The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Thanksgiving to Me

Im super grateful for my three cats this Thanksgiving, as theyve been the sources of joy for me during some really tough moments.
I’m super grateful for my three cats this Thanksgiving, as they’ve been the sources of joy for me during some really tough moments.

To many, Thanksgiving is a celebration that brings together family, friends, and loved ones to express gratitude and share an abundant feast. Within this feast lies a majestic turkey, roasted to perfection and truly made for a king, with an accompanying dish created with a hearty loaf of sourdough, chicken stock, sage, and more. The ruby-red cranberry sauce shimmers with a glossy sheen, and a plethora of pies encircle the bowl of gooey goodness, while many mouths water ravenously, eager to get feasting.

While this national American holiday does revolve around the idea of gratitude, I always get the feeling that the gratitude involved is somewhat superficial. Before indulging in a delicious Thanksgiving feast that the loving hands of a culinarily-gifted loved one crafted, it is a common tradition to go around the table and say what you’re grateful for. 

My family engaged in this tradition as well, and, at first, I viewed it as solely a custom that all American families engaged in prior to digging into their annual sage-seasoned turkey. Like many, I would say that I was thankful for my family, or being alive, or being able to have the food set before me on the table. However, I never truly felt that gratitude in my heart. I never truly grasped how lucky I was to have so much in a world of such limited resources. 

In this past year, life has thrown obstacles at me. Of course, like every other high schooler, I’ve endured my fair share of  mountains of homework, increasing pressure of doing well academically, SAT prep, piling extracurriculars, introductions to college searches, and much more of the daily hecticness that comes with being a junior in high school. 

However, those were hardly anything to me in comparison to the debilitating illness I endured over the summer. This illness took away my ability to use a pencil, my ability to do much without suffering with immense fatigue, and my overall ability to truly live. Most importantly, though, it took away one of my most defining high school endeavor: marching band. 

I’d been through my fair share of medical turmoil in the past, given my extremely intricate and abundant medical history, but none of this had ever been so bad that it took away my ability to perform in the marching band. 

The excruciating rash that coated my entire right hand disabled my ability to even hold my flute, marching at such intense tempos sucked the life out of me, and I was too mentally and physically tired to participate in the 2023-2024 marching season. 

Of course, this crushed me. Without marching band, who was I? Marching band defined my entire high school experience, and without it, I really did have nothing. Marching band took up a solid 80 percent of my fall season, with the beautiful harmony and togetherness of the community producing music that could practically solve world peace. 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t complain about our three-hour rehearsals, or if I denied whining about waking up at 7 a.m. on a weekend to make it to the high school thirty minutes before everyone else to fulfill my duties as the marching band’s equipment manager. However, marching band constituted so many of my high school memories, and I was able to practically taste our spot in winning first place at a national-level competition. So, this was quite a devastating loss to me. At first glance, this may seem like a disaster without any redeeming qualities. How could I possibly feel gratitude in any of this?

This illness took away my happiness and traumatized me with the constant physical and emotional pain it inflicted without any breathing room. Even today, I’m still struggling with tackling some physical and mental side effects of this virus. But, I do feel deep gratitude this Thanksgiving for so many reasons — for my recovery, for the support of teachers, and the incredible journey of self discovery and re-defining who I am. 

I found other activities to fill my time, and that’s when I discovered my immense interest in the Echo club. I write between one to three articles every week, and my creative tendencies flourish through this art form, allowing my inner avid writer to truly explore. 

Prior to this experience, I knew I loved writing, speaking, and expressing my opinion to others. So, I filled my time with a plethora of clubs such as the Echo, the Jewish Student Union, Model UN, Tutoring Club, the Japanese Cultural Club, and much more. 

In these experiences, I ended up finding new sides to myself. I found a newly found passion for my Jewish and Japanese background, as well as an even more intense desire to help people live a more fulfilling life. In these experiences, I got a better sense of what I want to do in the future. I’ve grown my affinity for different languages and cultures while also discovering more into my inherent desire to give marginalized groups a voice, leading me to narrow down my college search to “schools with top international relations programs.” 

Throughout these experiences, I’ve learned what adversity really is, especially in the face of having such a hindering illness during the beginning of my most crucial year of high school. 

Adversity is dreadful and absolutely painful. But I now view it as an extra challenge that life throws at humans. Humans have been through absolutely mindblowing challenges throughout the history of humankind, from surviving hurricanes to wars to genocide to economic depressions and so much more.

However, in the end, we all survive and create an even stronger generation to come because we have survived such challenges. Adversity is what makes us human. Without adversity, we lack a foundation for growth and would not be prepared for challenges that life throws at us. 

So, to me, this year, Thanksgiving has become a time to truly feel gratitude. I’ve survived so much, and my life is truly incredible. I live in a beautiful town with brilliant people and extraordinary opportunities, and I have the best support system in the world: my family. Thanksgiving is a celebration of life and all of the little things, like matcha lattes in the morning or the little meows from the mouths of my furry feline friends. To me, Thanksgiving is a time of reflection and celebration with the warmth of the delectable food in my stomach, and the warmth of the glories of life in my soul. This Thanksgiving, I wish you all a beautiful day of reflection and deep gratitude for all that you have. 

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About the Contributor
Maia Goldman
Maia Goldman, Staff Writer
Maia Goldman ('25) is excited to be writing for The Echo for this 2023-2024 school year! In her spare time, she enjoys being part of the Tenafly Tigers Marching Band, writing a plethora of creative stories, and watching the news. She aspires to be an international attorney someday.