The stage was softly lit and the auditorium was filled for our last prize-giving ceremony at school. Standing poised behind the podium, Jess, our head girl, was giving her last speech. Towards the end, her voice shook with emotion as she reminisced about what have been the most exciting times of our lives, her eyes filling with tears. In the row behind me, someone choked back a sniffle. My school days are almost over and I am drowning in nostalgia - which gives me ample excuse to vent my rambling, mostly fond, thoughts about school here.
Our time at school has had so much to offer; it has moulded and shaped us while we became a permanent part of its rich, forever evolving tapestry. Now that I am old and venerable in Year 13, university looms and endless days of pot noodles beckon. Pot noodles are the only thing I can cook, a talent acquired on a Duke of Edinburgh expedition to the desert. As long as someone else boils and pours the hot water, that is - it can scald.
I will miss school. I will miss the tantalising smell of chicken frying in the canteen in the early hours of the morning, and the less tantalising smell of our common room sofas suffused by the sweat and cheap deodorant of generations of students. I will miss my wonderful teachers, concerts with guitar group and the mealworms in the biology lab. I will miss, to a lesser extent, the people I have inexplicably offended by writing flattering Teen Life articles about them. Or quashing a baseless rumour that I once fell into the school pond, a cause of apparently much mirth.
I hope that the friendships forged at school will remain strong for a long time to come. My friends have stood by me through bad grades and bad hair days. We have quarrelled over the most trivial matters, swooned over boys and styled each others' hair. I will always vividly remember the sizzle of hot straightening tongs clamping over my left ear.
I will miss composing poems with Shanzeh, like an ode to a particularly comfortable common-room sofa (imaginatively titled Ode to the Sofa), and another in honour of Voldemort (equally cleverly titled Ode to the Dark Lord). I have enjoyed spectacularly messing up science experiments with Sara, once being party to an explosion that needed two lab ceiling tiles to be replaced.
I've managed to teach Veronika, who's Hungarian, the Hindi version of the theme song to Bob the Builder - a feat harder than it sounds. Being superbly vertically challenged, I have engaged in a four-year battle with Prianka about who the taller person is (I am).
I will cherish my experiences and memories from school forever. The memory of those magnificent ice cream sandwiches sold by the school tuck shop will linger wistfully for even longer. One of the greatest adventures of our lives will be ending in a month's time, and another chapter is just about to unfold.
Lavanya Malhotra is a 17-year-old student in Dubai