Try New Things

The gentle giant.


Senior year for a high school student means the final push towards the conclusion of adolescence. Despite high school coming to a close, it is worth looking back on the previous four years to see how things ended up unfolding, as well as the memories made along the way. High school is full of expectations. There are expectations for what classes will be like and who will be in them. There are expectations about fitting in with a friend group and the overall chemistry of the community. There are expectations regarding extracurricular activities and the potential relationships with others.

For senior Jaden DeVaughn, high school wasn’t exactly what he expected, but the necessary opportunities were there and perhaps it just took some exploring to find what was right in the long-run. For DeVaughn, plans as an incoming freshman were simple.

“My goals going into high school were to make new friends, enjoy sports and do well in school,” DeVaughn said.

High school for most students can be separated in two main categories; essentially, there is what takes place in or near the classroom, and then there are extracurricular or outside activities that aren’t part of the school day. Academics can be frustrating and stressful, but with the proper work ethic and organization goals can be achieved. This was the case for DeVaughn as he was able to excel in the classroom, a participant of several honors and Advanced Placement classes all the way from freshman to senior year. These classes were essential for the growth DeVaughn wanted to see within himself.

“I have achieved most of my set academic goals throughout high school,” he said.

Unlike his academic successes, which proved to be important for the paving of the future, DeVaughn felt as though the majority of his hardships involved sports. He played basketball and football all four years, which he had planned on, and tennis his final year of high school, which was not part of that original freshman plan.

“I planned on playing football and basketball in high school and I ended up not liking it very much because it wasn’t what I expected and high school really made me like these sports less,” DeVaughn said.

Football and basketball at the varsity level ended up having successful years as the football team enjoyed back-to-back undefeated campaigns in the regular season. Also, the varsity basketball team boasted three regional championship victories, the first coming DeVaughn’s sophomore year. Although these were positive memories for DeVaughn, he experienced several frustrations with both sports, including sickness and injury.

“In football we were 9-0 my junior and senior year, which I was proud to be a part of, but some of the decisions made during those seasons made it extremely frustrating for me,” DeVaughn said.

Disappointed but hopeful, DeVaughn finally decided to make a transition that would allow him to go out on what he believed it would be a high note, and the decision would be trying out for the boys tennis team in the spring of 2018. While there was some hesitation, he was eager to see what he could make of his final semester of high school sports-wise and multiple friends of his also decided to try out.

“I ended up not liking most of my sports seasons except for my senior year of tennis which I really enjoy,” DeVaughn said. “I like how it’s more laid back and and I also like the overall atmosphere of the guys and the team in general.”

Perhaps it’s only fitting that what’s most enjoyable occurred during his last year at Antioch, but what he will remember most will probably be the people he came in contact with.

“Overall, I liked the friendships I made during my time here,” DeVaughn said.

These friends were made in both, in the classroom and extracurriculars. They turned out to be the staples of his past four years, even when other parts of high school weren’t as promising.

“Going into high school I expected to stay with my same friends and I ended up making all sorts of new friends and my friend group completely changed,” DeVaughn said.

This was not the only transition of his high school career and, although some parts were difficult, the present has allowed him to eagerly look forward and worry about what is soon to come with open arms.

“My focus has shifted onto what I will do after high school at the University of Iowa where I plan on studying biomedical engineering,” DeVaughn said.

After experiencing it himself, DeVaughn leaves advice for future high school students and those who haven’t yet graduated.

“Take every opportunity to try new things because high school is the time to find things that you really enjoy that you had no idea about,” DeVaughn said.

For DeVaughn, there were several expectations for all the aforementioned parts of high school. Some of these expectations turned out to be as he had planned, while others did not. One thing is for certain though, and it is that expectations and goals can change. Perhaps one of the most important things to remember is that positive experiences await, even if they come in ways that were completely unexpected.