Graduating from high school is a milestone, the culmination of 12 years of classes, homework, extracurricular activities, jobs and family responsibilities.
It’s a lot to juggle, but Carlynn Walters, 18, says she’ll miss that juggling act when she graduates from Cheney High School on June 3.
“Probably what I’ll miss the most is just the routine. I’ve been doing it for 12 years now,” Walters said.
Her routine has consisted of attending classes at Cheney, taking Running Start courses at Spokane Falls Community College, working in the office at Cheney, and selling tickets and concessions at sporting events. She also tutors a first-grader from Salnave Elementary School.
“He has trouble with spelling and his reading, so I go over there every Monday and help him,” she said.
Walters comes from a close-knit family with three brothers and two sisters. One of her brothers, Dallas, 16, has Down syndrome, and Walters spends time helping him.
“He has trouble in public places, so I would teach him how to act in public places,” she said. “He has trouble with his reading, his writing, so I help him with that. I’ve been helping with his numbers lately. Just daily, basic life things.”
Walters said that helping Dallas helps her with her own studies and keeps her motivated.
She was selected as the notable student from Cheney by several staff members. They noted how hardworking Walters is every day.
Walters acknowledged this work ethic.
“I think it’s probably because I work really hard for my grades and for school,” she said. In addition, “I’m really independent. I do things on my own. If I need to do something, I always make sure I do it myself.”
But she credits the staff in the office of Cheney High School with encouraging her.
“The people that work in the office have been really helping me through the last couple of years. I would definitely say they motivate me a lot. They’ve been pushing me out the door and telling me I always can do better.”
When she’s not working, she likes to spend time with her friends. At the prom this year, she was in a group of about 30 students who went bowling in their finery at North Bowl in Spokane before they headed up to Manito Country Club for the big dance.
Now that she is on the verge of graduation, Walters has been deciding her future.
“Once I graduate, I want to become an emergency dispatcher. I’ve always had a fascination for firefighters and emergency (workers), but I really don’t want to be on the field,” she said. “If I become a dispatcher, I can be on scene without being on scene.”