Senior Spotlight Samantha Barrett

Marian Catholic

Town: Orland Park

Sports: Softball, Track & Field, Basketball

College: TBA

“Being quarantined and having online classes due to COVID-19 isn’t the ideal way that any of us hoped to finish our last year of high school.

“I would be lying if I said that I’m not bummed out that this is how a chapter of my life will end. Four years of hard work and dedication both academically and athletically, it hurts to see my dreams be taken away in a blink of an eye.

“Whether the dream was senior prom, graduation or sports-related, nobody in our senior class could say this didn’t affect them deeply. It is a great reminder that nothing is guaranteed in life. We should never take any day for granted. I wake up every day and remind myself that I can’t worry about the things that are out of my control. Instead, I focus on the things I can control.

“My daily life has changed drastically due to COVID-19. I was a four-sport student-athlete at Marian and would spend most of my time at school, more than my own house. I quickly realized how much my life revolved around school and sports.

“I no longer think I’m stuck at home. Now, I think of this as an opportunity to try new things and get closer with family and friends before I leave for college. I may not be able to visit or hang out with my family and friends, but we all still stay connected with each other.

“Every night, I set up a Zoom meeting with my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles. We talk about everything and anything. We all try to stay positive and remind each other that we aren’t alone. We are in this together. We are miles apart, keeping our distance, but we continue to grow closer each day.

“The day the Illinois High School Association formally canceled my track and softball season, I got a text from one of my track coaches saying that the season was officially over. This moment felt inevitable, especially after the rest of the school year was canceled. I knew the chances for my senior season were not likely, but after hearing the news, my hope quickly disappeared. I felt numb as tears filled my eyes. It hurts in any sport when your season ends, but it hurts a little different when it is over before it even begins. I would rather lose fighting than not be able to fight at all.

“I wish I could have one more meet or game in a Marian uniform, one last chance to make it to state again, one official last day where I can say a proper goodbye and thank-you to all my teachers, coaches, friends and teammates. I may not have reached all my goals, but I’m at least lucky I got to experience state track and a year of softball before my opportunity was taken away.

“I don’t want to ever live life with any ‘what ifs’ or regrets. Although my high school career is over, I continue to train at home as I will be continuing my academic and athletic career at the collegiate level in cross-country, basketball and track.

“I’m grateful for my four years at Marian Catholic, where I’ve learned and grown so much. I had an amazing four years with cross-country and basketball, three with track and a great season last year with softball. Each team I’ve been a part of has become a second family to me. I’m so grateful for everyone who has been a part of my journey.

“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Through these tough times, God is with us. I may not get the graduation or the celebrations afterward, but I did get a high school experience full of happy memories and lifelong relationships that I will remember forever.

“This is just the beginning of another chapter in my life.”