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From Pain to Perseverance- Local Teen’s Inspiring Graduation Journey  

From Pain to Perseverance-

 Local Teen’s Inspiring Graduation Journey  


Lisa Patrick

Ashland Beacon



Gracie Bayless, having recently graduated from Fairview High School, already has her life plans in place. Getting there wasn’t easy for her though as she had to deal with her own mental health issues before she could push her way through to a future at Marshall University. Bayless will be studying nursing in the near future with an end goal of becoming a travel nurse.

        Bayless recalled her earliest memory of school is when she was in kindergarten. Her teacher Mrs. Ward would always read books to the class and Bayless always looked forward to this time. Recently Bayless was able to compare that Kindergarten memory to a Senior year memory. Mrs. Ward, now the assistant principal at the high school, sat down with the class recently and read a book to them. Bayless stated that “it brought back so many memories from Kindergarten.”

        During high school, Bayless participated in both Choir and Odyssey of the Mind, which is a creative problem-solving program where teams must present solutions to long-term problems by way of writing, theater, and other creative outlets.

Odyssey of the Mind is the activity that Bayless is most proud of because her and her team made it all the way to the world competition in Iowa.

However, her fondest memory from time at Fairview high school came from choir class. Bayless had taken a break to go to the bathroom and she recalled that she, “looked down and saw a lizard!” Bayless continued to add… “I screamed so loud” and ran out of there panicking.” Of course, all her classmates erupted in a roar of laughter. Although that moment was absolutely terrifying it is something that Bayless says she will always remember.

        If Bayless had to describe her high school experience in three words, she stated that those words would be “crazy, fun, and awesome.” Bayless described her time Fairview High School as being special to her because the teachers made her feel so welcome when she moved back to Fairview during her Freshman year of high school.

        It wasn’t all fun though Bayless shared. “The hardest thing about high school for me was dealing with my mental health.” She explained that her mental health improved when she made new friends but that she still had days where she felt that it was almost impossible to get out of bed in the morning. She explained that this quickly changed once she met her friends and started talking to teachers that she trusted. At first this was difficult for Bayless but as time went on, she continued to improve.  

        From Freshman year up to Junior year, Bayless found it hard to make friends. Stating that she felt that her time spent at Fairview High School “has helped to shape me into the well-rounded person I am today.” because she finally started getting outside of her comfort zone and talking to more people. After that Bayless shared that she started making more friends. “My Senior year was full of friends and even a few very close friends that I referred to as family.” Admitted Bayless.  

        Bayless said that her biggest motivator for getting through high school was her family. “Without them, I don’t know where I’d be, and I am just so grateful to them and all they have done. For supporting me and pushing me to do my best.”  Bayless also wanted to make sure to give credit to her best friend, Oszkar, for never letting her down and always being there for her. “He was always there even when I didn’t ask him to be. He was always there to cheer me up and make sure that I was ok.”

        When asked what words of encouragement she would give to next year’s graduating class, Bayless said that she would tell them to, “make the most of what you can your Senior year. Make sure it’s filled with lots of memories because it’s not only the best year yet but it’s also your last year before you start your adult life.”

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