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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Lily Bouma’s lifelong passions for ASL, choir, and writing have indefinitely impacted her future

Lily Bouma
Senior Lily Bouma will forever cherish her memories in room 139.

For as long as she can remember, senior Lily Bouma has always been besotted with sharing her voice. 

Whether singing, writing, or signing in American Sign Language, Lily has learned to express herself through these different mediums. The first of them was choir. Lily remembers whimsically parading around her house as a child, belting out her favorite songs by heart. She decided to channel her love for singing into choir class beginning in seventh grade. However, she wasn’t always involved in choir as much as she would’ve liked to be. 

“Originally, I did band, and I hated it,” Lily said. “So every single day, I would go over to Mrs. Kriekard’s room and just ask, ‘Can I join choir?’ And she would say, ‘No, you’re already in band.’ So when I got to seventh grade, I quit band immediately and joined choir.”

Lily had a similar experience with ASL when she first joined high school. She signed up for the beginner’s ASL class in her freshman year and giddily began learning the complicated signs of American Sign Language. When she was young, Lily attended dance classes regularly. She was able to use her practiced skills in dance to smoothly transition into signing every day in Mrs. Anderson’s room. With time and lots of painstaking practice, Lily has moved her way up into the ASL 4 class, the most rigorous ASL course offered at FHC. 

One of Lily’s favorite memories from ASL class occurred last year. The class was assigned a task called classifier stories. In this assignment, a student was required to essentially tell an entire story with their body language only, without the help of any signs. Upon receiving this task, Lily decided to reenact one of the iconic Mama Odie scenes from the 2009 Disney film The Princess and the Frog

“[The reenactment] was so much fun,” Lily said. I got to do the whole thing by myself because usually, [the homework] is somebody watching a video and writing down what the person is signing. But I had to do it all by myself. That was just so much fun because it was so much expression.”

If it hadn’t been for enrolling in ASL, Lily would never have met her best friend, Eva LaBeau. As they got to know each other, Eva told her about her other class elective, Writing for Publication, more commonly known as The Central Trend. Eva talked about how much fun she had in the class, which eventually convinced Lily to join it in her senior year. 

In her semester on the staff of The Central Trend, Lily has discovered the art of writing expressively. Her favorite stories to write are lifestyles and columns, two specific types of stories that help her show her love for makeup and convey her emotions. In her columns, Lily weaves articulate stories full of love and meaning, each word with an intention of its own to forever make an impact on the reader. She intertwines words to communicate the emotional aspect of the story, whether it be sad or happy. In Lily’s lifestyles, she expertly reviews makeup and fashion trends with an attuned eye, picking out each aspect of the product or trend and sharing her thoughts with the world. Through writing three stories every two weeks for a few months, Lily has learned how to write impactfully, a skill for which she will forever be grateful.

With choir, it’s just like a community where we all come together for the same purpose: to sing and have fun, but it’s also a good way to start off my day because it’s not too hard and it doesn’t take up too much work and mental capacity.

— Lily Bouma

“I never really had a way to write what I wanted to write and to [express] how I feel,” Lily said. “So, through columns, I was able to actually say what I wanted to say, but also use [the story] in a way that people won’t 100% understand what I’m referring to, but [it helped] me to get everything that I want out. So I feel like I’m a lot more of an expressive person verbally because of it.”

In a few short days, Lily’s time as a writer for The Central Trend will come to a bittersweet end. She knows that within the coming years, she won’t be writing as much as she’s gotten used to on staff. However, she understands that not many people get to experience having their writing put out into the world, so she is wistful that her journey as a writer is coming to a close.

However, Lily is planning to continue her ASL and choral music voyages at Central Michigan University, where she will be an incoming freshman next year. She will minor in both subjects and major in dentistry. Looking forward to college, Lily hopes to keep up her volunteer work in ASL as much as possible and expects to join choirs affiliated with CMU. 

“I’m doing this volunteer thing that I do with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services,” Lily said. “So I will probably continue doing that and just helping out whenever I can, socializing with the deaf community with my ASL. I will keep getting more and more practice. With choir, I don’t quite know yet. I’ll probably join choirs. I’m going to be in choir next year at CMU, but I’m not really set in stone with what I was planning to do with either of them.” 

For the past two years, Lily has been spending the first two hours of her school days in the music department, singing on the exclusive Central Singers in Mr. Ivory’s room. Her next hour has always been ASL, a perfect three hours to blissfully start off her days without any stress. When reminiscing about her high school memories, Lily found that ASL and choir have affected her in many ways, from encouraging her to get out of her comfort zone occasionally to teaching her how to better demonstrate her emotions. 

“With ASL, I’m definitely more expressive,” Lily said. “Any emotion I’m feeling is shown on my face, and by joining ASL, I knew that I was good at it. So I was able to feel like I could have a connection with the language. And [ASL] is just so beautiful and so much fun. With choir, it’s just like a community where we all come together for the same purpose: to sing and have fun, but it’s also a good way to start off my day because it’s not too hard and it doesn’t take up too much work and mental capacity. It’s sort of like a calming outlet. For the first two hours of my day, it’s like a little happy place in my heart.”

Without her passions, Lily’s life would be extremely different. She knows that she would have grown up emotionless and unfulfilled, for with signing, singing, and writing, she’s found experiences and met some of her favorite people. Everyone needs a community in their lives, and Lily has established many of her own through her education. For people currently struggling to find their own support systems, Lily suggests finding something, anything, that inspires true meaning in the soul because, for Lily, ASL, choir, and writing are some of the happy places she can always rely on. 

“If you don’t have something where you’re able to put yourself into it, you’re just going to sit there and not be able to fulfill your full capabilities,” Lily said. “Some people have sports, and some people have theater, and all these different things that you are able to put yourself into. You can feel a sense of community, where you are all working together to make yourself and each individual person a better place in the environment. Without having those things, you wouldn’t have those support systems around you. They can help build you up and [help you] become the person you want to become.”

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About the Contributor
Maylee Ohlman
Maylee Ohlman, Staff Writer
Maylee Ohlman is a sophomore going on to her first year on The Central Trend.  She spontaneously decided to join Writing for Publication this year and is now excited to keep writing for the rest of her time in high school. She dances on the FHCVDT in the winter. In her free time, she loves to read, swim at the beach, and try new bubble tea spots across Michigan. Maylee loves to feel like a tourist anywhere she goes and aspires to travel as much as she can in her lifetime. Besides reading and traveling, she's always loved movies and good food, and hopes to eventually combine her passions into a journalism career. Favorite book: I Hope This Doesn't Find You by Ann Liang Favorite TV show: The Last of Us Current favorite song: No One Knows by Stephen Sanchez and Laufey Go-to bubble tea order: A peach milk tea with lychee jelly and tapioca pearls

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