Selah High School’s Mary-Frances Ballew.

Mary-Frances Ballew

Selah High School

12th grade ("super senior")

Unleashed experience: 2018-19 group, then returning this past May.

Summer binge: The beautiful South Korean drama "Crash Landing on You" on Netflix. I watched all 16 glorious episodes in three days for my first time, then in one week for my second time.

About me: To create some order of my 18 years of life, in effort to best describe who I am, I’ve categorized them into stages. Phases, if you may.

I have little recollection of my interests as a young child, so let’s call that time the teething, tantrum, toddler phase. Flash several years forward: Third grade was about the time at which I was introduced to the mighty forces of books, Catholic guilt, and had my heart set on becoming a nun. That’s right, a third-grader who wished to become a nun. As I slowly awoke from that dream, my room filled with whale Webkinz stuffed animals as I became determined to be a marine biologist “when I grow up.” After being shocked by the cold of the Pacific Northwest waters while on a school marine biology field trip, my whale stuffed animals were put into boxes and my interests were sparked elsewhere: To clumsily darting through the trees of White Pass, swinging a racket through a fuzzy tennis ball, wobbling on the Northwest waves while cold-water surfing (in a wetsuit, of course, to avoid the great shock of that 2014 field trip again), and roaming a modest section of the Pacific Crest Trail, nestled in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, of which I am the trail steward.

After spending the past year as a Rotary exchange student in Stockholm, Sweden, many years separating my 18-year-old self from the wannabe marine biologist, cowgirl, painter, film photographer, and goat farmer, this right now is the first time in my life that I do not feel as if I am in a phase. Eighteen and just beginning.