[Witty title with a truism]

Ethan Rowley

Life takes turns that you’d never expect. Embrace them and run with them as fast as you can.

I’ve been waiting for this moment for several years.

I’ve read this exact same column in at least 14 different ways over the past three years.

Seniors that I’d bonded with and formed friendships with, seniors that I’d never really spoken to, and seniors that I knew casually in the newsroom all offered advice with their one opportunity as a member of the staff to write whatever they wanted and have it published.

And now that I’m sitting here, it’s way harder than those guys made it seem to offer sage advice to transform the Malvern experiences of younger students from sixth to eleventh grades.

OK, maybe that’s a bit of a lofty goal, but that’s all one can hope for with their senior column, right?

Something that I’ve always noticed at Malvern, from being a fifth grader shadowing on a cold winter day to sitting in class as a senior in May, is that Malvern is full of wonderful little moments that set it apart from any other school I’ve seen.

Those moments come in all varieties from the downright ridiculous to living examples of the brotherhood that we so pride ourselves on.

The first of those little moments came on that first day that I’d been on campus, as a scared fifth grader getting the first taste of Malvern. Those moments are also very reflective of the way that I got to Malvern as they’re completely unexpected.

See, I never thought I’d ever be here until I was here. A year before I first walked off the bus for my first day of sixth grade, I had no idea that Malvern would be where I’d spend the following seven years. I have no family connection to Malvern, and as someone who went to public school K-5, I had no reason to believe I’d need a new school. I honestly couldn’t have told you what Catholic schools were in the area other than maybe St. Katherine’s and St. Monica’s, the two parishes that I’d belonged to that point in my life.

I knew―not just thought, knew―until probably a third of the way through my fifth grade year that I would go all the way through K-12 in the T/E School District and graduate from Conestoga High School.

Funny how life doesn’t go to plan, isn’t it? That is, of course, unless you’re my mother.

My mother had always wanted me to go to Malvern. I’d learned to swim in the O’Neill pool at an age before I can remember, and my mom would always tell me before I went to Malvern how wonderful the students were, how great the school was, etc. You know, the usual things a mother will say to persuade her son to go to the school she wants.

My dad and I, as fathers and sons do when mothers make suggestions that at the time seemed ridiculous at the time, laughed it off.

Lo and behold, come fifth grade, I wanted a different schooling environment than what public school could offer me and Malvern was immediately on the list of potential destinations to transfer for middle and high school.

So, on that cold winter day, fifth grade me was taken from Mr. McEvoy’s office in Austin Hall by Nate Albergo ’17 to give me a taste of Malvern as a student for the first time. Ironically, on a day which I was known exclusively as “shadow” (as all shadows were), a lightbulb went off after several of these great little moments.

I could tell you about how surprised I was by how loud Mr. Wasson was at all times, or how much I loved the history-themed décor of Mr. Chinici’s office, but no, I’ll tell you about the silliest and dumbest of all the moments from that day.

During a lunch or break period Nate was giving me the speed tour of all the important buildings on campus, and as we walked out of Sullivan’s front door and turned right, I saw the most ridiculous thing I’d ever seen on any school grounds in my 11 years on Earth.

I saw a student swinging around a block of ice the size of his torso with his tie.

Is there any deeper meaning that you should draw from that specific story? No. It’s just as funny and dumb as it sounds, but that’s the point. That’s one of the perfect varieties of Malvern’s little moments that I love so much about this place.

It’s absolutely ridiculous, and it’s a completely pedestrian moment that would otherwise be forgotten yet always brings a smile to my face, even seven years later.

But most importantly, those moments are always unexpected. They’re not scripted, they’re never planned, they’re unique and they just happen.

These moments, like most of my greatest experiences at Malvern, came from nowhere. If you told me on that cold day seven years ago about half of the things that I’d wind up doing by the time I graduated, I’d have been shocked.

My parents got me to do stage crew as a sixth grader as a way to give me an activity to do in the winter other than just coming home and sitting around. Seven years later I’ve stage crewed 14 shows with MTS and they’ve all been an absolute blast.

I joined the staff of this publication as a freshman after two juniors sitting in the row of seats behind me in the computer lab asked me if I wanted to be part of this. I’d never even thought remotely of ever being part of anything relating to journalism before..

Taking Graphic Design my sophomore year put me on the track to be a two-year editor responsible overseeing the layout and design of a newspaper; when I first signed up for the class I thought at most I’d learn how to make some OK art and funny memes in Photoshop.

What’s the point I’m trying to make? I’ve been asking myself the same question for the duration of the time that I’ve been writing this. There’s a lot to share, and one column isn’t nearly enough for any one person to impart all of their wisdom and ideas onto a reader.

But I think the salient point here is that Malvern will present you with tons of unexpected and surprising things, and that you should cherish and take advantage of all of them.

The best things that have ever happened to me here have been completely unforeseen. In fact, my very existence here was completely unexpected. Most of my favorite memories here are small things that just happened in the course of a day.

One of my mistakes here was at times getting too focused or stressed over school work and forgetting to enjoy everything else going on around me here. I probably missed more than a few open doors as well along the way because of that.

Don’t try to plan your time here. If you do, you’ll lose perspective of everything you have around you, and you might miss an opportunity that could totally change your time here for the better. I’m not a very spontaneous person by nature, and even I’ve realized the importance of never shoehorning yourself into any one thing at this place.

But most importantly, make sure to enjoy it while it lasts.

In his column last year, former EIC Tyler Pizzico had a line that really resonated with me, “Life is too short. Period.”

Your time here especially is too short. Make the most of it while you can, those of us on the way out are jealous of all of you who get to stick around.

Ethan’s Stories