Ka Leo Goodbye Letter


Senior Rianne Pada will be attending the University of Hawaii, Manoa in the Fall 2018.

Rianne Pada, Blog

40 years ago, the president of the Kalani senior class of 1978, Sheldon Lee, wrote a farewell letter in their school’s newspaper, the original Ka Leo O Kalani. The last sentence of his speech refuses to leave my brain — it constantly circulates, always there.

“The world that we, as adults, are about to enter looks bleak,” he wrote. “But we have the potential to do whatever we want.”

I laughed when I first read Lee’s speech in Ka Leo O Kalani’s 1978 “Senior Paper,” branded “the last paper…at last.” It’s written in the voice of a true teenager; clumsily and awkwardly and probably right before the pending deadline. But it’s authentic and true, bittersweet in its hesitant goodbyes.

The notion that the world after graduation looks “bleak” still reigns true four decades later, as I and the rest of the Class of 2018 inch closer and closer to our departure. The prospect of student debt is still as terrifying as ever, the political climate could not seem rockier, and the idea of having to figure out a career and a major proves to be difficult for many.

Four decades later and this buzz still surrounds the seniors: the mighty class, the lucky class. Graduating is still hard to wrap my head around, still keeps me up at night. I think about it every day.

There are parts of high school that are truly ridiculous, and I think everybody knows that, too. Those registration days, the heat, trying to navigate a hallway behind slow walkers. And still no free wifi, after all this time!

But there are some great, great memories made here that I hope I never ever forget, looking back on these past four years. I’ll miss the theatrics, how there always seems to be something happening, somewhere. I’ll miss the assemblies, that hot gym, the yelling and the party of it all. I’ll miss my friends and the way it was, the people we used to be. Those pool parties. That APUSH class. There was always something beautiful about our little castle by the freeway.

Maybe that’s what I find so scary about graduating — losing what makes us young dumb broke high school kids, no longer drowning in adolescence, doing things that only really matter when you’re 14, or 15, or 16. Sure there are better things ahead, I know. But maybe I’ll forget about the teenage folklore, the legends, the stories.

It won’t matter what the sun felt like in the afternoon, how it felt to dance with you in the hallways, the sun setting at a football game. I used to think the moments would never stop, that I’d always be surrounded by acne boys, a magic glow. Was I dreaming? Did any of it matter?

When I was a freshman I used to build these gigantic metaphors about graduating in the form of really awful poetry, how it was like being sent off to space.nd the graduating class were all astronauts, never to be heard of again. It was so ridiculous. Still, I thrived off of those visions of grandeur and make-believe. I miss believing that, believing that finally leaving Kalani would be as splendid as stepping into a rocket.

So like Mr. Sheldon Lee way back when, I bid farewell to my school and to Ka Leo O Kalani, a paper I’ve written for since my sophomore year. I remember Mrs. Hayashi standing in front of us, telling us that we were going to revive this paper, being so excited and intrigued and dreaming of high school productions you see in movies, fairy tales. And while my time with the Ka Leo O Kalani wasn’t quite blockbuster material, I still learned so much about journalism, still put my heart into its creation.

And for me, this is my last paper… At last!