Senior reporter thankful for opportunities

Lily Oelschlager, Assistant Sports Editor

I only wrote for The Lantern for one year. I’d considered joining in my earlier years, but my class schedule had other plans for me, including three math classes in sophomore year. Senior year came, and with it a sparse class schedule of only four AP liberal arts classes and a 1:00 dismissal. 

Finishing junior year also meant leaving behind one of my favorite teachers, Mr. Silvidi. He’d been my English teacher in the second half of sophomore year and all throughout junior year in AP English Language. I knew he was the adviser for Lantern, and that Rory Wainwright, one of my best friends, was Editor-In-Chief. With an empty first period, the promise of spending it with two of my favorite people, and a love of writing, I signed up for Lantern my senior year. 

In my short time with Lantern, I talked with rock climbers, divers, basketball stars, math stars, track stars, and more. All of their stories had something in common: the desire for more. Whether more meant a higher mountain, a deeper dive, or a faster time, they all charged forward into the unknown with the faith that they could make something from it. 

What was the key to success for these phenomenal people I spoke with? Hours of practice and study, dedication and grit, surely. While those things are vital to any endeavor, the most important thing you can carry into your future is faith. Not in a god or a person or a thing, but in yourself. From my own personal experience and theirs, I can tell you that quite often, people succeed simply because they refuse to fail. 

I spent most of my high school career on the road, traveling all over the east coast and midwest for horse shows. Often, I was gone for weeks at a time, living a cowboy’s life in the middle of some little town propped up by the comings and goings of equestrian business. Lexington, Kentucky. Wellington, Florida. Traverse City, Michigan. There’s nothing I love more than traveling with my barn and horses; we’re rock stars touring in the largest, hairiest, smelliest band on Earth. 

There isn’t a more brutal sport. I’ve had the privilege of riding hundreds of incredible animals and owning three, but creating a successful partnership requires all of your blood, sweat, and tears. In the fall of 2016, one of my best friends looked me in the eyes and told me I had no chance of qualifying for Devon, a prestigious spring invitational every rider dreams of attending. In the spring of 2017, I attended. All throughout the qualifying period, only one person believed in me: me. Once I realized that the only faith I needed was my own, I became unstoppable. After a few years, I stopped believing in the word “impossible,” because I’d achieved so many things considered to be just that. After Devon, I bought a new horse and built him from the ground up, ignoring the whispers of he’s not fit for this, find something else, you can’t ride him. Just two short years later, I took that horse to a national championship. 

What does this have to do with high school? Everything. Whether it be a math test, an English essay, a sporting event, a performance, or something else, faith in yourself is key. 

If I had taken even one moment to doubt myself anywhere in my career, the whole thing would have crumbled around me. It never mattered what others thought of me, because they weren’t the ones in the saddle. The power to achieve lies within you and only you. My own parents have called my goals impossible, and yet here I am. The only faith you need is your own.