Sophomore Samantha Franklin finds unity and unwavering love in family

Family: a blessing, a moral compass, an outlet of unconditional love, your biggest fans, your inspiration.

Family: a backbone, an unrivaled support system. 

Family: everything.   

Sophomore Samantha Franklin credits her family for molding her into the person she is today. Her family consists of her, her fourteen-year-old sister, her eleven-year-old twin brothers, their two gargantuan dogs, and her parents.

Samantha’s father and her share a special bond through their adoration for science fiction novels; specifically, Samantha’s father provides her with suggestions on what works to read. 

“When I was in second grade, I loved Jack and Annie in [Magic] Treehouse,” Samantha said. “I would read that series a lot, and [my father] was just so proud of me whenever I did it. So, that pushed me to read more, but then I kind of just did it because it was fun. He is a philosophy major—and has read a ton of books—so he has already read the books [he suggests to me].” 

The lessons Samantha gathers from her father’s recommendations are uncountable. She has discovered an appreciation for the escape from familiarity and the opportunity to travel to new, dystopian, and hard places in life that science fiction novels grant. However, what she appreciates most about science fiction is how the power of reading it has brought her closer to her dad. 

I want to keep that trust because we really believe in each other as a family.

— Samantha Franklin

“Me and my father share a lot in common with each other, and we’re really close,” Samantha said. “I learned that a few years ago. Me and my father have really similar personalities; we’re very realistic and logical. I look up to my father a lot, so I kind of take after him. I wouldn’t say our relationship is built off of books, but he definitely inspires me.” 

Although Samantha has an obvious passion for reading, she categorizes math as her strong suit. Her younger sister struggles in math, and Samantha has generously taken on the role of becoming her tutor. Samantha’s responsibility involving her little sister is admirable; likewise, her responsibility involving both of her little brothers is too.

“I have two autistic twin brothers,” Samantha said. “That’s really interesting because they make it that we have to be around the house a lot. Someone always has to be watching the boys because they’ll try to escape sometimes to go to [places like] the neighbor’s pool. We’re always at home taking care of them.” 

Intense responsibility has almost always been required from Samantha involving her brothers; therefore, she is a pro at monitoring their activities and ensuring that they remain safe. What Samantha carries each day is heavy, but she and her family lean on and support each other during troublesome situations. 

“We have to check up on them like every five minutes,” Samantha said. “It’s really stressful. When the boys get loose, which they will on occasion—especially in the summer—we’ve learned to keep cool heads. It’s all about teamwork in those kinds of situations; we depend upon each other.”

Samantha’s and her family’s lives are influenced by her brothers’ condition, but her family’s circumstance provides them with an opportunity to grow and learn alongside each other. Quick, instant thinking and problem-solving prove to be necessary, and Samantha and her family have proved to themselves that success lies in them participating in searching for solutions together. Her family’s chemistry and love have blossomed because of their collaboration as a unified team. 

Samantha’s parents’ trust in her has also developed through her family’s experiences over the years. From assisting her sister with her challenges with schoolwork to supervising her brothers, Samantha has proven that she deserves immense trust as a sibling and a child. Samantha carries an inspiring load of responsibility daily, and she truly exhibits the qualities of an utterly amazing older sibling and oldest child. 

“I can make my own decisions responsibly,” Samantha said. “I don’t want to disappoint [my parents], so I don’t do the things that I’m not supposed to do. I want to keep that trust because we really believe in each other as a family.”