Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom

Anna Dabrowski, Head Editor

Dear future student leaders,


I have been heavily involved in everything throughout my high school career, making me qualified to give advice. I graduate later this month as the President of the Class of 2022, Student Senate, and NHS. I am also the head editor of EMC, a member of gtv, and a member of jazz band. I have participated in robotics, best buddies, science club, masterminds, poetry outloud, and weather club throughout my years at Galway. Many would say something along the lines of “although it was stressful, I have zero regrets.” This is not me, I have many regrets regarding my time at Galway. 


Don’t be me…


Some of my involvement was a major waste of time. Often, people have over-optimistic ideas of what an organization could be, but no one has time. When the same four involved students are spread across fourteen clubs each club acts more as a common app allusion. Can you write down that you participated? Yes. But did you gain anything? No. If I could go back in time I would choose between three and five activities to be truly passionate about, and I would be extremely careful about what leadership roles I took on because…


Everyone hates a leader


Time and time again I was nominated for leadership roles, and elected because no one else would run. As an elected officer I did not receive much respect, and played the bad guy in nearly every situation. This was emotionally draining to say the least, and was a detriment to my mental health. My peers constantly gossiped and mocked me, as well as adults in the community. Maybe my leadership roles were a necessary character lesson, and they did teach me this. Those who put you in power will always complain regardless of what you decide about anything. So instead of listening to the complaints, listen to people with genuine criticisms, and yes there is a difference. Your job as an officer is to take into account the opinions and suggestions of those who respectfully and thoughtfully convey them. I believe I achieved this at Galway. Many may say they are unhappy with my roles and decisions, but these are the same people who were never willing to have a discussion with me to my face. And with that I will also say that my leadership positions taught me…


Sexism is alive and well


As a woman in leadership I experienced some sexism, but never the overt type. I was constantly called crazy by my peers, and mocked for my assertive personality. An assertive personality I only had to take on due to the lack of respect in the first place. Some people failed to give any attention during meetings and many students chose to talk over me. I quickly gained a bossy reputation, one that no male would earn, simply because I did my job and delegated duties. So for my females in leadership positions, you have to be ten times tougher. You can report overtly sexist actions, but this is difficult to do when there are only sexist undertones. Also, sometimes the battle isn’t worth it, and you have to find solace in the fact that you will come out on top in the real world if you keep persevering. It is hard. It really is, getting called crazy in and out for four years truly sucked, but nothing in life is a cakewalk. My very personality altered to be assertive, which is partially due to the fact that…


Everyone loves to do nothing

The majority of people join clubs to exist, not to actually do anything. Generally in life people take the path of ease. In my experience I had to complete many tasks myself or they wouldn’t get done at all. Towards the end of my senior year I resolved to no longer pick up the slack, and to little surprise, some things did not get done or had to be thrown together at the last minute. So my advice for this quandary, hold people accountable even if it makes you look bad. Directly ask people why they didn’t do what they signed up for, get advisors involved, hold disciplinary meetings if necessary. If you let people get away with doing nothing, they will continue to do nothing. At the same time be compassionate, work with people, and recognize the differences between legitimate and illegitimate excuses. Also…


Communication is key…


Up until my final days in Galway I was the telephone when giving information from those in charge to students. Never do this. Never. Everyone gets mad at you instead of the people making the decisions. Instead, ask whatever information that needs to be conveyed to be put in an email thread. Convenience is not worth your sanity. 


The “fame”


Will always go to athletes, this is true everywhere, just a fact of life. I am lucky in that I received tons of recognition this year for my leadership, but this is not always true, so just be prepared. Even if you worked ten times harder as a club president than someone who rode the bench on the sports team, very few will know about your sacrifices and accomplishments. Be proud of yourself, and the roles you took on, the lessons you learned will be applicable in your adult life.




Win sometimes. This is a fact of life, one that repeatedly beat me down through high school. There is nothing you can do about this because good cheaters cover their trail. Those in charge will not fight the cheaters, it is too much effort. 


What I Wish


I wish I had been bolder. I wish I had pushed back harder. I wish I had confronted those who mocked me and asked them to have a conversation. I wish I had been able to instill more passion in everyone around me, we all became faded colors due to the obvious circumstances. I wish I cared less about appearances, and fought more for what I believed in. I wish I was less complacent, even though I tried my best. I wish many things, and would do almost everything differently. But now is not the time to linger on high school, life awaits.


Here’s what I love about Galway


I have built relationships with many teachers that have lasted four years, and will continue to last in the years to come. Galway has offered me an experience of consistency, I walk into school knowing exactly what to expect, and because of this I know what I need to do to be successful for the day. And although I was extremely negative earlier, there are many hardworking and kind students at Galway, like anywhere on earth you just need to find you people. What I love most about Galway is you can make or be anything or anyone. Join that sport or club, and be the best at it! Make a new group with passionate individuals, help our community, you can aid all of our growth! When passion is present we prosper. 


My final advice


You have to care about something, anything. Passion is an anchor, it’s grounding. If you don’t have a cause in this world that you care deeply about, high school (and the world) can be tumultuous and scary. Something, no matter how small, has to be a driving force in waking you up each day. Passion creates progress.


In closing


I value my time as editor of this website the most. Everyone in EMC was always kind, and I loved reading all of your works. Although I am ready to leave Galway, I am grateful for everything this town has given me. I would like to thank Mrs. O especially for always supporting me and my interest in this site.


