Claire Wilson

Claire Wilson, a senior at Morro Bay High School, is smart, driven, and kind. She’s lived a life full of challenges handled with poise, and now, as she faces another difficult change, she’s been relying on the comfort of literature; as she has from a young age.

As I’ve interviewed Claire and the people who know her, I have found that one of the biggest constants in her life is how much novels and writing have consistently been something for her to rely on and fall back to. She excels in English class, her beloved teacher and confidant Ms. Kostecka even going as far to say, “Claire is probably the best student I’ve ever had… not just with deliverables and what her grade ended up being but just her mindset and her heart as a student.” High praise, but completely understandable when you take into consideration just how long Claire has been involved in the world of literature.

Claire spent her childhood reading books both by herself and with her parents. She speaks on how it is an important memory for her. She thinks back to these memories now, as she begins her last year of high school and prepares to leave for college in hopes of being a journalist or going into either editing or publishing.

I think many of us face this realization sooner or later… We can’t be young forever. It’s something I’ve spent way too much time worrying about, as many others have. It’s daunting and scary, the fact that one day we won’t have our parents waiting at home for us after a long day, we won’t be in our hometown filled with familiar faces. Someday, everyone ends up moving away, or moving out- or just growing up.

When asked what has been on her mind lately, Claire replied, “Gaining my own independence… and one thing I’ve been thinking about is moving away and doing what I want to do even though I'm sad to say goodbye to my family.” She struggles with wanting to grow up and experience life the way she wants it, but still wanting to be a kid.

However, this isn’t the first world shattering change she’s been through. When she was 15 years old, her family left the Mormon church, leaving her with feelings of both relief and fear. She didn’t feel as if the Mormon religion was entirely good or a good experience, but, “It was my world, and I was leaving it all behind.”

When asked about whether or not Claire is afraid of change, Ms. Kostecka says, “Claire’s already gone through a lot of really big life changes and handled them with grace and with poise, and I don’t think she realizes it. So, yes, while she might have fear, it hasn’t stopped her.”

Throughout that experience, Claire had literature. “I always have noticed that Claire finds a lot of comfort and a lot of, um, understanding with book friends and with literature … it’s cool that she had that as a constant during all of that change,” Ms. Kostecka tells me as we talk of Claire’s past.

Moving forward with life, no matter how small or how big the steps you take are, is terrifying and exciting and something that most people struggle with. Though, the people close to Claire are confident in her abilities to take this next step successfully. “Claire is a lot braver than she thinks she is,” Ms. Kostecka praises. She describes Claire as driven, and even Claire herself knows that she is.

When asked what defining trait Claire has, Claire said, “I’m driven.” That must be true, because how can one individual go through such big challenges and changes, and still be as kind, smart, and incredible as people describe her to be? “She’s the kind of person that I can tell anything to without judgment. I feel really safe and secure when I’m around her. She’s, like, very quiet at first glance, but she’s very passionate about the things she enjoys, like reading and coffee. She’s really independent and doesn’t rely on others, and is very honest. She couldn’t lie if she tried to,” Angus McNellie, Claire’s close friend, says.

College is a big deal, and pursuing your dreams is even bigger. Claire is on the precipice of both, and through it all, she will find that she has a strong force to lean back on. A force made of her memories, her experiences, the people close to her, and her passionate, driven, and independent personality.

“I just love her, I love Claire, I think she’s excellent,” Ms. Kostecka tells me as we prepare to end our interview. “I would go so far as to say that Claire could decide tomorrow that she wants to major in, like, mechanical engineering and somehow find a way to succeed because she’s very brilliant and very driven, but yes, literature is such a huge part of who she is. She is a beautiful writer, a deep thinker, she is very good at analyzing text, so I don’t foresee any issue with her getting into any literature program she wants. Yeah… I love that girl.”

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