Class of 2023 What I’ve Learned: Find good friendsJun 06, 2023 12:54PM ● By Jet Burnham
What did the graduates of the Class of 2023 learn from their high school experience? West Jordan High School graduate Cadence Hattaway, an agender band kid and future computer science major, learned: “Just be yourself and find that group of people that accept you.”
For Cadence, that group of people has been the kids in West Jordan High’s band program.
In middle school, Cadence experienced loneliness and bullying for being different, but high school was a great experience for them because of the tight knit group of band kids that accepted them in.
“I know that’s definitely been something that’s helped me, as I found a group of people in the band that accepted me right off the bat, and I haven’t had any issues all of my high school career,” they said.
Cadence knows how important having a supportive group of friends is, so when they were given the opportunity to be the president of the GSA club, which hadn’t been active in their sophomore and junior year, they worked hard to push for regular meetings and to improve advertising for club activities such as art projects and game days.
“I just wanted to make that available to other people because I know it’s definitely something that I was really looking forward to when coming to high school and it didn’t end up happening,” Cadence said. “I know how it feels and I have tried to help people make friends. I don’t want people to go through what I went through in middle school— it’s definitely something that really ate at my mental health. When I found a good group of friends, it just lifted me up, and I want to do that for other people.”
Cadence plays alto sax and flute in the band and marching band and is the band historian. They said that their group of friends, most of which are straight, helped them learn to ignore and brush off hurtful insults from other students.
“I have made a group of friends that see me as that person and know me as that person,” Cadence said. “We can be weird and we can be silly together and just laugh about it and not have to worry when people make fun of us. It’s no big deal, this is who I am, and I’m not going to let someone else tell me otherwise just to satisfy their need to make fun of somebody. I don’t think I would have been able to learn that without my friends. They have definitely had a huge impact on who I am today, for sure.” λ