Addison Whitten’s dedication carries her through life’s challenges

Junior Addison Whitten has a heavy class load: a common struggle for students at FHC. 

Her schedule is filled with challenging courses: Spanish 3, AP Lang, and AP Chemistry. These are just a few of the classes that occupy Addison’s day-to-day life in and out of school. These are challenging, strenuous classes that most students would stray from. For Addison, though, the direct correlation between her classes and her future pushes her to work her hardest. 

Since sophomore year, Addison has known that she wants her occupation to be in pharmaceuticals. AP Chemistry—widely viewed as one of the most rigorous AP classes offered at FHC—is just the beginning of her career.

“I want to be a pharmacist,” Addison said. “I knew that I wanted to do something in the medical field, but I didn’t want the hands-on patient care. Plus, there’s a really strong need for pharmacists right now. There’s a class you can take at KCTC to be a pharmaceutical technician, but you can only take it your senior year. They told me that I should take [AP Chemistry] here to prepare me for it.”

After Addison graduates from high school and the KCTC program, she will be a certified pharmaceutical technician. She plans on working at a pharmacy during college to gain experience and knowledge while she formally learns her profession. 

Not many people are willing to dive into a career the way Addison has. Determination is required for success in the path Addison has chosen, but that doesn’t cause her to shy away. Part of the drive that fuels Addison’s ambitious endeavors stems from the chance at having the future she has always imagined.

[My sister and I] have kind of developed thicker skin because we fight all the time. I’ve learned to let tiny stuff go and deal with it. She taught me to not give up easily but to instead take the time to study and everything.”

— Addison Whitten

“My biggest motivation is to get to college and to have a good life when I’m older,” Addison said. “Also, just learning to deal with [everything] because that’s how it’s going to be in college, especially when I’m not going to have my parents to lean on. I’m going to have to depend on myself, so I need to learn how to do my own laundry, cook my own food, and deal with car repairs. That’s what motivates me.”

One of Addison’s inspirations is senior Kaylyn Whitten, her older sister. Despite the inevitable fights that come with sisterhood, Kaylyn has always been a positive, prominent figure in Addison’s life. Invaluable lessons have been passed to Addison by her sister, and she incorporates them into her daily situations.

“[My sister and I] have kind of developed thicker skin because we fight all the time,” Addison said. “I’ve learned to let tiny stuff go and deal with it. She taught me to not give up easily but to instead take the time to study and everything.”

Kaylyn is also one of Addison’s motivations to be successful in school. Addison looks up to her sister for guidance, sometimes just by watching what she does. 

“[My sister] is a role model for me,” Addison said. “I look up to her because she’s really smart and she pushes herself; she’s going to be [in school for a long time], and she’s always taken hard classes. She’s taught me how to work hard.”

Addison does just as her sister showed her: working hard to balance everything she does. Taking hard classes, playing soccer, and working at her job fill the hours in her weeks almost completely to the brim—not to mention a sliver of a social life.

“As a teenager in Forest Hills, I would say [my life] is pretty typical,” Addison said. “I mean, I don’t know if in this type of community—due to people’s wealth—there might not be a need for [other students] to have a job. Besides that, with a hard class load and dealing with a social life, I think is the same for everyone else because FHC pushes you to work harder, and the classes are harder.”

Addison’s job is another lesson-in-progress. Since this summer, she has been working at the Vitale’s restaurant in Ada, and she works there at least two days per week during the school year. 

This commitment, plus the time she devotes to soccer, makes her daily life a struggle. The experiences Addison has had to go through or even sacrifice because of her job propels her to be successful and make all of her effort worth the struggle. 

“[My job] has made me more responsible,” Addison said, “because now I can’t waste my time with things. With my class load this year—especially with AP Chemistry and AP Lang—I have to use my time wisely. I also play soccer [two days per week]. On top of that, I try to maintain a social life. Now I have to pay for all of my gas, car insurance, and car repairs. But I could either not have a car or a job and ride the bus, or I could have the freedom of my car but have to work for it.”

Addison knows that at some point in the future, all of her efforts will pay off. The work she puts in will be equal with the ideal end result: success, happiness, and impenitence. 

“[I want to] make the most of life,” Addison said, “I think this year I really just need to try to be more involved, to be a bigger part of the community. [I want to] look back on [high school] and be able to say ‘wow, I really did have a good time.’”