Sincerely, Laura | Dear Senior Portrait Series
Updated: Mar 6
I met Laura when I was in eighth grade and got to help backstage for Concordia High School's production of Into the Woods. She was a year ahead of me, but we got to work together on a lot of productions in high school, and we've worked together on several of the alumni shows after graduation. I'm so happy to be able to feature her on my blog!
Laura was involved in drama all four years she was in high school, and was stage manager for three of those years. She was on the speech team, and also spent one weird year in the high school marching band pretending to play the trombone to fill in a hole. Outside of school she was in her church choir and a volunteer a the hospital. Her biggest academic achievement was being Valedictorian of her graduating class.
Now, Laura teaches Environmental Science and AP Environmental Science. Along with that she is the director of the Our Creator's Classroom. She is the Technical Director of Drama for the high school, and has written and directed three one-act plays for the Concordia stage. She has a husband who is "fantastic" and a cat who is "cute and useless." Outside of all this, she has little time left for volunteering but is active on her church council.
Laura always knew she wanted to be a teacher, but she wasn't sure what she wanted to teach until she took a physics class from the teacher who was also her Bible study mentor. Even though she didn't take any more physics classes after high school, she decided to stay focused on science and the beautiful interplay between science and faith.
She got involved -- and stayed involved -- in the drama program because of people who saw abilities in her that she didn't even see in herself. The list of people includes Laura's dad, Mr. Murphy, Kasey (Gator) Hall, Aaron Bennett, and as far as encouraging her to write scripts, Laura's husband.
We started Laura's photo session at the high school, featuring the stage where she spends so much time working with set pieces and props. Then we moved upstairs to her environmental science classroom. These two places really capture Laura in her element!
"Learn to separate your own goals and interests from your concerns about how other people will perceive you. Take advantage of their encouragement but don't get bogged down by arbitrary expectations. You usually imagine that others have higher expectations for you than they really do anyway. Reach for goals out of joy not out of fear. It makes the reaching easier.
"Oh, and impostor syndrome is definitely a real thing that builds up like plaque on unbrushed teeth. And the best way to keep that kind of plaque off is to open up and be honest with people. They'll be honest back, and it will remind you that you're not the only one with your particular shortcomings and those shortcomings aren't a big deal. "This openness and honesty will help you be a better teacher, too. It means a lot to students when teachers don't try to assert their superiority, when they take time in class to not only answer a student's question, but look up information if they don't know the answer. Curiosity is far more engaging and inspiring than arrogance. "All of life is going to be messy. and if you measure yourself against some imagined finished product oh, you'll always be a failure. But if you see yourself as a creature who is growing and learning, you'll have nothing to regret."
Concordia High School, Class of 2009
P.S. "If I were really talking to my actual self, I would say: Please don't get that newspaper job. You're just going to run into a deer and wreck your car the first day out. It won't be worth it. All of your other mistakes led to growth, but that... that was just dumb."
My Dear Senior portrait series features young adults who have completed high school and moved on to "what's next." I've invited these young adults to look back and share something they wish they'd been told during their senior year of high school.
Check out all the other features on the Dear Senior page!