PHS student reflects on what it's like to always be last


Abby Landwehr

Prowl reporters (from left) Kalli Ashby and Emerson Wormald pose for a picture representing their feelings toward their first letter of their last name

There are about 570 students who attend Powell High School; I am around 561st on that list. My last name starts with a W, meaning I am last for everything.

No one truly knows what it’s like to be last every single time except for the few unfortunate souls who are forced to wait for the whole alphabet to go before us.

Since the advent of time, people whose last name is at the end of the alphabet have been last in line, waiting the longest and sometimes not being able to participate in activities just because of a name that we don’t have any control over.

“You get fed up with waiting all the time and life goes by really slow,” freshman Abby Wambeke said. “The opportunity is just not the same.”

Always waiting. W-Z last names are always waiting to engage in anything. We can’t help being last either; it’s just the way we are born.

“I am always last,” sophomore Kaili Wisniewski said. “I have to go last sometimes during presentations if they go alphabetically, so that can be seen as a good or bad thing. I also have to wait [in line] for pictures, always.”

It is hard being last every single time. Occasionally, we can be considered an exclusive group.

“Sometimes I’ll not even get to even take part in things because I am so far down the line,” junior Taber Wilson said.

It’s really a sad life for us W folk. We don’t even get to be included in some activities. It is like a label put on us from the day we are born to the day we die. Why can’t it be different?

“I could never understand why I wasn’t first because my first name started with A [Abby],” Wambeke said.

Exactly. Why can’t we go by first name? My first name, Emerson, would be at the top of the list, which would make my life much less depressing.

However, that’s not meant to be. School and other “professional” places have to execute everything in order and maintain complete balance.

“It mainly affects the order I’m put in during school and other prison-like places,” Wilson said.   

It has always been first to last. The names that start with A get to partake first in everything leaving us to be last.

“Assigned seats were always in the back along with the dreaded time when I was the last to get my assignments, so it would seem like the teachers hated me,” Wambeke said. “Also, in elementary school, I always got the class job that I never wanted, it was heart breaking.”

I can recall a time from first grade when my teacher was calling us to the back of the room, one by one, to pick out colors and fabrics for our scrapbook we were creating. Of course she went down the list, A-W, meaning I was very last. The only fabric left was the ugliest fabric of all time. No one was going to pick that fabric, but I was forced to use that fabric because my name was very last on the list. I remember going home and crying because I wanted my scrapbook to look as good as everybody else’s. As a child that was heart wrenching.

 Life is just not the same being last all the time. Teachers sometimes force us to do things we don’t want to do. But all we want to do is be the same as the other kids in school. But we can’t because of our last name.

However, there are some perks of being last on the list all the time.

“Whenever a substitute teacher is trying to find my name, I just tell them it’s the last one on the paper,” said Wilson, adding, “Sometimes I get to be last to present a project, so I get to wait a week longer to procrastinate.”

Especially when presenting an assignment, I get to watch somebody else fail before I go, so I can make any corrections that need to be made before I present.

“You don’t have to be the first to follow instructions,” Wambeke said. “That’s especially me because I don’t pay attention very well, so it’s nice when other people do it before [I present a project] because they look funny when I don’t know [what I am doing] either.”

In the Bible, Mathew 20:16 says, “So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

So doesn’t that mean that the people who go last all the time, aka us W’s, X’s, Y’s, and Z’s, go first and the people who are at the beginning of the alphabet go very last? 

I mean it makes sense; we have been last our entire lives, so according to the Bible, we should be first. Let other students have a chance to see what we experience. If we just had the opportunity to be first at something, our lives would be indelible.

“I think that my life could have been different [if my last name was something other than last],” Wambeke said. “I could have made more friends, I could have more options in elementary [school] and last of all more freedom, instead of being stuck like glue to the back of the line and classroom. It’s highly unfair.”