Senior Goodbye: Anastasia Simonenko



Anastasia will be attending Virginia Tech in the fall and will study multimedia journalism.

When I was a little girl I was sure I was going to grow up to be a singer. I dreamed of being a popstar, an actress, and a runway model. Never could I have imagined I would grow up to choose writing as my lifelong passion. 

It also shocks me that writing in English is what I love most, considering I did not know the language nine years ago. The terrified third grade me, who went to school not knowing a word of English, would never have believed me today if I told her. 

The most important thing I have done in the past four years is find a love for journalism. All thanks to my journalism teacher Mr. Schwartz. I was able to find my voice behind every article and every camera. He is probably reading this right now thinking I’m sucking up, but it’s true, I would not be where I am without him. 

The journalism program here allowed me to grow as not only a reporter, but as an individual in other parts of my life. I found out that this is what I want to do with the rest of my life and how much I love exploring the stories of our world. I can easily say that DHSPress is an aspect of my life I will remember forever.

In terms of my high school years, my time at Dominion has been a rollercoaster to say the least. I saw so much good but my fair share of the bad too. The fragile girl I was when I walked into this building four years ago is nowhere near the person I am today. 

I would say that my appreciation for this school also grew with the years, as I found to see the most growth here. As much as I complained walking into school everyday, I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.

Freshman year feels like a fever dream. Beginning with the tragedy of a fellow classmate’s death I had to face at just 14 years old, to having to deal with the isolation of COVID lockdowns. The short six months of school I attended flew by, but I loved experiencing all my firsts like making varsity cheerleading and finding my love for running track. 

Sophomore year was an entire year online and I still think back to all the time I lost when I could have been getting to know the people in my grade. However, I also made some of the best memories during that school year, as I was hanging out with my best friends nearly every day. 

I do think the lockdown was also an essential part of my growth, it allowed me to heal from all the craziness that 9th grade brought. 

By junior year I had it all figured out. I was finally participating in the things I found important and started setting academic goals for myself such as being a great editor for the yearbook (which I was). I also became a part of something I cherish so much, the Best Friends Forever club. 

I will say, junior year was definitely one of the hardest years I have ever faced. With such a strong start, I ended up going through a lot by the end of the year and struggled on my own. I am still so glad to have made it through that period and am here today, continuing doing all the things I started early on my junior year. 

My senior year is definitely the year I cherish most. This year I flourished into a completely different person, finally started getting to know more of my classmates, and continued to stay focused on my extracurriculars. Who would have thought that this year I would have traveled to South Africa or would be speaking at my high school graduation. 

One of my proudest accomplishments here is the confidence to say that I lived my life to the fullest. In the past four years I managed to say yes to every opportunity and go after every goal I have ever set for myself. I know I can look back on my high school years and have absolutely no regrets. 

I want to thank this building for giving me some of the biggest lessons, the most outrageous memories, and lifelong friendships. As much as I hate to say it, I am proud to be a Dominion alumni. I would not have traded going here for the world. 

To end my sappy goodbye to this school, I want to say thank you to any version of myself there has been the past four years. Your unconditional drive got you through some of the toughest spots and got me where I am today. I wish I could give every one of those versions of me a hug. 

As for current me, I am excited to venture down to Blacksburg this fall and attend Virginia Tech. I want to study multimedia journalism and be an ambassador for the special education program, two of the aspects of my high school life I fell in love with. 

I wish nothing but the best to my fellow classmates, my teachers, and most of all the future generations of DHSPress. I can’t wait to one day (hopefully) make it big and appreciate this program for being the start of my career.

With love, 

“Anasim” out.