This story is also published on Best of SNO.
“When we stepped off the bus at the Harding Building, an immediate feeling of nostalgia came over me. It was like I was a freshman all over again. It was a very joyous moment,” dance student Katherine Serna said as she got off the bus at the old building.
On March 1 seniors took a trip back to what used to be the old VMT school campus, located downtown.
As the seniors reminisced their emotions poured out for many reasons. They were the last class that attended the old campus before the new one opened in fall of 2015. The field trip allowed students to go back and reflect on all the memories that the old campus gave them.
“I was sad because I was reflecting on my past experiences, and as I was doing that I was also remembering the memories that I had of the old campus,” journalism student Milton Hattem said on the bus on the way to the old campus.
There were many seniors anxious to get to the old VMT to see all the old buildings. There was definitely a lot of excitement as they got closer. Along with that excitement, there was sadness as the students started to remember all the memories the old campus brought to them.
“I feel very nostalgic and I remember all the memories this campus brought and the good times that I had with my teachers and friends,” literary magazine student Carolina Gamez said.
As the seniors arrived at the old VMT they were getting off the bus with joy. They seemed happy to finally be there again after 3 years.
The seniors began reflecting the most when they got off the bus and started walking towards the old theatre building. Along the way ,seniors were laughing with each other and talking about all the things they missed the most.
“I miss it because it didn’t feel like a school. It honestly felt like a college campus. All the different buildings were spread out and it is something I really liked,” woodwinds student Magdalena Pecina said.
As seniors kept walking around the old campus many described the old buildings and campus as “memorable.” They felt the old campus and its open space was something that made the magnet school unique.
It was not only a great place that helped create memories they said, but it was a place that made a lot of students feel free. It was one of the reasons that the seniors liked the old campus better and now miss it.
A lot of students said it felt like a college campus to them.
“I feel I like the old campus better because it was bigger and we had so much more freedom. All of the buildings were separated so going to classes was an opportunity to take a stroll outside,” Serna said.
Not only did many students miss the freedom that the campus had to offer but they missed the advantages that the spread-out campus had. Students were able to create more memories because the buildings were far apart and took some walking to get to. Many seniors felt they were able to be more creative with the open space.
“As a creative writing student we use to be able to take a lot more pictures and we use to have places where we could sit down and think and write like the park (St. Peters Plaza). We used to be able to sit down on the staircase (Harding Building) and look at all the traffic and people passing by and it felt really therapeutic,” Gamez said.
There were many emotions that were revealed as the seniors walked around the old campus. There were happy, sad and in-between feelings that the seniors were expressing as they looked the old buildings.
“As I was walking around with my friends, I felt really happy, yet sad. I was happy to be back but sad that the trip would soon end. I was also sad that we didn’t get the opportunity to attend classes there our sophomore, junior and senior years. It was a bittersweet feeling,” Serna said.
Not only were the seniors moved by the memories that the old campus brought to them, but they were moved by how much the experience has helped them grow.
“I felt a mixture of happiness and sadness. I’m happy I get to see the people I have known for 4 years grow as students and as people. I was able to see how much I have grown as well,” strings student Geraldine Morua said.
As seniors’ emotions poured out, there were many memories that the students were sharing with each other. The memories that the students were sharing not only made their emotions build up, but it made them miss the old campus even more. The seniors became grateful to be able to have experienced so much as they reflected on everything.
“I feel grateful that I was able to experience the trip to the old VMT but I am sad that the freshman that I know won’t be able to experience it. Being able to go back was a really good experience and it made me realize that it is a place that should not be forgotten,” Gamez said.
Senior Madelyn Dion, The Magnet Tribune editor, came up with the idea to visit the old campus. When it was approved by school Director Dr. Martha Villarreal she was able to help organize and plan the trip.
Journalism teacher Mark Webber explained some of what was involved.
“A lot of the challenges really involved me as a teacher being able to approach people in higher positions to get permission and get certain things done like, for example, opening the courtyard and the theatre building yard. I asked the principal and assistant principal (Dr. Elsa Barron) for their assistance because they are able to easily communicate with people in the higher up positions that we needed access to,” Webber said.
Dion said that at times the planning did become challenging, but at the end, it was all worth it to her. Even with all the challenges, she was glad to have been able to help plan the special field trip.
“I am glad I planned this trip because it’s one last memory that the seniors have all together downtown. When we got downtown and when I saw how happy everyone was it made it all worth it,” Dion said.
Overall, the seniors say they definitely miss the old campus and they say that it will always be special to them.
“The campus will always be special to me because I was able to make many friends there along with many memories,” Dion said. “Also, we were the last class to go there so that is something that will always be special to me.”