By Hayden Entress
Senior year is a time of reflection and preparation. The future can be an intimidating thing to think about for seniors, but, it can also be exciting and motivating.
Ezra Tebbenkamp, an 18 year old senior at Yampa Valley High School, is planning the next steps in his life after graduation. He has realized that this means embracing new responsibilities and challenges. Millions of high school seniors have to go through this process of letting go, moving on, becoming an adult and realizing what is important to them. For Ezra, although he wishes he would have started thinking about these things earlier, he still has goals and ambitions for his future.
Ezra´s high school experience shows that there is more than one way to go through high school. He has had different experiences at several schools that have helped shape who he is today.
Ezra started high school at Steamboat Springs High School. He then did a year of online school, but after realizing that those were not a good fit for him, he willingly decided to give Yampa Valley High School a try.
¨ I started out at the public high school and that wasn’t going so well. So, I left in the second semester of my sophomore year and started doing homeschool. I did homeschool for my sophomore year and the beginning of my junior year, but I was not doing well so. Since I was not doing well, my mom had the idea to put me in the alternative school. So far it has been a really good experience. It was my own choice to Yampa Valley High School even though my Mom brought it up first,” said Ezra.
Yampa Valley High School has helped Ezra to see the potential in his future.
“They (YVHS) have reminded me that I can do well in school. When I was a freshman, I just messed around a lot and didn’t care about school. And I skipped lots of classes. Now I am realizing that it is important to go to classes and try to get good grades. And YVHS makes that possible,” said Ezra.
Ezra´s plans after he graduates include going to the New Mexico Firefighting Academy and getting his own apartment, which he will be able to pay for himself.
¨I am going to have some new responsibilities like paying rent and buying my own food. I think I am going to realize all of the things I should have known once I am totally independent,” said Ezra. After he graduates from the academy, he is going to find a department to work at.
Some other goals that Ezra has are to have a steady and reliable income and be able to have money to retire with. Ezra knows that goals are an important part of staying focused and for succeeding after he graduates.
Ezra said, “If I don’t have goals I will just mess around and do pointless stuff.”
In his earlier high school years, Ezra did not know what he wanted his life to be like after he graduated.
When asked when he started thinking about what life was going to look like after high school, Ezra replied, “It took me longer than it should have. At the end of my junior year, I was thinking I about how I should probably figure out what I am going to do. I wish I would have thought about it sooner.”
Ezra is looking forward to being able to go out into the world to accomplish his goals and make them a reality. He wants to be able to look back at his hard work in high school and feel accomplished.
Other than his friends and family, Ezra will not miss high school.
“It will be nice to create my own schedule. I’m ready for something new,” said Ezra.
Ezra hopes that his story can motivate, inspire or help students who are getting ready to graduate.
Some words of advice from Ezra to other students are, “I would say to think about what you are going to do after high school before your senior year. I think I waited too long and now it is a lot more stressful.”
Ezra is ready to accomplish his goals and to move on to new, exciting things. One of the most important things that Ezra has learned in high school is that procrastination does not work. It is better and easier to just do your work and to not get behind.
“Being a senior puts the steps I need to take to accomplish my goals into perspective. It makes them more clear because the future is becoming a reality.”