Senior Sendoff: Lane Shaffer


At the end of eighth grade, I laid out a plan: 

1. Graduate high school in two years. 

2. Go to college.

3. Get a good job and settle down. 

My former self would be appalled to hear how that turned out, but I am eternally grateful that my plan did not come to fruition. 

Staying for all of high school allowed me to learn things that school couldn’t teach me about the value of taking things slower and applying myself to the things I care about.

The things I care about. I could make a list a thousand lines long: The Oracle, wrestling, Taylor Swift, ceramic mugs, and so forth. But that doesn’t really achieve anything, other than a list that includes the ten best Asian restaurants in Portland. But I do like lists, so let’s rank my four years of high school.

In last place with a score of 4/10, we have my freshman year: forgettable. The ever-present drone of CCE and freshman English only grew louder when COVID-19 struck and we were moved online, and I quickly lost touch with all aspects of school. My favorite moment of freshman year was when I found out my hair didn’t have to be in a side-part. 

At a close third with a score of 4.5/10, we have my sophomore year: brutal. Academics quickly ramped up for me with four AP classes (and pre-calculus, which is arguably harder) and socially-distanced wrestling practices returned. I moved my plans to graduate to junior year and filled my time with as many academic and extracurricular activities as I could manage because anything was better than sitting at home.

I often found myself making a pot of coffee around midnight and completing a few weeks of notes or a long project in the following hours. While this wasn’t the healthiest, it got the job done. I nearly left these two years out of my senior sendoff, but I think they are the reason I can appreciate my more recent memories. 

Landing a strong second-place finish with an 8/10 is my junior year: confusing. This was a transformative year for me. I grew more outgoing, joined the newspaper, and flourished in constitution team. I went into the year planning to graduate—I signed the papers, applied to colleges, and was set to run off into the real world. But as my first full year of in-person high school developed, I had second thoughts about leaving early. So I made a last-minute decision to stay—for wrestling, for my friends, for the newspaper, for my own mental health. This was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made and I would never reverse it. 

My senior year has been a year of personal growth and new experiences. With only three or four real classes, I’ve been able to dedicate my time to things I actually enjoy and care about, as well as having the time to travel, do outdoor school, and sleep in. I finally placed at state for wrestling, created a newspaper I was proud of, and visited another country. A beautiful end to four tumultuous years.

I could give a long, sincere thank you to a million different people in this school and community for the life, laughter, and love they’ve provided me with, but I’ll narrow it down to a few. Cale Holt is the most empathetic, genuine and supportive coach I could ask for. If I someday impact a person in the way he has impacted me and so many others, I will consider myself successful. The entire wrestling team was also a source of inspiration for me. Through COVID-19, injuries, and emotional strife, I had a team I could rely on to support and comfort me. It was a source of consistency and I will never repay everything the wrestling community has given me.

Equally influential in my life have been my incredible friends who I rely on for free food, joy and love. Some I have known for years and others a mere couple of months, but regardless of time I am honored every day to be in such venerable company. Some of my fondest memories are working late into the night on the newspaper (with more than a few breakdowns), wrangling sixth graders at outdoor school, and taking little trips together. I’m constantly inspired by the people around me and, while I am sad to part ways in a few days/weeks/months, I know we will find each other again. I’ll enter a new chapter in my life at Willamette University next fall, but honestly? I hope it’s pretty similar to this past year.