As I finish up my many years at LC, I realize how much I’ve been shaped to be real and true to who I really am through friends, teachers, and my own experiences. I look at high school and my time at LC like a hurdle race. Lynden Christian has showed me throughout my 12 years the good and bad of being a Christian. I never questioned my religion with any sense of authority until I was shown and told by peers outside of LC their thoughts and experiences with Christianity or even my own classmates. As a student of LC being told this I became curious and started to observe, in amazement I saw what was being told. Some Christians hold God as a sense of security to get away with treating others property and feelings poorly. LC has made me stronger in my faith through the hurdles of everyday life. In this speech, I will answer how my strength themes have been used and how its shaped my life, I will tell of my greatest blessing in high school and how I can use that for my future, how I have grown from freshman to senior year, and lastly how the LC program has shaped me to become closer to God as well as myself.

After taking my strength themes in the beginning of my high school career, almost all had significants to who I was; my five strength included, Strategic, Competitive, Adaptability, Futuristic, and Achiever, but out of these five two struck out to be very true to who I am. Competitive, and Achiever. For someone who knows me they know I’m extremely competitive in sports whether in a game or just for fun. Being competitive has pushed me to do my best and achieve the goals I have set for myself in high school with my track and volleyball career. Even in the classroom or everyday life I may look at something so small and unimportant as a competition, which can be looked at as a blessing and a curse. Achiever is a harder one to see for most people but if you know me well in sports and in the classroom I strive to achieve goals and good grades. I give off a persona that I just do the work and turn it in not caring about what I get but in reality, good grades are very important to me. In track, being an achieved has pushed me to capture goals and push myself beyond limits I thought couldn’t be crossed. All through high school my goal was to competing D1 in track and field, and I’m able to say I have accomplished that goal due to the mixture of my competitive nature, strategic mindset, and personal goals set that I have achieved. These two strength have shaped me to excel in my sports by focusing my time in being the best at what I do whether that means getting a little bit faster, or jumping just a little bit higher.

Looking back from freshman to senior year I see how much I have grown in my faith and as an individual just from experiences I have seen and faced. My life through high school is exactly how a hurdle race feelings mentally. My freshman year is the start of the race. At this point in the race there are only a couple hurdles to get over, but I thought I knew who I was and nobody was going to change that. I felt confident in my faith, with my friend, and who I was outside of school. I hung out with the popular group and focused all my time into pleasing the people around me to fit in. My sophomore year was halfway through the race. I starting having a hard time in my faith and who my real friends were but used popularity as an excuse, I adapted to these situations even when they were wearing me out mentally, but not enough to leave. Hitting my junior year was a big eye opener for me. 3/4th of the way in the race is the hardest part, you’re starting to get tired but you can’t stop because you are almost to the end, lots of obstacles are in the way and every one is harder and harder to get over. At this point in my life I started questioning my faith, school was hard, parties were happening everywhere around me, injuries got in the way of my dreams, and friends weren’t who I thought they were. I didn’t want to be apart of the popular group but I didn’t know a way out, I was scared to leave because of what people would say, I was stuck in the in-between and didn’t know how to get out. Summer was just around the corner and I was fed up with the drama and lies being told about me and the people around me. When senior year started I had a couple more obstacles to face which were the hardest of all; I had my worst injury, a heartbreaking fallout, and the worst stress I ever had due to balancing the work of school and college decisions which depended on how my spring season turned out, but when you see the finish line come into view you have hope. I came into senior year having a better sense of who I am. I’m still changing but will alway be throughout my whole life. I came to a realization that being popular isn’t important for my life after high school or in it, but having friends who I can be myself around and have a real conversation without the use of text or social media are people you should appreciate and cherish for as long as you can. As my senior year comes to an end I’m confident in saying I truly know who I am and what I value. Just like the end of a race, you start strong but finish stronger.

When I look back on my LC experience, the greatest blessings come from my greatest struggles. Without the obstacles, pain, failure, and hurt I wouldn’t be who I am today and I wouldn’t know who I am spiritually. From the mistakes of myself and others I’ve been able to put values on what is important to me in my walk with God, in life, and as an individual. I will use my walk through LC in a positive way by having faith in God through the struggles of college and remember that God has a plan even when I may think otherwise. Being a female athlete in college I will use my competitive skills to push my limits and try achieving personal goals I set for myself while keeping God in focus on and off the field.

