It’s easy for a person to let adversity define or impede them.
Estir Konstantin doesn’t do what is easy.
The high school senior at Five Mile Prairie School in north Spokane has faced life’s tremendous obstacles head-on, with compassion, maturity beyond her years and a steadfast commitment to two things: her faith and family.
For years, life has tested Konstantin’s resolve. Her mother, Elena, has battled breast cancer for 11 years, her grandmother died from cancer two years ago, her brother endured serious injuries in a car accident and her father, a long-haul trucker, is often away for periods of time.
Through it all, Konstantin said God has been by her side walking with her and making miracles happen.
“That’s my No. 1 thing in life,” she said. “For me it’s God and then it’s everything else.”
With God’s grace, and strength learned from her mother, Konstantin has persevered.
Even at school, Konstantin faced more challenges. Foremost was a language barrier. Konstantin was born in Russia and speaks Russian as her first language.
While assisting as much as she could at home, Konstantin maintained a strong grasp on her education.
“I never saw dropping out of school as a choice,” she said. “I knew I had to put goals and achieve them in order to get through life, because if you just sit down and whine about how terrible life is, obviously, you’ll never get through it.”
Konstantin credited the teachers at Five Mile Prairie for understanding her situation and helping her find solutions. She now considers them to be like family.
“Their encouragement and the help they give and the understanding, just helped me get through it all,” Konstantin said. “I really thank my teachers, because they’ve been a really big part of my life. I never thought I could actually be that close to a teacher.”
Teachers describe Konstantin just as fondly, saying she is hard-working, kind, amazing and outstanding. They praise her integrity and heart.
Linda Warren, Konstantin’s math teacher and someone she describes as like a second mom, has watched Konstantin time and again support others.
“She is a unique caretaker. There are so many caretakers who fall into that position because they need to be needed, and that’s just not who she is,” Warren said. “Unless you see it happen, she never talks about those things. She doesn’t want to be in the limelight, she just is a natural caretaker and I don’t think she can help it.”
Following graduation, a formality for Konstantin who finished her credits a semester early, Konstantin desires to be an esthetician, a passion first realized after a class visit from an esthetician. Since then, Konstantin has served as the unofficial beautician for her family and friends.
“I was so into it, she hooked me like that,” Konstantin said. “I just love the whole idea and it’s also doing good for people in a way.”
Konstantin described her life as a roller coaster, but she was even quicker to say that she has the best life. One reached through the blessings of faith.
“Even with my teachers being absolutely amazing, and my family and everyone,” she said, “I know that without God I definitely would not be where I am today.”
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