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Sophomore Overcomes Adversity


By Jessica Marshall

Sophomore Anna Simmons

With wind breezing against her face and the smell of fresh cut hay, sophomore Anna Simmons becomes one with her horse, Magic. In the saddle, with reins in her hand, Simmons escapes from a reality.

“I ride about once or twice a week because the barn he is at, Five Forks, is about an hour away. I wish I rode more,” Simmons said.

Simmons became interested in horses after moving back to Prince George after living in New York.

“One time [after moving back] I saw a big cow farm and noticed that they only had one horse and thought to myself, ‘ooh, I love horses now.’ Since then, I have loved horses,” Simmons said.

With such a strong affection towards horses, Simmons’ aunt and uncle decided to invest a horse from Simmons to call her own.

“I have an Appaloosa, and his name is Magic, but I don’t know why I call him that. Whenever I go see him, he always looks at me like, ‘Do you have any treats?’ He is a very calm and curious horse,” Simmons said. “We had to take Magic to another stable because he needed to get away from the mare we have. Knowing him, he would have tried to mate with her. He thinks he is Mr. Stud-muffin, but he is really not.”

Along with four horses, Simmons also has two dogs and three cats.

“Their names [the cats] are Max, Nancy, and Shadow. Shadow is the one that is evil to me. My dog, Maddie, is a Golden Retriever, and she’s big and fat,” Simmons said.

Aside from riding horses, Simmons also enjoys other various hobbies that other students might have in common.

“I like watching television and I like to swim, read, play games, shop but it depends on who is doing the shopping, go to the beach, and paint,” Simmons says.

But there is one thing that makes Simmons different from all the other students. Simmons is a burned victim.

At the age of one and a half, Simmons was burned in a house fire. Her brother received minor facial burns.

After the incident, Simmons experienced different living arrangements.

“I used to have my family that took care of me right after I was born, but after the fire, they did not take care of me like they were supposed to,” Simmons said. “So then I was put in a foster home, and then another foster home, and then I moved to New York. Now I live here with my aunt and uncle.”

Though Simmons lived in different areas and different families, Simmons believes it was for the best.

“I don’t think my life would have been any different. I never knew what they [my parents] were going to do next. They were not going to do what they were supposed to do to take care of me,” Simmons said.

Though a sophomore now, Simmons still lives with a burning fear.

“I do definitely still have a fear of fire and even getting close to it and even putting logs into a wood-burning stove. I’m afraid my clothes could catch on fire again, but that’s why I wear gloves whenever I’m near fire,” Simmons said.

At a very early age, Simmons became a victim of one of the biggest problems facing schools across the nation. Bullying.

“At first, people just started teasing me, and it was mainly name calling. But then I would tell them what happened, and I guess they didn’t mind as much,” Simmons said. “It did bother me at first and hurt my feelings. I just think it is wrong that people judge you before they know you.”

With such a long history of being bullying, Simmons deals with it in one certain way.

“I usually just ignore it and I never really talk to anyone about it,” Simmons said.

There is currently a zero tolerance policy for bullying in place. Even with this policy, Simmons feels more could be done to stop it.

“Not very many teachers have stepped in and tried to help me, but I would like them too. I could explain my situation to them and they could explain it to the students,” Simmons said. “I’m usually not comfortable when people come up and ask me questions about my past. It makes me uncomfortable.”

One memory of being bullied stands out in Simmons’ mind.

“There was one girl in eighth and ninth grade who was really mean to me. She would always call me mean names. She would be nice to me one day and then she would be mean the next day. She never gave up, but a teacher did finally stop her,” Simmons said.

Though she experienced bullying from a young age and still does, Simmons believes bullying should never and can never be justified.

“To me, it just does not seem right. You need to get to know the person first before you judge them. But then again, you should not judge a person at all,” Simmons said. “Everybody deserves to be treated equal and everyone deserves a second chance.”
In order to escape from reality of school and bullying, Simmons depends on her horse, Magic.

“I ride because it is fun and I enjoy it,” Simmons said. “ If I have a bad day at school, I want to go ride. It relieves stress and makes me feel better.”

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  • L

    Lindsay VargaJan 2, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    This article should open up everyone’s hearts and minds to the problem that Anna is facing. I see many kids in our school, who are “different” in some way. Because of that, they are treated “different.” This subject really bothers me. I grew up with a student at our school who is autistic. I see people make fun of him and laugh at him. It hurts me because I know he is a sweet boy and no one takes the time to see that. Simmons is in the same kind of situation. She gets judged by the outside, and no one gives her the chance to let them see how beautiful she is on the inside. Yes, there are people that are different than what we think of as “normal,” but what makes us better than them? I hope this article allows students to think before they say something mean.

  • B

    Brooke DancyJan 2, 2012 at 8:19 am

    This is a very inspirational piece. It opened my eyes to the effects of bullying and how it makes others feel. People tend to say things and not think about what they just said, but this article shows that people should get to know the person and their past before making accusations. Seeing Anne Simmons in the hallway made me want to know more about her, but I never had the guts to go up to her and ask her about her past. Although I have heard some of the harsh comments people say about Anne when she would walk by, I have never told people to stop because I did not want to get involved. I like that the article mentioned comments from Anne, it made it seem more real and personal. This story will really make people think twice before they say something rude about Simmons and hopefully let others want to get to know her.

  • J

    John ShumarJan 1, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    This is my all time favorite Prince George Highschool article. Ever sense I saw Anne Simmons in the hallway, I have wanted to know more about her. I think she is more than deserving to have her story told. This is a very inspirational read, and puts a lot of things into perspective. I also like the simple comments from Anne that tell a lot about her character and tastes.

  • F

    Faven ButlerJan 1, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    This article caught my interest first by looking at the photo and title. I recognized Anna Simmons in the photo and the title told me she used to be in a struggle to overcome some difficulty in her life. After reading the article, I had a different view on her as a whole. No child deserves to go through what she did, and the fact that other children in her life made it more difficult for her to overcome is heart breaking to me. If anything, she deserves better treatment than the average student, so why would anybody try to make her feel worse considering what she’s been through? The connection the writer made to her passion for riding horses gave me a better visual of Simmons and her life. She, like any other student in the school, does something in her free time in which she finds happiness in. She is different from the rest of us, yet as normal as can be.

  • J

    Jordan ThompsonDec 27, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    This article was inspiring because it helped me realize that the next time I do not give someone the time of day, I should reconsider that for you never know their background or where they came from. I feel sorry for this girl because I have seen her in the hallways and have always tried to smile at her because I have heard others make fun of her and that’ s just not right. If she hasn’t done anything to make someone upset, what’s the point of he/she calling her names? This girl is harmless and she has a brave heart. I admire her passion for horses because it is her way of relieving her stress and forgetting about everybody else in the world. Bullying is a terrible thing in my opinion and should not be tolerated at all. Students in today’s society however are so critical to one another which is just ridiculous. My concerns go out to Anna and I am inspired by her after reading this article.

  • M

    Megan JonsonDec 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    All of the personal facts and history of Anna Simmons made this article so real and demanded the reader’s attention. I liked the personal comments by Anna because I think they really helped me to understand her true feelings much better. This was a very inspirational piece!