Also, my Salutatorian speech is copied below.


Anna Dabrowski,


Signing off




Good morning, and I am proud to represent the Galway class of 2022. From my research, meaning I’ve watched every graduation video from Galway that is on youtube, every Galway Salutatorian touches on similar topics during their opening speech. 


These speeches always start or end with thank yous, so I will start there. So often we complain when circumstances aren’t what we wish, not even acknowledging the work of those around us. Instead, we should remember all the times Mr. Miller had to shovel the student parking lot staircase himself, the times he subbed in our classrooms, the times Ms. Britt had to drive school buses, and all the times the administration had to arrive before daylight to ensure we could go to school. We should remember all of the teachers that mentored us, encouraged us and helped us find our passions and talents and for the staff that have worked tirelessly to keep our buildings clean, to conduct contact tracing and so much more. Finally, we should thank our families who have played an integral role in getting us here. I would like to thank my mom, dad, and step dad.  Thank you to each and every one of you that has helped us make it here today.


And with acknowledging our staff, typically the Salutatorian transitions to a comment about how many of us attended kindergarten together. About how our generations in Galway intertwine like the webs of a spider. About how this teacher taught that mother and that coach was friends with that father. While deep roots and strong family ties are certainly a special element of this community, I don’t believe it is what makes Galway or this moment special. I want every Senior sitting here today, regardless of your last name, or what grade you joined us, all of you, whether you’ve been here since elementary school or joined us this year, to know that we share this accomplishment together, equally, and that we all have something big to be proud of and to celebrate! 


It is a cliche for all graduation speech-givers to ceremoniously list off occupations. I could tell you all what you will become like doctors, lawyers, engineers, actuaries, accountants, arborists, tradespeople, biologists, physical therapists, teachers, and farmers. But to me, this matters very little. You most likely don’t know what you will be, and that is okay. Life is about pivoting and flex. Embrace the turmoil, harness the turbulence.


And now is the part of the speech where I lament about how close we are. I wish I could say that, but in truth, we all lost a lot of the traditional High School experience due to COVID pandemic.  For many of us, we’ve spent more time apart than together in High School, and more time alone and behind screens than we have had to build in person memories. I don’t know many of you as I should, and this is sad but okay, it is time to move on from COVID. I wonder though, have we lost some ability to empathize, to show basic kindness, to communicate, to understand, and to act? A recent experience caused me to pause on this today. 


One day during class this year, in our “new normal,” a teacher wrote the term “learned helplessness” on the board. We were acting especially unmotivated, waiting for the steps of a math problem to be fed to us.


What does this mean?


Learned helplessness is a mental state in which a person forced to bear aversive stimuli, becomes unable or unwilling to avoid subsequent encounters with those stimuli, even if they can, presumably because they have learned and continued to believe that they cannot control the situation.


Much of our high school situation has been uncontrollable. There was quite literally nothing that could be done about our circumstances. We felt helpless, and now that life is back to normal, we still act helpless.


We never stopped living through screens, and those screens desensitized us. The bell rings, the phones come out, on the bus the phones are out, we hang out and the phones stay out. Tragedy doesn’t strike like lighting, it falls like rain. And we are so numb to it, all we do is joke. Passion is a word of the past that auto corrects to “I don’t care anymore.” 


Our habits are unhealthy, and we don’t break them even though we know they are bad. Our lives are controllable now, and yet we still trip over the same fallen stick as if it were a new obstacle. 


So what can we do to unlearn this? How can we change?


We have been living by the mantra “all you can do, is enough”…an important concept, but I recently stumbled across the second part of this idea




 “all you can do, is enough, but make sure that all you can do, is all you can do”


Maybe while we were all fighting to survive it was enough to exist, to say maybe I will get dressed today, make an appearance in society.


But now, all you can do, is so much more. Your phone is not real life, posting an instagram story about homelessness won’t help it. Sharing a tik tok about injustice won’t change it. Awareness is good, but it is not enough. Waiting for someone to tell you what to do, is as ineffective as not doing anything at all. 


Progress starts with passion, and if passion isn’t present


All you can do, is not yet all you can do


I know that all of us are very different people, but I also know that all of us are passionate about something. Whether it be agriculture, automotive mechanics, healthcare, social justice, or STEM, 

We share a societal challenge to contribute to collective progress. 


I’m not going to stand here and pretend that our country and our world are in a good place right now. 


The War in Ukraine has surpassed 100 days causing a refugee crisis as innocent civilians flee the country, gas prices are at a historic peak with the economy heading into a seemingly inevitable recession.Yesterday as I read through this speech one last time, Roe V Wade was overturned, a direct attack on women’s freedoms and I doubt it will stop there. LGBTQ rights are also under fire due to laws such as Florida’s “Don’t say gay bill”, and mass shootings are on the rise across the country from super markets to elementary schools. Our country is divided. 


Woah, that’s a lot of bad. But, here in Galway, we weathered our storm. As Mr. Miller likes to say, we flew above the clouds. And now we have landed. We are safe on the ground, and in the position to help others weather their storms. 


We could continue to be desensitized to all these national and global issues. Bury our heads in our phones, dive into a fake reality because we’re not directly affected. 




We can create a future where no one lives through a 5 and a half inch screen, where people challenge what’s stagnant, question what’s normal, and work collectively for a common good.


So no matter what our next is,  let’s wake up with a purpose!


 Let’s find passion and pursue it! And Let’s pave our world’s new normal.