As October ends and November begins, many take time to reflect on what they are thankful for as they realize the opportunities they’ve been given. JD Miller, a junior here at Ashland High School (AHS), has chosen to appreciate the friends and family that have blessed her in her life.
Friends are the family that one chooses, and JD’s friends are pretty great. They support and motivate JD, and in turn she supports them. She said that her friends are a large part of the reason that she comes to school and plays sports. High school is hard enough as it is, and without them, it would be even more difficult to get excited about the mundane and ordinary. Good friends can turn a bad day good in minutes. JD said that her friends lighten the mood and help her change her perspective and learn to laugh when things get rough. Looking at the big picture, it’s not as bad as it seems. Each of her friends are completely different from each other, but they all support each other’s individual interests, such as JD’s art.
Art is a central part of JD’s life. It calms her and serves as a therapy of sorts. Without it, she wouldn’t be the same person. The art program allows her to work on her art at school. Support and encouragement from her friends helps foster that love and belief in herself. Along with her art, JD is also passionate about science and she plays tennis. Tennis is usually private and expensive, but AHS offers a free team, which JD has acknowledged as a privilege many do not have. JD attributed these opportunities to the AHS philosophy. She said, “I feel like sometimes in other places, for being different, you’re not accepted, but here they embrace whatever you’re into.”
Friends may be family you choose, but the family you’re born with is forever, and luckily, JD is as close with them as she is with her friends. When JD and her two older siblings were younger, they would do everything together. They share a classic sibling relationship, where she hated them but loved them more than anything, and even when they fought, they were family. Her brother and sister are in college, and she misses them a ton. JD lives with her mom here in Ashland. However, her dad lives in Alaska and works as a math teacher. Living so far away from a parent can be hard, but her father lives in Ashland in the summer, so she gets to see him then.
JD said that sometimes we “forget how privileged we are and how awesome our town is”, which is important to remember as so many go without such opportunities. Although Thanksgiving is a great time to appreciate all the things that one has, like the ugly sweater from Grandma that makes a comforting rainy day cozy, or Mom’s awesome mashed potatoes, time should be taken to give thanks wherever and whenever possible. Life is good, and there is much to be grateful for.