Utah seniors share their stories of resilience.
Brooklyn Paul, W Jordan HS, 2018
Throughout High School I have been in a tornado. Each year I have struggled with things that
just seem to get worse and worse year by year. Sophomore year was the calm before the storm
and my only real issue was my brother not wanting to graduate. The summer before junior year
was what brewed up the storm however. My family and I on my way to band practice got into a
car accident, and so we were facing financial issue and lived with the fear of debt all the time.
My mother stayed up every night trying to get us out of this conundrum. Which didn’t happen till
the end of the year.
Once School began things got out of hand. My younger brother had gotten himself expelled
from school. This would be the second time this has happened, and so my parents knew they
had to do something. So they took to action of placing him in a military academy. My brother did
not like this idea and put up a fight every night. He broke windows, threw dishes, destroyed our
house, threatened suicide, snuck out when he shouldn’t and he got onto social media doing
things he shouldn’t have done. My brother only came to an agreement to go to the academy if I
went with him. That is when my tornado sucked me up. I had to go for I knew it would be best on my family. I had to let go of the dreams I had for my senior year. I couldn’t get on orchestra council nor band. I had to leave my debate team behind. I felt awful with everything happening. My older brother got in more trouble and left, becoming almost homeless and getting lost in addictions. He threatened to sue my family because my dad fixed a car that he bought. I would hear my mom cry all the time, and my dad came home upset.
My heart felt heavy and sometimes I couldn’t breathe. Chains were tying me down to the floor. I
had one friend stick by me, and the others either became an enemy or just didn’t talk to me. I
stopped eating, dreaming, and trying. I thought suicide all the time as my brother screamed it
out loud at night. Every morning was me not wanting to get up and see another day.
As the year ended I talked to my counselor about everything and he really helped me come to
senses. I felt relieved to talk about what I was feeling. Winds started to calm as I accepted what
was happening. I understood I needed to change before I took the wrong turn. I spoke to the
dean of the Utah Military Academy and he said some inspiring things about how it is never too
late to restart. So I restarted.
I started to balance in the center of my tornado. In the summer I volunteered with the Utah
military academy and my brother started to calm down and realize what he was doing. Soon
enough my mom said I could go to West Jordan for my last year. I felt a huge breeze of relief
when she said this.
My final year has been a hard one, but I have become better about handling things then last
year. My grandpa at the beginning of this year got into to car accident. I then had to put my dog
down. Later I saved up and with the help of my mom and friend I got a new puppy, she was sick
however, as we soon found out that she was treated very poorly by her previous owners. I
ended up having to take her to the vet 24/7. To this day I have vet bills to continue to pay off,
but I am very happy to help her. My grandpa was also recently diagnosed with cancer, he is at a
stage 9/10 and he made a promise to go to my graduation. I am very sad with what has been
happening, but I am focusing on getting out of this slump. This year I have been working my
hardest to become what I want to. I want everyone to know that it’s never too late to restart.
Focus on being with your family when you are down, and talk to someone, don’t hold it in. Stand
atop the highest rock and let out a mighty roar to blow away the storms.
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