News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Forever my home

When I moved to Sisters coming into my freshman year, I was petrified. I was thrown into a new state not only with people I didn’t know, but an environment I didn’t understand. Everyone was so close-knit and connected, it felt hard to find my way into a friend group that didn’t want me.

As the summer progressed, my mom encouraged me (made me) try out for the soccer team. Although stepping onto that soccer field made me feel extremely out of place, I would soon discover this would be my family. I connected with my peers, and Sisters started to become a little less awkward. Getting out of the car every day for practice became easier and easier.

Many of the girls on the soccer team not only were kind to me on the field, but they were a friendly face in the hallways at school. This gave me built-in friends, as well as people who understood me and shared the same interest as me. The feeling of being alienated started to disappear. 

As the year progressed I made new friends through a variety of teams, including soccer, ski racing, lacrosse, and basketball. Sports was not only a place where I could feel comfortable being myself, it was also a safe environment filled with people who knew me for me.

But when COVID-19 hit, this outlet was cut off. My sense of place was no longer existent. We weren’t allowed to meet or see anyone, which was especially hard for people who are social — one of those people being me. I was deprived of the outlet that I so desperately needed. As the days became longer, I wondered if this online school thing would ever end. I soon learned that taking classes that forced me to leave my room were much needed. For example, taking Fitness that Fits with Ms. Yeager provided me with an outlet that forced me to get up and move, even if it only was for a little while.

Other than classes like that, I realized I was going to need to find new outlets to keep my head above water. I tried new things and picked up new hobbies. My family spent a lot of time playing pickleball, so I was often out there playing with them. I learned that COVID was not going to be the only situation where I needed to understand where I needed space. There would be many more situations in my life when I needed to understand myself enough to realize there were certain situations I didn’t want to be a part of. I needed to learn how to read myself and know when I needed to go on a run or leave a situation. COVID helped me understand more about me as a person and helped further grow my relationship with myself. 

As the years progressed, COVID restrictions eased up, and the world I once knew was coming back to life. Although my sophomore year of high school was all taught through a screen full of pixels, I was excited to be back at school my junior year.

As restrictions relaxed, we learned that the only possible way for us to come back to school our junior year was to wear masks 24/7. Although I was beyond happy that I wouldn’t be stuck in my room all day, I realized  not  seeing anyone’s face made it extremely hard to read their facial expressions, or to know what they were thinking. Reading a person through how their face moves when you’re interacting with them was no longer an option. I could never tell if someone was scowling or smiling at me. If someone was annoyed or proud of me, the lines were always blurred. Moving into sports, we were still strongly advised to wear masks, which made communicating to my teammates across the field extra hard. I not only had to learn how to breathe through a mask, I also had to try and communicate with my teammates, which posed a new level of difficulty. As we learned to adapt, our soccer team progressed and succeeded.

In my last year of high school, both our girls and boys soccer teams ended the season as league champions. Becoming league champions, as well as playing in playoffs, was a really fun season to be a part of.  Senior year threw me a lot of new responsibility that I wasn’t used to. I had to learn to adapt and help my teams in ways that were efficient and successful for them. I was expected to be the leader. Although at times I was nervous, I felt like being a leader, a captain, set me up for  future scenarios that are to come in my life. 

My high school experience has been bumpy to say the least. But through bumps and through cracks — and as cliché as it sounds — it made a good story. Without any good stories my life would be a blank page. At the end of the day, I’m beyond grateful that my parents chose to move me before my freshman year. I met some of the best people and made some of the greatest connections that I will hold on to and stay connected to for the rest of my life. Sisters High School is a great place; the variety of experiences that it offers is like no other. And the teachers are beyond amazing.

Thank you to my parents for always being there for me and supporting me when I make mistakes and taking risky decisions for the hope of brightening my future. Thank you to my brother and sister for shaping me into the person I am; I wouldn’t be as well rounded and tough without you. Thank you to my teachers Mrs. Spear, Ms. Givot, Mrs. Gunnarson, Mr. Cosby for putting up with me in class and growing me as a student and as a person. Thank you to everyone who has helped me in hard situations and helped to point me out when I’m wrong.

Thank you, Sisters. I will love and cherish you forever. You are my home. 

 

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