Lessons learned on the road to the future

Brennan Stottlemyer Enlarge photo

Brennan Stottlemyer

With the school year coming to an end, students are excited to begin a new stage of their lives. As a senior, I am especially eager to see what my future has in store for me. Looking back at my high school experience, I am thankful for nearly all of the seemingly small and the large events that happened throughout; although many things were not expected.

For middle school, I attended Grace Preparatory Academy, a small, private, nondenominational Christian school. I had a fantastic experience there, and although I wanted to go there for high school as well, my parents had a different plan for me. I was devastated to find out that I would be attending Durango High School that fall.

In an attempt to make the start of high school better, I tried out for volleyball. When I did not make a team, I became humiliated and even more upset. Only a few days later, I auditioned for the school musical, “Anything Goes.” Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful again. I felt like I was going into high school as a failure.

The start of my academic school year was difficult, as well. Having never attended public school, the classes were extremely different than my eighth-grade class of seven students. I was adamant about returning to Grace Preparatory, therefore I did not strive to do as well as I could have in my classes.

Because I was desperate to belong, I tried many new activities. I was not given an acting role in “Anything Goes,” but instead, I was placed as a costumer, which I enjoyed much more than expected. The next year, I tried out for volleyball once again, having prepared for the tryouts all year. I was extremely nervous, because I didn’t want to fail again.

I was ecstatic to find that I made the junior varsity team. I believed that I was finally successful. That year, I also played lacrosse, another sport I enjoyed. I only participated in each of these for one year because as my classes became more difficult, I began to narrow down my interests.

The only sport that I participated in for all four years of high school was swimming. I swam when I was younger, but swimming on the high school team was a completely new experience with meets nearly every weekend. I was surprised to see how well I did that first year and decided to continue with the sport. I loved developing friendships with the girls on the team and being able to see the improvement that I was making each year.

In the transition between my sophomore and junior years, I made a tremendous shift academically. This was not because of any sort of catastrophe or event that changed my perspective of life. In part, I made this change simply because college and my future in general seemed closer than it ever had before. I took my first two advanced-placement classes and received all As for the first time during the first trimester of my junior year. As a result, my grade point average also increased from a 3.4 to a 3.7 that year.

This year, many of the puzzle pieces of my life have finally begun to fit together.

I was thankful to be a team captain for my swim team and extremely honored to win the Western Slope Swimmer of the Year award. I also loved being an editor for El Diablo. I have now taken five AP classes and will graduate with either a 3.8 or 3.9 GPA.

Although I will not be distinguished at graduation as being one of the students wearing a white robe, I will wear my red robe proudly, knowing that I am accomplished nevertheless. During my freshman year, I could not have imagined that all of the choices I would make throughout high school would bring me this far.

Next year, I will be attending the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying applied mathematics. Saying that I do not know all of the details about my future plans is an understatement, but I have faith that everything will work out.

High school has neither been the best nor the worst years of my life, but it has taught me many important life lessons. If I was to redo my freshman year, I would not have blamed my parents for as many things, because, in the end, the negative incidents made me stronger. My parents have given me amazing opportunities, and their high expectations have kept me at a much higher standard than I would be without them.

I am simply an average girl who is growing up in this crazy, unpredictable world. I have been blessed to find that keeping my goals and future in mind can make all the difference in the world. High school has come with countless stressful, as well as fun times, but I fully believe that I am now ready to move on to a new and exciting stage of my life – college.

Brennan Stottlemyer is a copy editor at El Diablo, the Durango High School student newspaper. Her parents are Kent and Kathy Stottlemyer of Durango.