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Our Reality: A Senior Year Without

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Our Reality: A Senior Year Without

Safyre Yearling, Editor-in-Chief

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I remember my very first day of Kindergarten. I remember my mom waking me up bright and early. I remember holding her hand, as she walked me to the doors of Emerson Elementary. I remember the tight squeeze she gave me, telling me she would see me after school. I remember turning away, taking my first steps of independence.

Over the course of the last four years of my high school career, a grim reality washed over me. I’ve watched several of my friends graduate. I have watched them hug and celebrate with their mothers: I would never experience this feeling first hand. As often as it feels so, I am not alone.

Madison Stark and her father, Kenny.

Heide Barnes Photography
Madison pays tribute to her father in her senior pictures by pinning pictures of the two to her outfit.

Madison “Maddy” Stark is a classmate and friend of mine. On August 6th, 2015, she lost her father, Kenny Stark, to a brain aneurysm.

“When I lost my dad, I was in a deep depression where I wouldn’t express my feelings towards people or talk to people about how I feel,” said Stark.

Maddy described her dad as her best friend, as they usually did everything together.

“I wish my dad was here to see me accomplish all of my goals, but I know he’s looking down and is so happy for me.”

The passing of her father has given Maddy a new perspective on life. She chose to share her insight saying, “Life is precious. Do not take your loved ones for granted because one day, God may feel like it’s their time to go. God works in mysterious ways, but he has a plan for everyone!”

“My dad was my best friend. We did everything together.”

— Madison Stark


Kallista and her mother, Janie Vallejo.

The story of the Vallejo family is a familiar one in the town of Alliance. The youngest of the three children is Kallista Vallejo, another classmate of mine. On March 24, 2012, Kallista lost her father to kidney failure, and two short years later, on July 18th, 2014, she lost her mother to liver failure. 

Kallista Vallejo and her father, Mark Vallejo.

When asked about her relationship with her parents, Kallista responded, “I was always a daddy’s girl and had a strong bond with my dad. I felt like my whole world came crashing down when he passed, but losing my mom was hard. She was my best friend. I told my mom everything. She was always there for me when I needed someone the most.”

Rather than use her situation as a reason to quit, Kallista looked for the positives and made the most of it. “Losing my parents has helped me shape myself as a person by becoming stronger. It made me look at my future a lot different. It’s helped me go down the right path.”

As for my story, my mom had a stroke, which took her life on July 4, 2012. I was 12-years-old. I was always close to my mom and after her death, I was completely broken. It seemed as if there was not one thing that anybody could say or do to bring me out of the deep, dark place I had fallen. It is a pain that I would not wish on my worst enemy.

The worst part was the rumors. I learned firsthand that people will always have something to say. Due to the circumstances of my mother’s passing, some believed that my fate would be the same.

It was hard to comprehend. It is something I did not and will never understand. However, I have been more than happy to prove the naysayers wrong and the amount of support I have received has far outweighed the negativity.

The road to recovery was more of an obstacle course than anything, but the thought of making my mom and family proud, makes everything worth it.

Amanda Preiss and her son, Kyson.

We may be living in different worlds, but somehow it feels that they are always there. When we were children, our parents held our tiny fingers, and showered us with love.

Senior year has just begun, but so much is already happening. The college and scholarship application processes have started and now more than ever, I am realizing just how much I need my mom to lean on.

When close family and friends talk to me about my mother, they always say that they could never find a word strong enough to describe her love for me. Sometimes, I wonder what our relationship would be like today. Would she be preparing for the day she dropped me off at college? Would she remember that first day of Kindergarten and smile as I took my first steps into the adult world?

The thought is one that is almost unbearable. However, I have come to realize that though I may not be able to see her; my mom is walking right alongside me every single day. She is my guardian angel; my silent cheerleader and the one person who is always on my team. That thought alone brings me comfort, even in the most stressful situations.

As Kallista Vallejo said so well, “Never take your parents for granted. To always spend as much time with them as possible, to never let them go even when they make you mad. You never know when the last time you’ll see them or talk to them again.”

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Safyre Yearling, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Hey Spud buds! My name is Safyre Yearling! I am the 17 year old daughter of the late Amanda Preiss and Lance, and my amazing mother figure, Mandy. I am...


8 Responses to “Our Reality: A Senior Year Without”

  1. Sherri on September 27th, 2017 12:52 pm

    Great article, Safyre!!! You did your mama proud and so did Madison and Kallista!!

  2. Kendra Drury on September 27th, 2017 2:43 pm

    What an amazing story of strength love and friendship. These girls are now such amazing and graceful young women. So brave to tell and write this story. This world is a better place with u three in it.

  3. Amii Harris on September 27th, 2017 3:01 pm

    This is beautiful this kids had been through alto and held the heads high and proved the ones who started rumors that they were all wrong. Keep striving your parents ate proud of you

  4. Liz on September 27th, 2017 3:21 pm

    Beautiful, heartfelt article – I wish the very best to all these young people for their strength and beautiful sentiments………Love and hugs to all!

  5. Joan ibarra on September 27th, 2017 8:36 pm

    Your words are so engaging and honest. What a wonderfully written piece!

  6. Jennifer McMillin on September 27th, 2017 9:45 pm

    Great story! Made me cry… I actually think of you strong young women often.

    Ms. McMillin

  7. Cathe McCaffrey on September 28th, 2017 1:35 am

    Wonderful article, Safyre….It shocks me and deeply saddens me that so many of my former students have lost a parent or as in Kalllista’s case, both parents. You and they show such tremendous strength and courage to go on and live amazing lives…your mom would be so proud of you–and so am I… you so very much!

    Mrs. Mc

  8. Mandie Felker on September 28th, 2017 9:52 am

    This is an amazing article Safyre. I lost my mom just last year so this really hits home for me as well. I’m so moved you decided to write about this. Senior year is a great, yet tough one w/o a parent. Proud of you and the other girls in this article!!

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Our Reality: A Senior Year Without