Amanda Allen, 17, has had a busy, wonderful and traditional high school experience at Lakeside High School, where she has earned a 3.76 grade-point average. Traditional, except for one thing, that really big thing that happened on a cold day in December a few years ago.
“I remember exactly,” she said. “It was Dec. 14, 2008, the coldest day of the year. Our house was out in the country. Thank God we weren’t home. Our house caught fire and it burned to the ground. It was so cold that the water in the tanks of the fire trucks froze. All that was left was the garage and the foundation of the house.”
The dog she’d had for eight years and a new kitten died in the fire. Aside from those beloved pets, “it was just stuff,” Allen said. “My mom and I weren’t hurt, and the community came together to help us stand up again.”
They lived with friends until they were able to get another house, where she still lives with her mother, Sandy, a real estate agent. The fire department held a breakfast benefit right away to help get them Christmas presents that year. And the day after the fire, Allen performed in a band concert at school.
She has received emotional and spiritual support through the Cornerstone Baptist Church, where she teaches vacation Bible school, and she remains a bright and outgoing teenager who participates in pretty much everything at school. She is a percussionist in the band, plays piano for jazz band, has been band president in her senior year and leads the band as drum major. Lakeside’s bands participated in the Heritage Music Festival in San Diego during her sophomore year, and the five performance groups, competing against schools much larger, came home with the sweepstakes trophy.
“Imagine that, an itty bitty school like Lakeside up against all those 3A schools – and we won,” she said.
A member of the National Honor Society, she helps the fifth-grade math club at Lake Spokane Elementary School (the club took first in its division in regional competition this year) and works as a volunteer at Lakeside’s kitchen every morning, starting at 6 a.m. She also has been president of Washington Drug Free Youth for four years, following in the footsteps of her older brothers – Anthony, 23, and Christopher, 25 – who were officers before her.
Another passion is Civil War re-enactment, in which she often portrays vivandieres, women known as Daughters of the Regiment who served in a number of peripheral roles, sometimes acting as field nurses. She’s been re-enacting for the past six years.
Allen will be attending Eastern Washington University this fall and plans to major in elementary education. “I’ve always loved working with kids, and I see this as a perfect fit for me.”