Senior Column: Holden Foreman


photo by Zach Clingenpeel

This dude just graduated.

Holden Foreman, web editor

He calls himself a treehugger, but Dad never passes on an opportunity to mock the Wood, or, as he refers to it, “planet Kirkwood.” Every visit, whether from New Orleans, Chicago or University City, seems to him an intergalactic excursion; Kirkwood’s close-knit community and traditions expose all aliens. Kirkwoodlings inhabit not just a bubble but an untouchable utopia nestled in a galaxy far, far away. Now, I’m no astronomer, and I don’t have a B.S., but this hypothesized “planet Kirkwood” sounds like a load of BS.

We all live on planet Earth (apologies to any readers on the International Space Station). Potato farmers’ problems in Champadanga, India affect food prices in Kirkwood, Missouri. Likewise, our local carbon dioxide emissions contribute to the changing Indian climate, which impacts the very potato farmers shaping our economy. Could I ever comprehend globalization without Matt Stoner’s arrow-riddled whiteboard, Frank Parini’s geography quizzes, Lucas Ravenscraft’s spot-on impersonations or Stephen Platte’s inexplicably graded notes?

Perhaps the critical period I entered in high school would help me pick up the knowledge regardless, but textbooks cannot cover ‘the overall piece’ like Dr. Carrie Medelman can.”

Perhaps the critical period I entered in high school would help me pick up the knowledge regardless, but textbooks cannot cover “the overall piece” like Dr. Carrie Medelman can. And I would never learn to overcome existential crises without Simao Drew’s digressive musings. I might denounce science, calling genetically modified organisms frankenfood if not for hours transcribing June Bourque’s rapid-fire lectures on biotechnology and (most notably) plant sex. Still, knowledge alone does not incite change; only Reza Behnam and Janet Depasquale’s writing drills could condition me to support genetic engineering in an actually bearable research paper.

KHS’s unique academic vigor taught me to take nothing (starting with grades) on earth for granted. After I endured the most demanding final ever in Leslie Benben’s art class, dressing up as a mermaid for Karen Ambuehl’s literature course felt—rather fittingly—like child’s play. Classes without the revered “AP” label often offered me the greatest challenges; just ask John Mackin and Josh Jaworowski how pathetic some of my “engineering” endeavors turned out. Some students worship grade point averages as if they indicate anything other than an inflated schedule, but working with Mitch Eden and TKC staff developed my confidence more than the GPA-boost any AP class offered.

Go ahead and call KHS a bubble; after all, the class of 2017 floats expectantly above the earth’s surface, preparing to pop and disperse intellectual spirit across the planet. I understand a thing or two about projectiles thanks to physics with Julie Sutfin and Justin Flack. Even if the bubble leaves me in unfamiliar territory, Señora Muller’s Spanish lessons will run through my mind as I converse with locals or learn a new language altogether.

And I will never ask “When will I use this in real life?” in a college calculus class. Without the math skills David Drury, Randy Kriewall, David Shapleigh, Steve Jonak and Jeff Gutjahr ingrained in me, I could never pursue renewable energy in—wait for it—real life.

Despite Dad’s claims, Kirkwood did not isolate me from my surroundings. Rather, KHS reaffirmed the interconnected nature of our world, and each class’s collective contributions to fine art, science, business and community service will serve not just “planet Kirkwood” but planet Earth.