I seriously cannot believe that I’m reaching the end of 2018. I decided that to close out the year, I’d share a few memories from each month as a way to close out the year. It’s definitely been a long and a short year. Some months felt like a million years, whereas some just flew by. I can’t decide if this has been my favorite year or not. Maybe I’ll think differently after I write this post…
p.s. I realized these recaps are WAY too long so I’m gonna split up the year!
January was absolutely exhilarating. At the very end of December, I received an email that I had been chosen as a Channel Kindness Reporter by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation. I was one of 50, chosen out of hundreds of applicants. I remember being home alone and opening the email, honestly thinking that I was being pranked. I never thought anything like that would happen in my life. So, in January, I flew out to New York City to be trained for a weekend to be the best reporter I could be. I think that my weekend in New York really sparked by interest in journalism. Sure, I had always wanted to be a journalist, but that weekend taught me just how possible the career was for me. It was an incredible weekend and really taught me about love and friendship. I met incredible people who I still keep in touch with (I even work for one!!) and developed a community of strong, loving people in only one weekend.
I’ll never forget all of the beautiful and lifechanging stories that were shared with me in that weekend. Through 36 hours of sleep deprivation, numerous coffees (all from a really cool machine that I had never seen before), afternoons huddled around tables in the coolest conference center I’d ever seen and I still dream about (thank you, Convene, for being the atmosphere of my dreams), and nights exploring New York with my friends and staying up telling stories with my roommate, Tori, I formed the strongest bond I had ever made with a group of people, ever. I swear, I miss them all more and more every day. Also in January, I turned 16! It was actually fun being with my Channel Kindness Family and realizing that I was one of the youngest people there! It was so cool to see ages 14-26 all come together and be passionate about the same things!
Not too much happened in February that I can remember! In the very first weekend, I went to a big concert hosted by my church (it was so darn fun, you guys!) and I had the coolest birthday party ever. It was 50s themed with all of my best friends, and it was one of the best nights of my entire year. I am so thankful to everyone who came and who made it so amazing. You can see my costume in the photo, I actually worked with my grandma to sew the skirt myself! The rest of it was from Goodwill! Side note- one of the highlights of my year was when Goodwill opened in my town. I shop at Goodwill literally alllll the time… I think in the first month it was open I went about 9 times? Yikes. Well, whenever I’m looking for something, it’s always there!
March was lotsssss of fun. There were lots of random hangouts with friends and lots of stuff to prepare for. This photo is from when the bi-annual carnival came to my town. I usually don’t really like the rides (something about rickety carnivals that are built in 24 hours makes me irrationally nervous), but the pictures you can get at it are pretty darn cool! This is Julia and Sarah, two of my favorite gal pals. I remember we had a sleepover and then walked to the carnival with a few of our friends (thanks Noah for taking 3796 photos that night!). Also in March were a few choir concerts! It was particularly exciting because it was our first time performing.
We had never competed in a show choir competition before, so it was really exciting to finally get to try out something so new! We got to perform for the school in prepping for our set, which I think really helped us before the April competition. Later in the month, for spring break, my family bought some tickets from Costco and decided to go to Universal Studios in California! I am a HUGE fan of Harry Potter, so the Universal parks will always be my favorite! I really want to revisit the ones in Florida (I went when they FIRST opened) because I want to ride the Hogwarts Express SO badly (yes, total nerd moment)!!! I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving the Harry Potter series. While we were in California, we also visited University of Southern California, which had a beautiful campus in L.A. It definitely jumped into my Top 5 list of colleges, their journalism school was so cool and innovative. I hope that maybe I’ll get to visit again sometime soon!
Oh, boy. April was a whirlwind of a month. For one, it was the end of my first term as President of Veterans Heritage Project. For those of you unfamiliar with the project, it is an organization where students interview and write the stories of veterans, then it gets published in a giant book at the end of the year. This book is made with so many tears and so much love that by the end of the year, it is so relieving to finally have it done. I was especially proud since I had just moved into the role of President, and this was officially the first book that I got to help create and not just write for. Veterans Heritage Project plays a large role in my life (as you’ll see in later months), and this ceremony was beautiful. I had the pleasure to sing the National Anthem, and the keynote speaker was one of my veterans. I’m already looking forward to next year’s book, I just closed out all of the stories and they’ve been send to the publisher! Wahoo!