The program at LC has provided opportunities for me to grow in my understanding of God and myself through many experiences that have shaped me to know exactly what I want as a individual and as a Christian. The biggest one that has shaped me from the very beginning until now is the people who fake who they are just so they can be apart of a group of friends who don’t really care about them but how they are viewed. I struggled a lot with this personally and understand that being popular and looking good feels good until you realize you’re doing it for someone else interests rather than your own. When you screw up their’s nobody there to catch you cause all they care about is being involved with you when you succeed. I’ve seen this as a peer and personally. Going to LC you see a lot of people who fake religion, but also those who try to truly walk in God’s shoes. Both has changed who I am and both for the better. Seeing peers who pretend to follow God give off a persona of an unhappy life. They turn to alcohol for help and I have seen the way it has affected there lives and their families. As I observe the way they live I feel thankful for what I have. When I see the way a true Christian lives I want to be apart of that life because they are always happy and filled with hope. Teachers at LC have been a foundation for my belief from the very beginning. They are apart of a Christian school, but act the part by pushing me all the time to do my best. They have so much faith in one person which shows how important it is to them for the students to excel in our work in and after high school. I never truly took this as a gift till my senior year, when I was pushed every day by every teacher. I wanted to quit because I thought I couldn’t do it, but being an achiever I stuck with it and wouldn’t be able to do it without their faith in my abilities to do my best. I sometimes still want to quit but looking back on all my hard work I can’t seem to do anything less than my best which will always be in my mind throughout college and onto my career. My last experience that has shaped my life and will for the next four years out of high school is Track. Ever since my brothers first track practice I had a passion for the sport, every day after school in the 5th grade I would walk over to the track and observe what my brother was doing. As soon as I saw the hurdles I knew that was what I wanted to do so I would practice on the side getting a head start on my competition. Little did I know at that time, I would be talked about in other schools as the girl who runs hurdles in 14 seconds. When I got to high school I was excited to see how far I could go, lucky for me it came easy, but it never stopped me from trying my best. Track in particular gives me a chance to drop whatever is going on in my life and work on something I can control, it’s a way for me to escape the outside world and put all my energy and focus into getting better. It has taught me to be independent, focused, humble, and stubborn which could be good and bad depending on how you look at it. The passion that came with working hard in practice and seeing results pushed me to see how far I could go when I realized I could continue my passion in college which was a dream of mine since the very beginning. I never looked at myself as better and tried my hardest to stay humble throughout all the sports I competed in. When you compete against the best you see a lot of personalities shine and being cocky was one that I never appreciated. As a competitor and Christian I understand how a target is on my back because I go to a Christian school, and I have good times. Because of these two things it doesn’t make me any better or worst then anyone else, I do sports because I like to compete and achieve goals I set for myself just like the majority of athletes. I run to make myself happy, help others, and find friends along the way.

As I wrap up my senior year I have a good idea of who I am spiritually, and personally. All these experiences have shaped my life by bringing me closer to God through the ups and downs and from these experiences I’m able to put value on whats important to myself as I start my own life away from home. God has been reaching out to me since the beginning of high school but I was to selfish and stubborn to let him in. Satan used old friends, popularity, sports, and the Christian school to keep me away from following the correct path to God, and due to this I had a painful path come back; however, I wouldn’t change what I did because I am who I am today due to situations that made me stumble and fall. If high school was easy I would still be trapped by pleasing others and be lost going into a world I have never experienced on my own. God used my pain as a way to shape my life and come back into view. I was able to see what I didn’t want from the times of being lost, and appreciate what I have when it’s still here. As I continue on my next few years at the University of Washington competing on the track team as a heptathlete and going into the career of orthodontia I will keep my values and God close to my heart. I chose this school because it gives me the best opportunity in my career field as well as my passion of competing on the D1 level against the best athletes. Being an achiever I’m up for the challenge of being a full time athlete and student; while being competitive, i’m ready to push myself to the limit. When I went to visit UW during the winter of 2017, the teammates seemed like family, and the campus felt like home. I’ll use my experiences at LC to be true to who I am and impact the lives of others by showing God’s work through me on and off the field.