Zoey Guikema focuses on the future


For students in an academically minded school, it can be a struggle to remember there are other parts of our growing up years. Meeting new people, learning how to develop relationships, and making small talk with anyone you encounter are all very important parts of becoming a well-rounded adult. A mixture of her own personality and her upbringing has molded junior Zoey Guikema into an exceptionally open-minded person who has excelled in all of these other aspects of growing up.

“I wouldn’t say I’m stuck in high school,” Zoey said. “I see it more as a stepping stone than most people would because right now I’m working towards college and working towards my career.”

Beginning in middle school, Zoey immersed herself in many different parts of school culture. From joining the band to participating in many different sports, Zoey was able to make friends with a wide range of people and broaden her horizons both in middle school and once she came to the high school.

“I was like ‘YOLO’ in middle school,” Zoey said. “Middle school is pretty easy; it’s not academically strenuous, so I was like sure let’s try it. My aunt was the coach my seventh-grade year for volleyball, so my first team I had someone I knew– so it wasn’t too intimidating.”

Having this mindset from the beginning was very beneficial in making her high school experience a very diverse one.

“There were different groups of people that did everything,” Zoey said. “Volleyball girls were all these girls that maybe I wouldn’t hang out with normally at school. And basketball [girls became] my close friends now. And bowling is girls and guys so I got to get close with some sophomore and senior guys too which was really cool.”

Although the plethora of sports that Zoey played as a child has diminished to a select few which she really enjoys, she still keeps the friends and lessons she learned from each one.

In some cases, the decision to stop particular spots came from simply reaching a certain point where the pressures of the sport would restrict her from keeping her open life.

“I believe freshman and JV [sports] are similar to middle school cause they’re not super intense, you just enjoy yourself but I would say certain sports that are varsity are a little too intense, a little too focused on winning,” Zoey said. “Which is kind of a reason I didn’t do basketball. It was going to be a lot– a lot of stress and pressure to play and do well.”

However, instead of simply letting the winter be left completely open, Zoey used this as an opportunity to meet and become friends with a whole new group of people, the bowlers.

“I missed the meeting [for bowling], and I was like ‘Oh shoot now I can’t do it; I guess I’ll just be bored all winter,'” Zoey said. “And over Thanksgiving, we were about to eat, and [my uncle, Athletic Director Clark Udell] mentioned that they needed more bowling people. And I was like, ‘hold up I actually want to do that.'”

Another passion of Zoey’s is math.

“I don’t know why but it’s just always come really naturally to me, and I feel super accomplished whenever I do something right,” Zoey said. “So I want to apply my math to something.”

That combined with her love for chemistry has brought her to the conclusion that she wants a career path in either biomedical or chemical engineering.

“Last year and freshman year when you had to do your career finding, I took tests to see what type of engineer I want to be,” Zoey said. “Biomedical is really cool because it’s creating prosthetics. So I want to be able to help people and help them function more in the life they’re in and be able to move around. And it’s like creating fake organs too, which is super cool and really innovative. Or [I’d like to do] chemical too because I love chemistry. Doing AP Chem this year has really made me realize that. A two-hour block seems like a lot but its so fun.”

No matter where Zoey’s life takes her she will always have the lessons she learned in high school. Not just the math lessons or the chemistry lessons, but the lessons about how to be a more welcoming, responsible, open-minded person.

“I keep saying I’ve gotten more outgoing as I’ve done this stuff but I definitely would say that again because you meet so many new people doing so many different things,” Zoey said.

Zoey hopes others can learn too.

“The more you are involved, the more you’re going to make [out of] your time in high school because you’re only here for four years, which is very short when you look at the rest of your life,” Zoey said.