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Teacher Retirements
June 3, 2024

Sydnie Esser

Sydney Esser (second from left)

Zion Reflection

Emma Dart (right) with Sam Mabry and Ethan Tran.

[dropcap size=big]I[/dropcap] went into this trip knowing it would be something amazing, but I didn’t truly believe it until I was in the moment itself. People ask me how my trip was, but it’s logistically impossible to sum it up in just a few sentences.

Zion was something special. Something that not enough people in this world get to experience. It’s indescribable, the significance this trip left with me. As I graduate high school next week and move onto bigger and better things, I will forever remember and hold and hold this experience close to my heart. I learned that going into situations having a positive mindset is essential in fulfilling a humble and pleasurable experience.

I learned a lot about myself. I learned that even when I’m at my lowest point, I can manage to pick myself back up and continue to climb.

Tuesday morning, waking up to the sound of music and the start of a beautiful journey. I was unsure at this point if I was capable of completing this trip. I was nervous of what lay ahead and also excited for the challenge. My emotions were jostled and tangled. It still didn’t seem real that what I’ve been preparing for all year was finally here. Driving to the trailhead, I gazed out the window in awe of God’s beautiful creations and knew that this was just the beginning. We arrived and it was time to embark on our amazing journey. I felt the beauty instantly poor into my soul. It was only the first day and there was so much to see. That night, we camped on the East Rim.

photo by Regan Dobroth

I dreamt of Zion but in reality, it far exceeded my expectations. We then hiked up to cable mountain. This was the first image of Zion that took my breath away. Seeing the top of Angels Landing and all the Peaks around it made me feel liberated and alive.  

There were two significant moments that were most eminent in defining my strength. Echo Canyon was a moment of triumph. I began feeling so cold on the inside and out. My body was weak and as I struggled with internal and external obstacles, I realized I was only conquering those obstacles to then come upon a new one. I was begging to get down on myself and my mind was saying no, due to the cold and uncomfortable situation.  My worst enemy is defeat and I couldn’t let it take over.

As I realized this, I continued to push through the cold pools of water until I made it to the end of the tunnel. I sat on a rock and felt the sun warm on my skin. I felt liberated and free, but I also knew I had to go back through to get out. As I went back, I felt unstoppable as pride ran through my veins. I conquered something amazing and this is when I realized my full potential. 



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