The McGhee High School Experience


Graduation is creeping up on me, so I feel it’s appropriate to look back on my four years – the good, the bad, and even the ugly. Strap up for the rollercoaster I call high school.

Fresh Meat

(Photo Courtesy of Kyla Mcghee)

Freshman year. It’s supposed to be the scariest year because it’s all new. However, my freshman year was my best year; I made new friends, the sports teams were at their peak, and I wasn’t too stressed about school. 

I feel like going into freshman year with one of my best friends, Emma Nani, eased the stress. We did volleyball together at the start of freshman year which helped us get acclimated to the “high school lifestyle” quicker. 

Then, we started going to football games. Now those are our favorite memories because Emma didn’t know much about football, so my job was to analyze the games for her. Fortunately, she now knows the yellow thing referees throw on the field means a penalty and a touchdown is worth six points. It took her until senior year, but we’re there.

Overall my freshman year provided me with many life changing experiences. I built relationships with the upperclassmen and those bonds I will never forget. I looked up to them after they graduated and I still look up to them as they handle college currently. 

So technically speaking, I was never fresh meat.


(Photo Courtesy of Kyla Mcghee)


Speaking of sports, I became very involved with LRHS sports from day one. 

Unfortunately, COVID ended up ruining my junior year. We played in masks, and we didn’t have a full season due to having four volleyball teams. 

I played jv volleyball for two years. Those were good times because I became captain my sophomore year and we had a great season. I miss those girls because our chemistry was unbelievable. 

I then moved up to varsity my junior year during COVID. Not to brag or anything but the coaches appointed me captain of that team too. Ironically, I played with the same girls from the jv team my sophomore year. Now I didn’t know this at the time, but that year ended up being my last year of high school volleyball. 

Here Come the Waterworks

(Photo Courtesy of Kyla Mcghee)

Over the summer going into my senior year, I underwent a double jaw surgery. Yes, it was painful and challenging, but I also can finally chew on both sides of my mouth. 

Due to my surgery I was unable to finish out my volleyball career. However during my last year, I asked to be the manager for varsity. 

It was difficult at first because I wanted to play with my friends one last time. I kept the score, I helped out at practice, but I wasn’t out there on the court playing. There were times during the game where I got down on myself mentally because I wanted to be out there with my girls. We built such a bond over the last two years, playing with them was all I wanted. 

Eventually, I started having a more positive outlook on being the manager. I started helping out with the drills, I learned how to keep the score and libero track during games, and I kept cheering my girls on at each and every game. 

If it wasn’t for my mom talking with me about pushing through, I would still be in a mental hole wishing I could play volleyball one last time. That was until I forgot that in college I can play sports too and I’m playing basketball. I’m glad I stopped being a drama queen and went on with the season.


(Photo Courtesy of Kyla Mcghee)

After volleyball season, the next week started basketball season. That’s how it was every year all of my four years, and I will admit it got stressful. When I wanted a mental break from one sport, it was onto the next. 

My freshman year, I was nervous I wouldn’t make the team because I missed workouts for volleyball season. We had a new coach, and he’s never seen me play, so I didn’t want to have a disadvantage during tryouts. 

Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. My freshman year ended up being my favorite season. I didn’t expect to play a whole lot, but I ended up being the first person off of the bench. 

In fact, my favorite game was when we defeated Green Hope in overtime. I played the whole fourth quarter and overtime. If we’re being honest, I was beating myself up in the first half because I thought I played terribly. I’m thankful I turned that around and we won so I avoided a post game convo with my dad and cousins. If you’re an athlete, you understand what I mean with those talks. 

Fun fact: I peed my pants that game after we won from jumping around so much. I peed my pants at another game when we went to overtime, too. I think that was just the theme for my freshman year.  

Sophomore year there isn’t much to talk about because it was the same as freshman year. However, junior year hit me hard. 

We got a different coach after our previous one retired. I thought it would be a fun season, but it wasn’t. I gained weight over quarantine, so I wasn’t the same player. I had goals going in, but I knew I wasn’t going to reach them. 

On top of the weight gain, we only played 9 games compared to the 30+ games we played in the past. I hate COVID. 

I don’t like talking about that year too much because it wasn’t the best for me. That’s where jaw surgery comes in handy; if you want to lose weight, get jaw surgery. 

My senior year turned out way better. I enjoyed my time with all of the girls. I built relationships with the underclassmen while building stronger bonds with the seniors. I also enhanced my leadership skills throughout the season. 

I’m proud of the way we finished the season. We preserved from having a losing record to earning runner up in the conference. 

LRHS basketball provided me with so many relationships, learning experiences, and memories. I wish all of the upcoming players the best of luck as they continue balancing the life of a student athlete.


