Editor’s note: Westside Christian High School moved from Lake Oswego to Tigard, and the Review’s Westside columnist, Jillian Ramos, has left with her school. This is her final column.

Jillian Ramos

While holidays can differ on an international level, one celebration that unites us all is the coming of the new year. What better way to start fresh than welcoming another year?

It’s amazing how the seconds between Dec. 31, 2013, and Jan. 1, 2014, can mean so much to people. For those of us attending Westside Christian High, the beginning of the new year really drives home the fact that we’re moving.

For a student body that’s had to deal with scheduling glitches and delays, finally being able to embrace this change is both exciting and daunting. We’ll be going from a church-owned building tucked away in its own little community to a bright, shining new building on a hill, for everyone to see. Our place in the community will suddenly be much more apparent.

From what I’ve heard, last year’s seniors were supposed to be leading the student body into the new building. Of course, as fate would have it, the scheduling didn’t work out. The move was postponed to this year.

I remember at the beginning of the school year, during our senior retreat, hearing the others talk about how it was part of God’s plan for us to be the seniors leading the move. After all, to an extent, we like to believe that there are no mistakes. And as I looked around at the others, seeming so sure of themselves and ready to take on this position of leadership, all I could think was, “I don’t want it.”

Honestly, I didn’t think I had any place among my classmates. I had attended a small option school in the Beaverton School District only months before, right in the middle of my junior year. I kept giving vague reasons as to my transfer, but the truth is, I was trying to escape from the problems I had there.

I spent a majority of 2013 trying to hide or escape or run away. I pushed others away, I broke bonds that could have been mended, and I held onto anger in the hope that maybe my heart would harden enough to the point where it would become unbreakable. Who cared if I became irredeemable? All I thought I could be was alone.

I didn’t think I had any place among my current classmates. When I look at them, I still see these overachieving, put-together kids who have a bright future ahead of them. Of course they make good leaders. I couldn’t be grouped with them. I didn’t want it. How could someone as far gone as me be a leader in a school that would be Tigard’s “city on a hill”?

However, despite Christmas emptiness and despite the bitterness of looking back on 2013, I let myself hope that, just maybe, I could be more than the person I’ve forced myself to be. If I could just have a second chance, a clean slate ... maybe I could be someone worth looking up to.

What better clean slate than the start of a new year?

We won’t be tucked away in our own little community anymore. Maybe this is the chance for me and people like me to decide not to tuck ourselves away into our figurative shells anymore. Westside’s no longer hiding, so maybe I don’t have to anymore, either. I’m not sure what I’ll find, and I’m not sure what any of us will face in a new building and a new district, but we have a new beginning. Even if we were afraid before, this year is our chance to take a huge step in becoming the people and community we were meant to be. And that idea gives me a feeling I haven’t had in a very long time: hope.

Jillian Ramos is a senior at Westside Christian High School, and she wrote a monthly column for the Review. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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