As I talked about earlier, my choir went to a competition! We were definitely the underdogs and the first school from AZ to ever compete, and we ended out coming in 3rd out of 9 (I think) choirs! It was absolutely incredible, we were all crying, jumping up and down, and screaming. This choir had formed such an incredible and emotional bond throughout the year, and to end it in such an amazing way was incredible. We felt so blessed to take home our award, and, not to mention, we got to spend the weekend in California! We went to the beach, Universal Citywalk, and more! It was definitely the right way to wrap up April, and finish out the school year!
My highlight for May was definitely finishing out the choir season. We had the choir banquet (I got my second varsity letter! Yes, choir is considered a varsity competitive sport at my school lol) and it was amazing, as always. My choir program rents out a portion of the Country Club and we have an amazing dinner and night full of awards. It’s always a hit with everyone. This picture is of my dance partner, Justin, and I. We had so much fun together the whole year, he did a spectacular job filling in for my first dance partner when someone moved and all the partners switched around. Justin is a superstar and we formed a pretty funny bond as dance partners. We didn’t end up as competition dance partners this year, but we are partners for the winter concert (we begged our dance captains, whoops)! It was definitely an exhilarating year, especially being lucky enough to be a sophomore in the top show choir!
We also finished out the year with one final concert, our pops concert. This one was Broadway Themed, and my choir, Broadway Bound, performed a giant medley from RENT. It was super emotional and kinda exciting to get to be “edgy” for a week. Everyone in my choir did tease me a bit because it was funny to see me in darker colors and ripped jeans for a set. It was really hard saying goodbye to the seniors this year, especially since I had actually grown very close to several of them. I’ve gotten very lucky to have seen most of them pretty recently (they love to make surprise visits to the choir room), but I still miss having them in class every day. May was also the end of my school year! Sophomore year was definitely a change from freshman year. There were more struggles, I was exposed to more of the “real life” aspect of high school, and there was lots that challenged me! I changed a lot as a person, but I had no idea what I was in for as a junior.
Oh June, how I loved you. June was definitely the month of church camps… three in one month, to be exact! My month started with going to be a coach at kids camp, something that I had been looking forward to all year! I got to be a coach for 4th-6th grade girls (my own group of kiddos will be going to camp this summer!) and return to a camp that I had gone to several times as a kid. It was definitely different going as a coach and not as a camper, but it was definitely a learning experience. Getting to teach kids about Jesus for a week instead of just an hour on one Sunday was totally different and absolutely breathtaking. The
questions the girls asked challenged me, the lessons I taught made me think, and small group opened my eyes to so many things that I had no idea kids went through at such a young age. It was incredible to come home and realize how much I had learned through the lives of such little kids, and how much I had grown as a person in just four short days. Sure, I had been looking forward to it all year, but I had no idea that it would have that much of an impact on ME instead of just on my kids. The next week, I taught second grade for a week at Vacation Bible School, something I do every summer. It’s a super easy day camp, only 3 hours per day for a week, and it’s really fun just to bond with about 10 kids over the course of a week. About a week later, I hopped on a bus to California for CIY, “Christ in Youth” camp at San Diego State University. This has always been one of the highlights of my summer, as it’s so fun to be a camper again. Worship, games, and amazing messages are the center and base of this camp, and my church does an amazing job intertwining all three. It’s a competition all week, which is super fun (we took the W two years in a row!!!) and I’m convinced that color wars is the best thing ever. The whole camp is a blast, and getting to live with a roommate in dorms on a college campus is super exciting. That week is life-changing all year long and is a great refresher before coming back to the school year.
That’s it for January-June! I had a crazy busy year, and I can’t wait to share the rest of it with you in my next post! Until next time 🙂