Rachel | Prairie High School Senior '14

Written by Amber -

Perhaps one of the most bubbly, fun-loving students I know, Rachel can be found smiling at virtually any moment you cross her path. She finished up her senior year at Prairie High School (Racine, WI) TODAY where she has impacted many with her positive outlook on life and her infectious laughter. We've known Rachel and her family for years, as we are a part of the same church family, so it was a special honor to photograph her Senior Session this past fall. I think you'll love reading about her experiences and the advice she lives by.

"I have lived in Racine my whole life, but I wasn't at Prairie until sixth grade," Rachel explains. "Going from Jefferson Lighthouse to Prairie was a little nerve-wracking because I didn't know many people at Prairie and I was worried everyone would be excluding because of how long people had known each other, but I could never have been so wrong about Prairie! Everyone I met included me and made me feel welcome and I have really appreciated that."

One thing you'll learn quickly about Rachel is that she loves to swim! She's been a part of SEA-Y (South Eastern Aquatics) since she was ten years old. "I have grown to love the people on my team as a second family, and words can’t describe what they mean to me," Rachel expressed. "They have seen me at my best and they have seen me at my worst. My favorite memories with SEA-Y have been the travel meets up to Green Bay, and I am excited to go to Florida with the team this June!" 

On a fun & silly note, Rachel thinks that it would be really cool to swim across the English channel someday! "It might be crazy, but hey, all the pivotal people in history were crazy!" she laughed.

Rachel is very well-rounded as a person. I love her heart for people. "I have gone on four mission trips through church and will be going on my fifth this summer to Atlanta Georgia! I love these mission trips because of the people I’m with, but also because of God and how he does such awesome things on these trips," Rachel said. "I remain active through volunteering with the nursery and have participated on several of the serving teams available through my youth group. I will miss seeing everyone every Wednesday and Sunday!"

She certainly loves to travel! Over spring break she was able to go to France with other students from her school. "We stayed with a host family and did all the touristy things," Rachel reminisced. "I really loved being able to meet the French kids, and see a different country. I definitely gained an appreciation for other people and different culture. As a result, I really want to go back to Europe. Who knows—maybe I’ll study abroad for a semester of college and just travel around!" After graduation, Rachel plans to attend UW Stevens-Point. "I have NO idea what I’m going to major in, but that’s okay because God has it figured out!" Rachel smiled.

I asked Rachel what one of her favorite memories from high school was. She said she couldn't narrow it down to one, but she did have great times in the art room at Prairie. "My homeroom is in the art room, and the art teacher, Mr. Pearson, is my advisor," Rachel explained. "Whether me and my friends were messing around in homeroom and moving everyone’s art box to a giant pyramid, or actually doing art, I really have fond memories in the art room, and felt I was able to express myself and be listened to in the form of art." 

The greatest advice Rachel has ever received was from one of her swim coaches. She describes, "The team was doing a set, and unlike some of the other girls, I was putting a huge amount of effort into it. Because of the effort I put in, I got to lead a lane of girls whose times were faster than mine. After practice I could tell a few of the other girls were upset because I was leading them with my slower times. After practice, Coach Mike told me, 'The one with the biggest heart has no limits.' This has stuck with me throughout high school—and will stick with me forever—because it reminds me my limits are not found in my skill set or personality, but instead my limits are only what my heart allows me to do. I think that is really powerful and everyone needs to hear that."

To the underclassmen at Prairie, Rachel leaves the advice, "Don’t panic or stress out. Yes, high school is important, but if you let everything bother you then you'll lose yourself along the way. These four years are important, but there are more important things to life such as your passions, personality, and sanity."

Rachel's full Senior Session can be viewed in her online gallery. I hope you enjoy these photo highlights...