Justin Mariner

Dear Reader


My name is Justin Mariner, I am graduating with the class of 2016 from the Math and Science Academy at Ocean Lakes High School, and this is my story.

Who am I?

Prior to high school, I sometimes felt like I was on top of the world, academically: math came very easily to me, to the point where the teacher had to give me separate problems to actually challenge me; topics of science had always interested me when I was younger, so I understood that very well; history class was mere memorization at that time, which I was good enough at to succeed without issue; and I read and wrote relatively well when compared to my peers and found interest in grammar, making English class a breeze. And then I got to high school – in the Math and Science Academy, no less – and hit the biggest wall of my life thus far, and in retrospect, I’m glad I did. My high school life started off pretty poorly, especially in comparison to how easily I flew through middle school; I was so not prepared for the amount of work it took to maintain acceptable grades in high school. While it rarely became an issue in middle school, my extreme procrastination – which has stuck with me all through high school – started before I actually arrived on the first day: for some reason I decided not to even start my English summer assignment for Freshman year until after school started. As you can read in my Freshman memories, this put me in my place right off the start and showed me that high school was not going to be as easy as I mistakenly thought. My English teacher that year, Mrs. Styron, did a good job of helping me get started in high school, despite how angry I thought she was at me for not doing my work. Thanks to this and my struggle through AP European History the year after, I soon figured out that I should stick to making the classes that interest me the difficult ones, allowing me to better complete my difficult work while pushing the less-interesting topics to the side. For better or for worse, this tactic of mine has worked well and allowed me to get through high school with a focus on math and science and has led to my choice to attend ECPI, where most classes are specialized in a specific field of Computer Science and a generic history class is not required. This discovery of mine – that I work very well when given a topic of great interest – will absolutely stick with me for the rest of my life, along with the memories of all the great students and teachers here at Ocean Lakes.

Why Chess?

I chose to use a game of chess as a metaphor for high school, and this decision was mostly based on my interest in chess and lack of any better ideas. I hate to say it, but part of me regrets choosing this metaphor simply because there isn’t enough details in a game of chess to relate to minute aspects of my time in high school. I’ve discovered that the metaphor is bigger than that. A big point of chess is being able to accept and learn from your mistakes (“what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”), and this accurately defines my view of life as a whole, not just high school. Yes, there’s going to be many mistakes and some extremely difficult times, but just like in chess, it matters not how often mistakes are made and how difficult they make it; what’s most important is how you react to those mistakes and those struggles and how well you use them to improve yourself.

Metaphor Poem: Checkmate

The Creation of this Website

I’m definitely glad I decided to create this website on my own instead of using a website builder. Doing so allowed to me further my understanding of website development through all the practice this gave me. The most difficult part, for me, when creating a website like this is staying on track: I tend to go off and work on little insignificant details that aren’t important as a whole. For example, the menu for the Years at the top (if viewed on a computer) took me over an hour because I wanted it to be up to my standards. I could’ve better spent that time working on the content of the website, which is what really matters, and I’ve learned that through my time creating this. Both this and the Renaissance website have forced me to prioritize the content over the style and functionality as much as possible and will aid me in my future career in this field.

Thank you for reading!

- Justin Mariner