Paul Bruce (’20)
June 4, 2020
My cross country coach here at East, Coach Corey, told me freshman year that if there was any doubt in my mind as to whether I tried my best, then I had let myself down. I always remembered these words throughout my four years at East, as I prepared for June 2020, when I hoped to leave this school and cross my very last finish line with nothing left in the tank. In less than two weeks after graduation, I will leave these fond memories behind and begin a new chapter of my life as a cadet at the United States Military Academy. Going to West Point was not a clear-cut goal of mine four years ago nor has it always been my dream to join the Army. Rather, I acquired this sense of purpose through the selfless role models that are my track and cross country coaches and the priceless instruction of my teachers and advisors; all of which I would never have met if I hadn’t taken a few risks (and lost more than a few SGA elections along the way). For all the underclassmen still searching for what they want to do or who they want to become when they leave these halls behind, look no further and start taking advantage of everything around you. You will never regret being part of something bigger than yourself, no matter how hard it seems. I cherish the times when I was bogged down with homework, when I did not give up when the race got hard, or when I stayed up late studying for a test simply because one day, I would wish that I had done more and not be able to change that. Now, with my last few months of school and my last track season cut short, I often wish I could be back on that starting line, in my spikes and in my white jersey, or even just having the chance to put on one last SGA event. I think I can speak for my entire class when I say that the end wasn’t the freedom we were hoping for, but I think that lets us appreciate the journey more. I am content waving goodbye this summer knowing that I left my mark here, even if it’s only half the size of the mark East has left on me.