SPANISH FORK Spanish Fork High student Serenity Franks wants her grandmother to have enough money to meet her needs.
It's her New Year's resolution to make sure of it.
Franks, 18, recently moved to Utah from Hesparia, Calif. where she lived with her grandmother. Franks has been receiving Social Security checks since she was 9 when her mother died. (Her father died when she was a toddler.) She was giving some of the money to her grandmother to help her out, but when she moved to live with friends in Salem the checks stopped coming.
Now she has an after school job at a local fast food restaurant.
"So every paycheck I get I try to take some out so I can send it to her," she wrote in an essay for English class.
The Deseret Morning News challenged the students through English teacher Mary Anne Hillier to write on the topic of New Year's resolutions. Forty-eight responded:
"My goal this year is to make enough money so when she needs it I can send it," Franks wrote. "I believe as long as I am making enough I should be able to send it to her because she doesn't have much of an income other than the $500 she gets from the state. I love my grandma and if I can help I will help."
Franks was the only student whose essay focused on sharing. Two students wrote about considering others and saving money.
Most wrote about improving themselves or their skills. Next came essays about looking forward to college, love of music and travel or cars.
Their essays tell a story of teenage goals and aspirations and how they can accomplish them.
"My goal is getting good grades because I never get good grades," said Rushelle Williams.
However, she recognizes that "I probably could do it if I really tried."
"I am going to get good grades by coming to school all the time and being on time so I don't have to make up work," said Whitney Swenson.
She got good grades last term and it felt so good she wants to do it every term.
"The resolutions I chose were to eat healthy, move to Dixie and last, but not least, never stop dancing," said McKenzie Peterson. "I grew up dancing; once a dancer always dancer."
Britni Biggs wants to eat well when she's at college and out on her own so her resolution is to learn how to cook five gourmet meals.
"I will be moving out of the house next year and I really don't know how to cook. I don't want to just eat frozen dinners and Ramen noodles throughout my college years. I want to be able to eat full and delicious meals. So I figured that if I know how to make five meals with all the desserts and side dishes, I could mix and match and have very different meals every night," she said.
Rebecca Smith resolved to get a grade point average of 4.0 for the year as she looks forward to college.
"My GPA is not currently as high as I would like it," she said.
Alexis Wright said he needs to quit putting things off so his resolution is to reverse that habit.
"I put off my homework until the very last possible minute and then I get really stressed," he said.
Douglas Wirthlin, too, wants to quit procrastinating. He resolved to get started earlier on school projects and studying for tests.
Zac Clark resolved to improve his grades."It's good to have good grades so when (employers) look at your school resume it says you're smart and well educated," he said.
"My new year's resolution is to become a better guitarist," said Tim Horn.
However, William Rees said he favors the mandolin.
"I've looked at the other folk instruments and heard them play and I think the mandolin is pretty neat," he said.
Wrote Amber Cole: "One of my new year's resolutions is to get a better background (in) music. One thing you will have to understand about me is music is my life. It's who I am, think of it as you will, but it's what I live for."
Stephen Parry doesn't play an instrument so his resolution is to learn to play one.
"I have decided that I wish to learn an instrument and the simplest and most practical in my mind is the harmonica," he said."For my New Year's resolution, I would like to master the guitar. I don't want to be able to just play the guitar, but play it very well," said Steven McVey.
Lindsey Juchau wrote two resolutions. The first was to get a job "because my dad pays for everything. I feel bad always having to ask him for money," he said.
The second is "to get six-pack abs! I want to have a healthy, better defined body so that I can be a better dancer," he said.
Bradi Jensen wants to develop a positive attitude.
"There is no reason to see the bad," she said. "Picking out the good and be more optimistic. Everyone could be just a little bit happier around here."
Christene Choate also resolved to have a better attitude, specifically toward work and school.
"When you have a better attitude towards things they are easier and you have a better desire to work hard and you enjoy it," she said.
Lindsee Thurgood resolved to create better relationships.
"Friends help you in times you need, and I want them to be able to help me when I need it in this tough upcoming year," she said.
Physical fitness is apparently important to Sasha Wakefield, so her resolution is to improve herself.
"I would like to do track in the spring, so I guess overall I should improve my physical fitness," she said.
