CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Of all the memories Stephanie Randar takes with her from Westlake High School, and the three-sport athlete has many, one of her favorites involves an annual tradition that kicks off Homecoming weekend.
"We have this thing called Rose Arch," Randar says. "12 girls and 12 boys, and for Homecoming we do skits in front of the whole school, and we're involved with the Homecoming parade, so that was fun."
It was also just one of her highlights from last Fall. Randar and her teammates made it to the district finals in soccer. She then laced 'em up for Karen Swanson Hahn's surging hoop program, and made another playoff run.
"Our soccer playoff run, that was really unexpected for us, and beating Amherst and Magnificat," Randar told me during a Facetime interview. "And basketball, of course ... winning the conference title, and districts, and all the bonding on both of those teams."
And while she didn't get to experience that in softball, well, Stephanie was busy in the Spring anyway, putting a lid on her 4.6 grade point average, and finalizing plans to attend Clemson University's honors biology program. Med school will follow.
We've been saluting seniors like Stephanie not because the pandemic marked a premature ending, but an accelerated beginning. Their futures arrived a bit early for all of 'em, as did an important lesson, or in her case, a reminder: challenges will come, changes will follow, but we adapt and advance.
A lesson she learned many times as a Westlake Demon.
"Sports has pretty much been my entire life," Randar says. "The majority of my friends, I've met through sports. It's taught me teamwork, and not to give up when things get hard.
“When you lose, you have to bounce back.”