The Four Stages of a Caterpillar

Every year, outgoing seniors on The Fuel staff write their Senior Column, a reflection on their four years in high school.

A letter to my grandfather and great-grandmother,

As a military brat, I have always moved around. You know this of course. And because of this, I was never lucky enough to live near either of you. I could only visit you during the summer. As your grandchild, I will admit that I did not do the greatest job at checking in on either of you.

The last time we spoke was the summer of 2016. So much has happened since then. I like to envision my four years of high school as the four stages of a caterpillar. And I know, the caterpillar turning into a butterfly metaphor for change is extremely cliche’. But I genuinely feel as though each of you has become the wings on my back that have transitioned me into the person that I am today.

As my last article to be written for The Fuel newspaper, I use this platform to help you understand how I have transformed in high school, explained as the four stages of a caterpillar.

The caterpillar began her high school career on the island of Oahu. She was just an innocent girl then and blinded with excitement for the world that was ahead of her. Inside of her egg, she was sheltered from all evil. And spent her time with others that she thought would be with her for the rest of her life. Nothing could possibly go wrong.

As the caterpillar began to grow, she became comfortable with leaving the egg behind. She made new friends with caterpillar’s like her and tried to keep up with the friends that were still in their eggs. Her old friends didn’t appreciate her sharing her time with caterpillars, so they left her. In grief, she went home to be comforted by her parents, but they weren’t in the same home. They explained that they were finally free, but she felt everything except liberation.

To continue her journey as a caterpillar she had no choice but to shed her skin. She had to leave the island, her father, and her friends. She found herself alone at a new school in Texas. In fear of all of the new caterpillars, she decided to go into her pupa. It was time to seclude herself and allow her chrysalis to protect her from getting hurt. The only bad thing about the pupa was that her voice could not fit inside of it and the caterpillars and butterflies around her refused to share a bit of their own.

This is where you came in great grandmama. You saw the caterpillar in distress. On November 30, 2016, you turned your soul inside out and incarnated a wing out of your bosom. The caterpillar gratefully took your one wing and left the pupa early.

Outside of her pupa, the caterpillar was seen as a butterfly by the world around her. She proudly took on the title and it gave her the courage to take her voice with her everywhere. But, as a butterfly, the responsibilities became too much to carry on with just one wing. You saw that grandpa and you decided to follow in the footsteps of great grandmama.

This Sunday, you determined that it was more important for the butterfly to have a second wing than to have to watch her limp across the stage with only one. You made her a wing out of yourself and presented it to her as an early graduation gift.

Now, this butterfly is ready to fly into the world and not worry about what’s ahead. It hurts her to know that you won’t be able to watch her walk at graduation, but she knows that your wings will carry her across the stage. She knows that there will be clouds in the sky that will blind her from where she needs to get. But more importantly, she knows that the two of you will be there to guide the way. And she will forever be grateful for that.


Love Always,
Your Butterfly