DEER ISLE—As a student-athlete at the high school level, students quickly become involved in many facets of their school community. Even at a small school like Deer Isle-Stonington High School, one may interact with a completely different set of individuals on the playing field or court than in the classroom.
For 2017 graduate Jordyn Judkins, joining the tennis team during the spring of her freshman year proved to be a changing point, bringing a shy but bright student out of her shell.
“A couple older girls convinced me to join the tennis team, and it was one of the best things I could have done,” said Judkins. “I made so many friends I wouldn’t have otherwise, and I’m still friends with a lot of them now.”
Playing tennis her freshman and sophomore years gave Judkins the push she needed to step out of her comfort zone and join the pep and jazz bands her junior year, even taking solos for concerts.
“Between tennis and music, I really started to feel like I was a part of something,” she said.
Getting involved in extra curriculars not only brought Judkins out of her shell, it also taught her that hard work and dedication was something that she would need to get her to her post-high school goals. Judkins took on that challenge full force, and worked her way to a tennis singles player, a soloist in the band and the Valedictorian of her class.
“Jordyn is an incredibly hard worker in the classroom, on the tennis court, and on the stage,” said DISHS principal Todd West. “She is a supportive teammate, always willing to do whatever is needed whether it is for the band or for the tennis team.”
Judkins said that learning how to multi-task and plan ahead has prepared her for college at the University of Maine in Orono in the fall, where she plans to study engineering.
In her graduation speech on June 11, Judkins talked about how a near family tragedy helped her remember to live in the moment, instead of fearing what the future holds. During the holiday season of her junior year, Judkins’ father Daniel was involved in a car accident, separating the family as he recovered off the island.
“I remember thinking that I was so concerned with school work and whatever else, but I could have lost somebody so important to me,” said Judkins during her speech. “People need to stop living in fear and thinking about the future, and live in the moment and hold on to the people and things around you.”
With tennis, finals, scholarship applications and working on her speech this spring, Judkins said she was able to keep her stress levels low and be in the moment as the last days of her high school career ticked away.
“I just sort of kept my head down and worked,” said Judkins. “Now that it’s over, it’s a weird feeling, but a satisfying one, like I accomplished the goals I set, and now I can move on.”
During her speech, Judkins noted that she is proud of herself for learning who she is and thriving in that, a sentiment echoed by West.
“It has been wonderful to watch her come into her own over the past four years, developing the self-confidence that really lets her amazing talents shine through,” he said.
With graduation behind her, Judkins plans to spend her summer as many teenagers would in their last few months before starting the post secondary chapter of their lives.
“I’m going to be working at Nervous Nellie’s, spend time with friends and family,” she said