I went to high school from 1996-2000 and writing that makes me feel so freaking old. No digital cameras then so the photos below are scans.
It's safe to say that I did a 180 in high school. My Freshman and Sophomore year were drastically different from my Junior and Senior year. I literally went to Fort Walton Beach High School for the cheerleading program. Yes, that's right...cheerleading program. They were the best in the area and had won NCA National Championship the year prior to my freshman year. At that time in my life I wanted to go on to college and cheer and be a part of NCA staff. That was my dream so to speak at 14.
For two years I worked my ass off, literally. Our cheer program was more like a boot camp. We had 5:45am summer practices that would last until 10 or 11am. We would start practice before the football team, well before, and end after them. That was just for normal practice. If you were also on the National's Team then practice was pretty much double that. And I loved it. Even when I was hating it; I still loved. It was all I knew. It was who I was at the time and definitely the most important thing to me. Unfortunately, my body just couldn't keep up. I stayed injured and had to hang up my pom poms after my Sophomore year due to a major ACL tear.
During those first two years, I pretty much only hung out with other cheerleaders and athletes. On top of that, most of my friends were upperclassmen. It's just who I hung out with due to the fact that I was a newbie at the school and didn't go to middle school with anyone there. I partied a little too much and worried more about my social life and going out then how I was doing in school. I didn't struggle in school, I was in honors classes, but I didn't apply myself fully during those first years. My life was cheer, social, school. That's how it balanced out at that time. I had a ton of fun but luckily did a lot of growing up between my sophomore and junior year.
Looking back, that ACL tear my Sophomore year was probably the best thing to happen to me because it made me change my focus from cheer back to school. With cheer out of the way I was able to really focus on my school and ended up graduating with honors and a full semester of college already completed.
Most of my lifelong friends now weren't really a part of my life those first two years. It was really my Senior year that I branched out and made some of the best friends I've ever had; and still do to this day.
I wouldn't change my HS experience for anything. I went to an awesome school right on the beach and enjoyed every minute of it. I loved it so much that I moved back to my hometown after college and still live here. I mean, who wouldn't want to continue to live in a place that others pay to vacation to. It's home; at least to me.