Up until she was in the 7th grade, Jolee Jones, who happens to be our cousin, was a completely beautiful, normal, talented little girl. At least that’s how we saw her, and that’s how I believe she saw herself. And then, she entered the 7th grade, and all of that changed…big time, and none of us knew why.
Today, I saw down with Jolee to see if she would tell me what in the world happened to that girl we used to know. Where did she go, and why did she go there? What made her seemingly retreat from all that was the world she once knew?
“Athletics started my seventh grade year, and obviously, I am not a runner, won’t ever be a runner.”
I understood exactly what she meant by saying that athletics started. At least here in Texas, we all tend to believe that “real athletics” begins in the 7th grade, don’t we?
“I truly wanted to be an athlete, but I wasn’t already an athlete, if you see what I mean. I didn’t feel that I was given any time to learn, that we just moved on with those who were already athletes.
“I’m one of those people who likes to be liked, and I was told that I would never be good enough to play. Obviously, when you’re in the 7th grade, you’re already hard on yourself, and I began to wonder if I was even good enough for anything…” Jolee trailed off as the tears began to flow.
“That self-doubt just kind of took over, and I became consumed with anxiety in every area of my life. I would get so anxious before athletics each day because I had made up my mind that I was going to play, whether I was on the A team or not.
“Plus, on top of all of that, I had West Nile which kept me from giving 110 percent like I wanted to do. We didn’t know it was West Nile for weeks and so none of us knew why I was sick and why I couldn’t work out like I should have been able to do.
“I ended up quitting athletics. I had already been put on anxiety meds, and I just couldn’t go on and do it any more. I didn’t want to see people, didn’t want to be around people, and life was completely horrible. It stemmed from athletics, and grew from there.
“I missed a lot of school because the West Nile had me sick all the time. Then, I’d have to spend hours and hours trying to catch up on school work. I’ve always been good at school, and I’d totally stress trying to make good grades.
“The anxiety continued into the 8th grade. You know how it is in a small school. If you aren’t in athletics, you aren’t anybody. My friends weren’t ugly to me; I just lost them because they were doing other things, leaving me alone.”
Eventually, she went on to high school, but Jolee still missed a lot of school because of the anxiety over grades, which doesn’t make a lot of sense since she has always been a great student. However, who can understand why the mind does what it does? All in all, however, her freshman year was a good one…until the last six-weeks of school.
“I had a falling out with someone who had become my friend. At that point, I just decided that there was no reason for me to stay at CHS.”
Jolee left CHS right then, enrolling in Premier High School of Comanche where she attended from 1-5 each day.
Jolee does still struggle with anxiety at times, but nothing like in the old days. That pretty much was over by the time she was a junior.
She actually was finished with school this past March but waited to graduate with the others in May…AND…Jolee Jones was the Valedictorian of her class with a GPA of 3.71. She will be attending Howard Payne in the fall.
And the ending to the story? It hasn’t been written yet, but Jolee had the following words for those who might come after her.
“Premier high schools are a good option if your child is having trouble adjusting to normal ISD. Talk with your kids…my parents did…they automatically just started asking questions. That made it much easier. I also saw a counselor, and that helped a lot.”
One thing I learned a long time ago is that public school just isn’t for all kids, and when it’s not, it can be pretty devastating for us to try to insist they stay there. Here at United, we wish Jolee nothing but the very best as she moves on to begin the next phase of her life!All photos by Christy’s Photography