Gone But Not Frog-gotten

Rachel Lynch, Section Editor

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For a brief, shining moment, mid-first-quarter, the senior class was fully unified. With a discarded fish tank, limp heads of lettuce, theater-garden rocks, and gallons of spring water from HEB, we built a home in the slounge, not only for the eight tadpoles that we would quickly come to treasure, but for our grade. In that week where we parented tadpoles, everything glowed. Stress levels, despite looming college apps, plummeted. Spirits raised. The feeling of existing solely to get into college ebbed, replaced with a newfound joy. Keystone’s senior class grew responsible for lives besides our own, a venture which gave us a sense of bliss that remains unsurpassed.

The tadpoles arrived from the soccer field after a  torrentially rainy spell, twisting circles around their temporary home (a plastic cup).  They were immediately welcomed into the slounge, transferred into a slightly larger living space (a paper bowl), and cheerfully adopted as the senior class pets. Though entrusting the care of living creatures to a group of teenagers might raise a red flag, we were prepared. We were determined. We scrounged a properly-sized tank from the attic. We read every site about the proper care of tadpoles, even printed out the wikihow on the subject and hung it on the wall. Our tadpoles were well-fed, well-housed, and well-loved.

The tadpole tank became a bright spot in the otherwise dismal slounge. No matter how much work our teachers piled on, how many supplemental college essays had to be written, we knew the tadpoles would be there, growing. Watching the tadpoles swim was almost hypnotic; their lazy strokes served as a respite from our own cluttered head-space. Everyone in the senior class played a role in caring for the tadpoles, and everyone benefited from their presence. Even teachers admitted to walking through the slounge in order to catch a glimpse of our pets, a sense of calm.

Everyone in the senior class played a role in caring for the tadpoles, and everyone benefited from their presence. ”

Sadly, less than two weeks after their introduction to the slounge, the tadpoles were expelled. Since their removal, their former table has become a place of remembrance. Their corner rests empty, lonely, like it is missing a crucial piece of its construction. Seniors catch ourselves glancing toward the tadpoles’ former home when we need a mental break, but there is nothing to see anymore. Without the tadpoles, the slounge has reverted to a place devoid of life. The seniors’ efforts in raising Jeffs #1-7 and Jeff Quixote will not be forgotten, and the bond of “parenthood” that we foraged has yet to be broken. Though the tadpoles were only briefly a part of our lives, they taught our grade how to work together better than any school-assigned project. The tadpoles are greatly missed and will never be forgotten. Perhaps our grade will take the teamwork and responsibility we learned and put it toward caring for other creatures in the future; maybe we’re even ready for a cat.