Aaron Berry, on the hand hand, wants to sleep less and work more.
"This is almost a goal I don't want to accomplish but if I do I will have more money so it will all work out in the end," he said.
"My goal was not to drink soda for a year. My family is addicted to Coke and lots of other sodas out there, but we need to lay off the pop," said Ashlee Brown.
"I have three goals for this upcoming year," said Spencer Carlson. "I want to pay off my new car by the end of March, followed by graduating from high school in May, and finally, go on my mission for the LDS Church when I turn 19 in August."
Kaitlyn Peterson resolved to stretch herself.
"Be less afraid of taking chances, I am always afraid of doing what I would really like to do or acting as myself for fear of disapproval," she said. "Well, it's time I show my true self and not be afraid."
Mallory Denning has a plan for meeting the future.
"Just think about following a beautiful butterfly," she wrote. "That is my New Year's Resolution, to follow a beautiful butterfly through its many travels and daring adventures. My butterfly is my dream and my dream will lead me down some unpredictable paths, but when I follow that beautiful butterfly to its final destination, I know the hard work and dangerous adventures will be well worth it when I finally catch my butterfly at the beautiful place it has led and will lead me."
Putting priorities in proper perspective to include exercise is Kelsy Clark's resolution.
"I need to place my priorities for this upcoming year to this goal. Exercise of some sort daily for 30-60 minutes per day," she said."My first goal is to try and be more active," said Kimberly Mullins. "I've been slacking off and I can really feel the difference. My goal is try and run at least once a week and to try and do a nightly routine of sit-ups and push-ups."
"I need to consider other's feelings more carefully," Austin S. Andrus said.
Similarly, Sadie Buffo said that she'd like to improve her relationship with her sisters who live "far away.""The last time they were both here we had a lot of fun. We (sat) and talked for a long time to make things better between us," she said.
Carl Staheli resolved to get into shape.
"The only problem is sticking with it and to keep on going. ... It would probably help if I went with a supportive friend to help me keep going. Then it would be fun for both of us and it would all work out."
"My resolution is to become a state champion in wrestling this year," said Rodney Cox. "I have come close but barely fell short the last two years. This is the year."
Kat Fidler wants to improve on her homework.
"Sometimes I get so distracted I don't even know what is going on throughout the whole day!"
For Michael Hayes, his resolution to raise his batting average; he knows that practice is the answer, along with "focusing on it now even though it's the off season so that when the time does come I'm ready."
Others made these resolutions:
• Javier Villagrana: "Get ready and to get skilled at being a professional magician."
• Caleb Prior: "Become efficient at performing any needed wilderness survival methods."
• Brady Hughes: "I want to get a scholarship for golf because it is my favorite thing to do in life. "
• Gentry Mitchell: "I want to be accepted into college and be successful at what I do. It has always been my dream to go to medical school to help people."
• Brandon Barber: "I want to do better in school because I know I can do it and I have to prove to myself that I can. I want to make the last months of high school good ones."
• Fiati Veitohi: "Firstly, I can come to school early in the morning so I don't have tardies, and I can go to class and get there on time."
• Jessica Noland: "First of all, going to school, studying is another important thing to remember to do and doing homework."
• Trevor Nielsen: "Become the ping pong champion among my friends.
• Kathryn Compton: "One of my goals this year is to improve on my running. I don't want to be the fastest just enough speed that I can win one of the races. I want to reach the finish line."
• Andrea Taylor: "My goal is to NOT I repeat NOT get into a car crash."• Ammon Felt: "At the beginning of this summer I began a story which as of right now is over 50 pages long, and has nearly five chapters. ... I'm not sure if I'll ever publish it, I'm mostly writing it for my girlfriend, but if I do, then look for it."
• Madi Evans: "I need to start saving my money for things that I really need."• Siosifa Vaihoti: "I want to save more money so I can help myself. For example, school, I want to pay for my school. I don't want my parents to pay for it."
• Cole Hunter: "One of my resolutions is to go to Washington. I was born there and I haven't been back since we moved to Utah in 1993."
• Devin Nelson: "The first thing I need to do on restoring my Bronco is getting it running and get it down to the school."• Austin Wilde: "No speeding tickets because If I get one more in Spanish Fork I will probably get my license taken away."