For senior, its the end of a winding road
Some of the students who will graduate from Rosemount High School this weekend have lived in the same house their entire lives. The last couple of years, Alexa Hanson would have been happy to stay in the same place for a couple of months.
Hanson, who is scheduled to graduate June 1 as part of the RHS class of 2013, grew up traveling. She was born in Duluth, then moved to Shakopee as a kindergartener. Her parents got divorced when she was in first grade, and she attended three elementary schools, finally moving to Florida in fifth grade.
Life was more stable in middle school and in her first two years of high school, but then Hanson's grandfather died and she and her mother moved back to Minnesota to be closer to her grandmother.
That's when things got really complicated. Thanks to job issues and conflicts between Hanson and her mother -- "We're too much alike to where we clash," she said, "either best friends or screaming at each other" -- Hanson has attended six high schools during her junior and senior years. She started her junior year in Burnsville, then moved to Arkansas, where her father lives. She has also attended school in Hastings and Eagan.
Hanson came to Rosemount at the end of winter break, after the clashes with her mother hit a peak and, depending on your perspective, she either left home or was kicked out. She moved in with her aunt and uncle, then with a friend. She is back living with her mother now, and despite their differences she describes her as her rock.
Just listening to the full list of Hanson's travels can be exhausting, and all that moving and changing schools created challenges both personally and academically. She was constantly leaving one group of friends behind and trying to find another. And she was jumping from one lesson plan to another.
"I kind of had to be like a nerd and always ask just to make sure I was doing (assignments) right," Hanson said.
At least once, Hanson tried to turn in a homework assignment that was given to her at a previous school.
Hanson has adapted, though. She learned quickly how to make friends, and she decided early on she would never be the quiet kid in the corner who didn't talk to anyone.
While her grades have suffered from all of the changes, Hanson has put in a lot of work in the classroom to get up to speed. She never got a study hall, and she's in class until 4:45 p.m. most days getting extra help to catch up. That extra school time made it impossible to get involved in any activities or get an after-school job.
"It was like neverending school," she said.
She didn't want to quit, though, and now she's glad she has stuck it out. Hanson has found a home at RHS. She said it has been easy to make friends here. Students at other schools she attended were nice to her, but nobody was really friendly. At RHS she has felt more accepted.
Her hard work has paid off, too. Hanson will graduate with the rest of her class. And while all her moving has delayed some other typical senior-year activities -- she was late taking the ACT and she still doesn't know if she has been accepted to college yet -- Hanson is making plans for the future. She hopes to attend Bemidji State in the fall. She would like to work in law enforcement, possibly as a crime scene investigator.
Maybe most of all, though, she's looking forward to going to the same school for four years.