(Photo Courtesy of Kyla Mcghee)

Ok a little background story because people ask me all the time why I didn’t just play softball. 

I played in 8th grade, and I enjoyed it. However, I became intimidated by the competition level in high school. I wasn’t as experienced, but I knew I wanted to learn and be around the game. That’s how I became the manager. 

I started out just observing and hanging with the team. Of course, sophomore year was canceled due to COVID, so I never had a chance to be with the girls. By junior year, I had to run the show myself. It was a little easier because there weren’t as many games, but senior year was my time to shine. 

Not only did I take a challenge to keep the score, but I also challenged myself to build a stronger bond with the rest of the team. I had the opportunity to know the girls on a more personal level. 

I wanted to keep positive spirits because I know how difficult it can be playing a varsity sport so young. And that’s what I did. As soon as I walked through those gates, it was nothing but smiles. 

Many people don’t know this, but I didn’t plan on continuing as the manager after my freshman year. I decided I wanted to focus on my schoolwork and balance that out so I am not as stressed. 

Turns out I’m wrong. If I didn’t come back to the gym I don’t know how I would’ve managed doing nothing after school for the last couple of months. 

My knowledge grew so much with this team and I couldn’t be more happier for all of the girls. Being the manager made me realize you can contribute off the field as much as you can on the field. And for that, I thank the LRHS softball program.

Can’t Forget About the Stress

(Photo Courtesy fo Kyla Mcghee)

My parents made sure I wouldn’t stress myself out, so we always talked over my schedule. 

I feel my schedule wasn’t too bad, but what people don’t warn you about is the pressure you add on yourself. Most of my stress came from me being too hard on myself. 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m more than proud of myself for achieving all A’s in high school, making Summa Cum Laude, and becoming an officer in a variety of clubs. Unfortunately, with my sports schedule it seemed like I never got a break. 

Every activity I did in school or even outside of school was worth it. I will cherish those positions forever. On the other hand, I’m upset with myself for adding those burdens throughout my high school years. 

I will admit, there were nights where I wanted to give up. I would break down crying at night because I’m either up late doing homework or I’m struggling in class because I have other activities to handle. I mean what high schooler hasn’t had a mental breakdown? It’s just with me, I happen to have a few every year. 

As I reflect, I realized that all of that unnecessary stress came from my mental thoughts. I thought I wasn’t good enough. I thought I wouldn’t get into college if I skipped out on something school related. I pushed myself so hard that I’m starting to feel burnt out. 

That’s mainly the reason why I’m excited to graduate because I want a clean slate in college. I want to learn how to push myself in a healthy way where I can still enjoy school like I used to. 

Will I actually live up to my words? I don’t know, but I know I will try my hardest to have a healthy relationship with school for the next four years. 

Senior Year… Finally

(Photo Courtesy of Kyla Mcghee)

Senior year is supposed to be exciting, but it was only exciting for the first day. I got to see everyone, but I most certainly did not feel like doing any work. 

The start of senior year burdens you with college applications, schoolwork, clubs, and sports. Well, at least for me it did. 

People preach to you about finishing your college applications, but they don’t preach about scholarship essays. I really thought I was done with writing essays after I applied to colleges, but nope I forgot about the money part of college. 

To me, and many others, college shouldn’t be that expensive. But, that could be a whole article topic, so I’m not going to get started on that. 

With a little over a month left, I am starting to calm myself down. I am starting to check out as well, so I have to slap myself a couple of times to make sure I don’t fall behind in my classes. 

I might be getting lazy, but I am proud of myself for making it this far and pushing through the senioritis.

So Now What?

(Photo Courtesy of Kyla Mcghee)

I want to leave you all with some learning lessons: 

  • Junior year doesn’t have to be your hardest year. If you don’t want to take all of those AP courses, don’t. AP isn’t really all that anyway. 
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Leesville is a very competitive school and it’s good to have healthy competition to a certain extent. Just worry about yourself and not your peers. 
  • Take advantage of the moment. If it weren’t for me trying out for a team or running for an officer position, I don’t think I’d have the reputation I have at this school. Do what’s best for you. 
  • Prioritize your mental health. I know people say it all the time, but I mean it. No amount of stress is worth it over some assignment you’ll forget in a few months. Just enjoy high school, priorities people.
  • Build connections and relationships. Go outside your comfort zone to meet new people. You’ll learn plenty about yourself as well as others. Also, it’s beneficial to be social because once you get older networking means the world. 

I wish I knew these points coming into high school, but we all have to learn. I’m thankful for my time here at LRHS, and I hope to leave a lasting impact. Whether that’s the athletics, the classroom, or the clubs I involved myself in. 

Thank you to everyone who took part in my journey at LRHS. Onto the next… UNC!


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