James once said, “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” And that’s essentially what a legacy is in a nutshell. We want to leave a mark so permanent that it is still being talked about long after we are gone. And the thing is, in just a few short weeks, we will be gone. And a few weeks after that, construction will begin on the Lincoln High School building, and the hallways of this school will never look the same. So the question remains, how are we as the class of 2018 supposed to leave a mark on a building that is leaving with us?
In a way, the answer lies within the question itself. Upon graduating, we will always be known as the very last class to have graduated from the Lincoln High School as we know it now. Because by next year, everything will be different. None of this will be here. And while it is in order to make room for something new, there will always be fond memories within this building, no matter how many holes there are in the gymnasium floor.
I hope we will be remembered as a kind class, too. There are a lot of wonderful people in the senior class, who are all about to go off and do great things, leaving legacies there as well. In a year that has given us plenty to talk about, I am glad to have left my own mark in the form of words. Benjamin Franklin said that if you want to leave a lasting impact, write something worth reading or do something worth writing. I may not have done the latter quite yet, but I hope I’ve been worth the read.