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The LEAP Student Blog

High School Roller Coaster

Bella Vance
Thomas Jefferson High School, Class of 2020

As I'm sure many students have quickly found out, the four years we spend in high school is a lot like a roller coaster. We go through our highest highs and lowest lows and change and grow to prepare ourselves to be the people we will one day become. Coming from a senior, as fun as high school can be, it can also be really rough.  Something that took me a long time to learn with the support of some really amazing people, is that we, as students, control our own path and how we react to these very low lows.
If you flash back to me as a sophomore you may not even recognize me. I was allowing the hard times that I was going through to let me spiral into a very bad place. I started to make very poor decisions and was overall being a pretty crappy person. The decisions that I was making also had very big consequences on my life.  I was getting in trouble and the people around me were starting to stray away as a result of that. I was feeling bad for myself about the things that I couldn't control and, in return, was making bad decisions about the things I could control. Around this time a longtime friend of mine convinced me to try out for our high school dance team. I didn't have much of a dance background but had seen the team perform, and in a lot of ways I had actually looked up to them. I ended up making the team and it was a lot of fun! But, I very quickly realized that the actions I was making outside of the team were starting to affect me as a team member.

I truly hope that high school coaches understand the profound impact they have on many of their students' lives. One of the biggest reasons that I am where I am today is my dance coach. Not a lot of people had truly cared about me enough to look past what I was doing and see that I was really struggling. She was stern with me and made sure that I knew that my decisions were not okay while also supporting me and letting me know that she cared. Dancing and my teammates also gave me the positive outlet I needed to express how I was feeling. I cannot express how much my coach and dancing has impacted me and I one day hope that my coach will know how thankful I am for her impact on who I am today. Today I can proudly say that I take honors classes, will be attending Grand Canyon University next year with a scholarship, and am now an officer on the dance team, all thanks to a coach who refused to give up on me.

And after all of that, COVID-19 has truly thrown my life and the rest of the class of 2020’s for a loop. After 12 long years on this roller coaster, it's likely we won't get to experience the things we have looked forward to for forever - senior prom, walking down the halls with our friends one last time, our sport’s senior night, or even graduation. The last three months of senior year is what we have all looked forward to since our first day of freshman year. But, through all of this, students continue to be the light in these dark times. I have never been the most spirited student but in these times I've never been more proud to be a student at my high school. When everyone is in chaos, students continue to make the best out of the situation and be the support that others need. 

I may not be sure what's going to happen to the rest of my senior year or even what's to come in this crazy world, but I am sure of one thing, the class of 2020 is going to be okay. We have all been through so much but I know in the long run it has only made us stronger, and as we move onto our next journey, we will continue to make the best of this crazy roller coaster we call life.


April 2020

4/26/2020 Remember What's Important
4/17/2020 Renewed Appreciation
4/13/2020 Stay Strong, Stay Determined
4/9/2020 We're In This Together
4/7/2020 High School Roller Coaster
4/5/2020 On Hold
4/4/2020 You Don't Know What You Have Until It's Gone
4/2/2020 Heartbroken

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