Shawn Marrs-Watts, a transfer student from Tucson, Arizona, recently graduated from Redmond High School on June 18.
As Marrs-Watts accepted his diploma on stage like every other student, he had the support of his family and friends who were in attendance.
Watts originally began his high school career at Flowing Wells High School in Tucson, where he spent his freshman and sophomore year.
At Flowing Wells, Marrs-Watts, who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), struggled academically. After failing math his freshman year, he had to take summer school, but found himself in the same position, failing math again as a sophomore.
“It was hard for me to pay attention in class,” Marrs-Watts said. “I tried and I just couldn’t do it.”
Along with his academic struggles, Marrs-Watts also struggled behaviorally at times. He remembered during his sophomore year when he and another student were involved in an altercation during the school day. Marrs-Watts said this incident was a wake up call and helped him realize that he needed to make better decisions about how he chose to handle his behavior.
“I was being really rude,” he said. “It made me realize that I needed stop acting the way I was acting.”
This overall experience at Flowing Wells resulted in Marrs-Watts transferring to Sentinel Peak High School in Tucson for his junior year. While at Sentinel Peak, one of Marrs-Watts’ mothers died.
“It was hard to take in the fact that she’s gone, she’s not coming back,” Marrs-Watts said. “I managed to pull through it.”
Watts emphasized that this emotional time made him control his emotions when it came to the little things in life because it helped him understand how much bigger life can be in the long run. For Marrs-Watts, Sentinel Peak was a second family and the school was very supportive in helping him stay strong after his mother’s passing.
At the end of his junior year, Marrs-Watts moved up to Washington for his senior year due to family issues and found himself attending RHS. Although the experience was short-lived, Marrs-Watts said that he enjoyed his time and the learning environment at the school. Marrs-Watts pointed out that the teachers and staff there really did a great job of giving him support academically throughout his final year of high school.
For Marrs-Watts, graduating from RHS was more than a celebration of his academic success. It was a celebration of the struggles and hardships that he was able to overcome during the course of his high school career.
“I felt relieved that I could finally put high school behind me,” Marrs-Watts said.
With the transfers and other obstacles he overcame the past four years, Marrs-Watts said his high school experience forced him to grow as a person in more ways than one and expressed that he’s thankful for the person that he’s become.
Watts is planning on attending Bellevue College in the fall where he hopes to continue with his education. Marrs-Watts said he chose Bellevue because of its convenience, being so close to home, and because it was an affordable option for him and his family.
As far as his future education goes, Marrs-Watts is currently undecided about a field of study to pursue, but looks forward to exploring some of his interests.
“I’ve always found drawing and all sorts of online games and video games interesting,” Marrs-Watts said. “I’ve naturally been drawn to it.”