From homeschool to West Ottawa: Hannah Beath’s first year at WO

Hailey Warsaw

For many West Ottawa students, their earliest memories of school are in the halls of a WO elementary school. “I have been at West Ottawa all my life, from kindergarten to junior year,” Jr. Julia Miller said. “I’ve always gone to and loved West Ottawa.” Although this may be the typical case, other West Ottawans hold different school memories and experiences. Jr. Hannah Beath is one of these students.

   “I’ve been homeschooled all my life, kindergarten through tenth grade,” Beath said. During her experience with homeschooling, Beath has spent the majority of her education taught by her mother and doing the occasional online class. This year, though, Beath has decided to take part in public school full-time.

   “I [decided to go to public school] because I wanted to meet new people,” Beath said. “I kinda wanted to get out of the house and see what public school was like before college. I also wanted to be in theater and choir,” Beath said. Between pursuing her interests in theater and choir to running into some surprises, Beath would soon find that her choice to do public school full-time would prove to be a positive addition to her life.

  “Going into theater, I didn’t know anyone,” Beath said. But, pretty soon Beath would find herself trying out for West Ottawa’s production of Crazy for You. “I was called back and was cast as a Follies Girl. After many rehearsals I got to know everyone better,” Beath said. Not only was theater a fun, expressive experience for Beath, it was also a key factor in finding her niche when it came to school and friends. “Everyone was so inviting and they really helped me figure school out,” Beath said. “You really gain a family when you are involved in theatre, I even met my best friend Madison Wollenzier there.” If it weren’t for public school, Beath would’ve never gotten to experience the joys of theater and the community she has become part of. “I loved performing in the show and I can’t wait for next year’s performances,” Beath said.

    Choir has also come to be a key part in making Beath’s first year in public school such a success. As the school year came underway, Beath decided to try out for the select women’s ensemble and, to her excitement, made it into the choir. “I have loved choir so much,” Beath said. Taking part in such a prestigious choir has opened up many opportunities for Beath to learn. “Mrs. Pierson has taught me so much about how to sing,” Beath said. “My student teacher for choir, Mr. Goodyke, [is also] such an inspiration.” Between all she’s learned from her choir teachers, and finding her passion for singing, Beath has found her time in choir has made  her public school experience all-the-more positive. “Overall, I am so impressed with the programs West Ottawa has to offer,” Beath said.

  While choir and theater are two parts of West Ottawa that Beath has come to love, another truly stands out: the people. “The most surprising thing is how nice everyone is,” Beath said.  “I wasn’t expecting it. It has just been a great experience.”

  Entering WO for the first time, Beath was blown away by how accepting students are. “It has been a great experience coming in and seeing how inclusive and welcoming everyone is here,” Beath said. The kindness of WO students has gone a long way in making Beath feel welcomed and a part of our West Ottawa community. “I haven’t loved school this much in years,” Beath said.

   “It definitely was a different experience not just being taught by my mom,” Beath said. But, Between choir, theatre, and WO students, Beath’s public school experience has been something she cherishes. “Thank you West Ottawa,” Beath said. “Thank you so much to everyone for being so nice to me and welcoming me to public school.”