This is part of a series of sporadic blog posts about items I have in my keepsake box. If you think I’m not sentimental, this should prove otherwise.

Jarom and I met in 9th grade and had been friends since 10th grade, but it was only in our senior year that any real romance started. (On my part, at least.) We were both doing Academic Decathlon and had almost identical class schedules, so we spent a LOT of time together. It was a busy year, filled with [mostly] good memories. I came across my planner from 12th grade and thought you might like seeing a few pages.


It looks like we had Academic Decathlon meetings every Wednesday and Thursday; my church youth group met every Tuesday; and I was very good at scheduling every assignment and keeping deadlines in mind. The “Y Weekend” was pretty cool – I got invited to visit BYU and see how great the campus was. I think my parents paid for airfare and the rest of the trip was covered by BYU. Part of the weekend was going to a football game against the Air Force Academy. It was so different from a high school football game!

Instead of doing AP English, I and a few other LDS kids (including Jarom) opted for a creative writing class. The AP English teacher seemed a bit too focused on the sexual innuendo in the summer reading, and we were already insanely busy, so the one-semester “college prep” class was a nice alternative. It turned out to be the easiest, most joke-of-a-class I took in all of high school. We watched a lot of movies and if I remember correctly, we even did some art projects. And there was a group skit we had to do, with a shy girl who had a very obvious crush on one of the other group members. I bring up the creative writing class because one of our assignments was to write and illustrate a children’s book. Mine was called Annushka and the Eggplant, and I still have it. The kids read it sometimes. The story doesn’t make a ton of sense; I really liked the color and shape of eggplants, so I wanted to work that in somehow. A little girl named Annushka wakes up in the middle of the forest instead of in her bed. She asks a fox for help, but he agrees only after she gives him her bracelet. The fox won’t take her across the river, so she’s aided by a bear, who asks nothing in return. Soon she’s getting close to her home village – and suddenly an angry mountain goat jumps out and bars her way! She weepingly says she has nothing left to give except a piece of bread and an eggplant in her little bag. The goat, it turns out, loooooooves eggplant, so he happily helps her find the village in exchange for the eggplant.


By March, I had dated someone else, had a huge dramatic episode and crisis with Jarom, and realized that I liked him. (Very condensed.) We never made our relationship “official” by actually saying we were boyfriend and girlfriend, though that teenage logic now seems pretty weak. Also, apologies to all the people we hung out with and were an awkward couple around . . . teenagers are the worst. At any rate, one of our first “this isn’t a date”s was that first weekend in March. (When Jarom came back from Korea, we went on an official first date, without the teenage-ness and with several more years of maturity.)

The Academic Decathlon state competition was that month, and it was amazing. I loved it. We had a decent chance of placing first in our division and going on to the national competition – but I’m glad we came in second! It was nice to have a break after that, and relax before the end of the school year. The worst thing about the competition was that we found out afterwards (having won many awards) that the normal scholarships weren’t being given for medalists. I was heartbroken; I thought there was no way I could go to college without that scholarship. (I’d already been admitted to BYU.) I had somehow gotten the numbers confused in my head and thought tuition at BYU was $15,000 a year, not $1,500 a semester. Haha. (Don’t worry, tuition has risen steadily over the last decade. It isn’t quite that cheap anymore – but still very inexpensive.)

For the second semester of the year, after the creative writing class ended, we had a Shakespeare class. It was much more intellectual than the creative writing class, but it was definitely not a honors class. It did mean a return to Mrs. Mugg’s classroom, where we started out in freshman English. I’ll forever remember her asking students not to use “the S-U phrase” (“shut up”).

What was your favorite year of high school? Did you have a teenage romance?