Grace Hudkins finds strong relationships and fulfillment in all she does


Freshman Grace Hudkins can’t help but feel simultaneously intimidated by and more than a little grateful for the upperclassmen who are in FHC’s upcoming spring musical.  

“Everybody’s so much more experienced,” Grace said. “Everybody’s already all prepared. Everybody knows if [Mr. Ivory] plays this, then I sing it, and I can go on from there because I can put it together in my head. I really liked that. I like being with more experienced people.”

As one of the four freshmen who made this year’s cast, Grace follows the examples set by the upperclassmen. She knows she can always turn to the juniors and seniors for help with the choreography among other things without feeling bad about it. However, that did not make the start of the musical season any less scary for Grace.

“It’s just a great time,” Grace said. “I like being one of the only freshmen because of meeting people [other than those in my grade], but I [also] wish I had more freshmen with me because, at the beginning, it was really nerve-wracking not knowing anybody.”

Growing up and attending East Kentwood, Grace participated in many middle school musicals. Grace has also performed as a part of Stage GR and Children’s Creations. Her past experiences have helped create countless new friendships and taught her one main thing: memorization skills.

Furthermore, Grace only transferred to FHC this year, which means that at the beginning of the year, she knew even fewer people than a regular freshman. The entire cast had been so welcoming and genuinely kind to Grace. Participating in the musical has helped Grace find a group of people she can connect with.

“They definitely reached out to me which was really sweet,” Grace said. “I’ve started to notice that they pick up on things [easily.] So, I watch them if I don’t know [what I am doing.] Then, they’ll help out and stuff. It’s really nice to have people who want everybody to do well and everybody to benefit.”

Despite the musical’s inevitable time-sucking qualities, Grace also plays volleyball. She has practice three to five times a week and often has tournaments on the weekends. Grace picked up the sport in sixth grade.

“One of my older friends who is one of my role models did it with me,” Grace said. “She was really good, so I was like, ‘Oh, well this seems fun.’ I really liked it and the friendships that were formed.”

Two of those friendships are with girls who attend Hudsonville. Without volleyball, Grace never would have met two of her closest friends. She still is on a Kentwood team, so she gets to see them multiple times a week. Grace said that one of the reasons she loves playing volleyball is the people. Grace loves to see the excitement and happiness on a teammate’s face when one of the hitters gets a great kill. It makes Grace happy to see her teammates happy.

Being able to depend on yourself and on other people is huge,”

— Grace Hudkins

No matter what Grace is doing, she loves meeting new people and bonding with them. This is the case in yet another activity she likes to participate in: track.

“It’s so much fun being on the buses and going to meets,” Grace said. “ Just everybody’s so positive and encouraging. Even if we lose, people are like ‘Okay, we got the next time. We’ll just keep working harder. We’ll keep pressing through.’ ”

Track is very much a part of her family. Grace’s brother does middle school track, and her sister is on varsity track. This spring, Grace plans to change it up and participate in just the throwing event.

“I’ve done track for as long as I can remember,” Grace said. “My dad is a track coach. His best friend is the head track coach at East Kentwood, and they’ve won endless state championships. So I was like, ‘Oh let me try that.’ ”

While kind people and family certainly are a bonus, the people around Grace don’t account for the entire allure of each activity.

“It’s great meeting new people, but it’s also a great time,” Grace said. “I really enjoy volleyball, track, and musical. Even if people weren’t as nice, I think that I would still do it because people change. So, [it’s not] just the people; it’s for yourself too.”

With so much going on, Grace has to balance her time. She justifies her success in this tightrope act to communication. Grace makes sure she talks to both her volleyball coach and musical director to work out any conflicts.

“Communication is a huge factor in being responsible enough to take the time to tell people that you’re not going to be there instead of [thinking] they’ll figure it out,” Grace said. “It’s just about being responsible enough to do that.”

Personal responsibility and dependability are important to Grace. This means filling out a sheet detailing any conflicts she may have with musical practice that week, going over the dance numbers at home, and picking up a volleyball on an off day.

“Being able to depend on yourself and on other people is huge,” Grace said. “I think I’m much more dependable when I have other people to help me, but I do get sidetracked at times, but so does everybody. Other people definitely help.”