Meet Raelen VanDuzer!
“Mom, I’m so glad I have Ancient History with Mr. C today. It makes me laugh, and I don’t really feel like laughing today.” A tearful twelve-year-old Raelen rode home in the car with a supportive mom, trying to suck it up after a rough day in what folks call The Real World. For the first time, she realized how truly amazing the community at TPS was–and still is. She’s had many more such epiphanies since that day, and she wouldn’t trade the friends she’s made at TPS for anything. Since starting in 8th grade, Raelen has taken a grand total of 26 TPS classes, met far more than 26 amazing friends, and been mentored by just shy of 26 wise, hilarious, deep, insightful teachers. Mrs. Leake, both Crosbys, Mr. Spotts, Ms. Wood, Mrs. Troxell, and Mrs. Selby stand out in her memory, Mrs. Leake and Mr. Spotts having inspired in part her love of languages that will take her to Union University for Applied Linguistics this fall. She’s also participated in TCP/clay all five years of TPS, having held the offices of Teacher Spotlight columnist, Class Reports columnist, Bible Spotlight columnist, Arts + Culture editor, and now Senior Editor (shout out to Haley and Abby for teaching her how to tackle this beast with excellence). Clay was one of the best avenues for TPS involvement and academic excellence, and she highly encourages TPSers to get involved.
After this school year, Raelen will head out to TPS camp to graduate with some of her favorite people on planet earth (no exaggeration), go home to Texas for a week, head to Summit in Tennessee for two weeks, intern in Colorado Springs for five weeks, and then start college. If you find yourself somewhere along her travel route, she’d love to meet you.
Raelen would like to leave you with a brief anecdote: one night at Mr. and Mrs. Crosby’s house at about 1:45 AM, two girls named Julia Ackerson and Raelen VanDuzer were scurrying around in the hallway. They may or may not have had a bottle of Bath & Body Works body spray in one hand, and they may or may not have sprayed slightly more of it than was necessary in the boy’s hall bathroom. They may also have filled the shower with stuffed animals. The next morning, rumors were flying about Mr. Spotts, who was also staying in the house, having indisposed said bathroom, rumors she suspects were initiated by Jackson Waters. Moral of the story: Raelen would like to apologize to Mr. Spotts for any damage to his reputation she may have incurred.
Camp Crosby 2016 – back to front, left to right – Josiah Monfreda, Justin Phillips (probably?), Jack Waters, Ethan DeGuzman, William DeKryger, Max Isom, Raelen VanDuzer, Julia Ackerson, Grace Thompson, also featuring the head of Pythagoras the Duck in honor of Mrs. Crosby.
Favorite Bible verse:
Among several favorites (Psalm 61, 1 Peter 2:9, and others), Job 19:25-27 has stood out to me as a theme verse of the last few years of my life.
“For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!”
As I’ve watched my mom walk through cancer, Lyme disease, and other chronic illness over the last 7 years and been through a few crazy situations myself, I draw strength from the simple facts that I know Jesus lives, that He redeems me, and that He is actively working to stand on the earth at the end of days and rule a perfect kingdom forever.
Advice to the younglings of TPS:
Make good friends everywhere–in TPS (shoutout to clay and my favorite Camp Crosby group), at church, maybe of random people in the airport (I actually met the author of Flat Stanley, so that was pretty cool). But make best friends of your family. It’s a lesson I’m still learning, but it’s so worth it.
Also, ask Mrs. Selby about the p-p-p-PLATYPUS. Then call her Super Selby and send her a clementine orange cape.