Justin Mariner

Senior Year

Memories and Metaphor

My final year, which I currently still am a part of, has been both a breeze and an incredible struggle. I maintained my plan of keeping the not-so-interesting classes easy while still challenging myself in math and science classes by avoiding AP English and AP Government and instead taking AP Physics C (I would’ve also taken an AP math class if there was one this year). Since most of my classes this year had relatively light workloads, I figured this year wouldn’t be a problem and that I’d slide right into graduation with ease. And this was true for some parts of the year, but for the other portions, I was very mistaken. Honors English 12 ended up being much more rigorous than I had anticipated and soon became the focus of most of my homework time, both at school and at home. But, this being my 4th year of high school, I quickly adapted appropriately and most of the time gave English class the effort it needed. That wasn’t the only surprise that shouldn’t have been a surprise, though: I also had to complete the Math and Science Academy Senior Project. As previously mentioned, the class of 2016, my class, had been the “lab rats” of the Academy, testing out new ideas for the first time; and this finally became rewarding as I was able to work on a Senior Project that was outside of normal guidelines. So, working with my good friend Jonah Lapira, we set forth to design and create an original video game to submit to the STEM Video Game Challenge for our “Senior Project,” breaking many of the original guidelines (with permission). Despite a great amount of uncertainty due to this, our essay and presentation both turned out great and our game has been coming along nicely. Also this year, I did even more programming on top of creating the game, starting with paying for the website that you are probably reading this on right now, allowing me to learn a great deal more about the inner workings of websites. And that’s not it: I have been and still am working with the school’s technology staff to re-create the live video broadcast from last year (detailed in college essay), this time alone and on my own time. With all this work in technology, specifically web development, I applied for and was accepted to ECPI, where I will continue studying web development and many other areas of computer science. Despite all of these great accomplishments throughout my senior year, there’s still one event that tops everything with ease: as Gatsby would say, I met my “golden girl,” out of nowhere, through a mutual friend, over the internet. It was a “love at first sight”-sort of thing (actually “love at first meet”) for the both of us; it was something I can’t even put into words. I’ll spare you the emotional details, but let’s just say this has changed my life more than anything else ever has. And because of this and my academic accomplishments, Because of this, senior year has definitely been my best. year. ever.

With that out of the way, I can move on to this year’s stories. Sadly, there haven’t really been any stories that I found especially interesting. Orwell’s 1984 and Shakespeare’s Hamlet would probably be my two favorites, if I had to choose, but I found some difficulty in understanding 1984 at some points and even more difficulty just reading Hamlet. The two stories were still somewhat interesting to me, but at this point I’m beginning to slowly lose interest in reading long stories like these ones. I can still give credit to one of my least favorite readings from this year: “The Canterbury Tales”. Not only were the stories that took place in the reading not very interesting, I had great difficulty understanding it due to the use of old English, even though it was translated. But at the end of the day, 1984’s motifs, like “Big Brother” and “2 + 2 = 5,” will stick with me for a while.

This year was very heavy with writings - essays, poems, scripts for skits, and a huge literary analysis, to name a few - and not to mention everything inside this portfolio. Out of everything, I most enjoyed writing the college essay responses because they were more based on my personal life instead of the life of some character in a story or the theme of a novel. The college essays really allowed me to express myself more than usual, despite my reluctance to do so. On top of that, the two poems - the metaphor poem and the satire poem - were more fun to create than I imagined; finding rhyming words and keeping each line the same amount of syllables were relatively entertaining, actually. All in all, I was swamped with writings this year and didn’t really have the time to really enjoy most of them.

Even if this year isn’t entirely done yet at the time of writing this, I know it’ll end just as well as it has been going. It’s been a great four years here at Ocean Lakes, with numerous teachers, students, and traditions leaving a lasting impact on my life and shaping who I am today.


This assignment was a literary analysis of Orwell’s 1984, where I was tasked with determining if Orwell managed to predict what is happening in today’s society. It was first outlined very rigidly around 11 quotes - one for the hook, one for the conclusion, and one for each of the 3 body paragraphs. This outline ended up consisting of most of the essay’s content, making the assembly of the final paper much easier. I chose this for my portfolio because (1) I was forced to and (2) it definitely had room for rewriting.