Look up the word “grace” and you will find that as a noun, one meaning calls it “simple elegance,” and as a verb, it is defined as “doing honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.”

Look at the Nevada High School senior Grace Oxley and you will see the meanings for “grace” played out daily in this energetic and beautiful teenager, who definitely carries out meanings for the name she was given.

Unlike a lot of teenagers, who can spend most of their time taking care of their own needs, Grace has spent much of her time also looking after her mom, Barb, who has suffered a long diagnosis with Lyme Disease.

“I haven’t really known my mom not being sick, so I had to grow up faster than your ‘typical teenager,’” Grace said. “She (her mom) has been sick now going on 11 years. She has her good days and bad days. She hasn’t been alone in this difficult journey, because my dad (Steve) and I have been there and helped her every step of the way. I have helped her with various activities, such as grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, helping her get ready for the day; things most people take for granted daily, my mom struggles with.”

But just as she’s helped to care for her mom, when asked what her mom has, in turn, done for her, Grace answered, “Well she is my mom; how hasn’t she helped me? She’s my best friend, she supports me in all of my extracurricular activities, such as dance and dance team. She tries her best to do ‘normal family time.’ She helps me with homework and studying for tests. She gives me advice — whether it’s about school, life, dance or relationships. She has always made sure I had what I needed and wanted.”

The Oxleys are definitely a close family. Earlier this year, after attending a LuLaRoe pop-up party (an event featuring a new and popular line of stretchy, comfortable clothing), the Oxleys, Grace and her parents, started their own LuLaRoe business together on Valentine’s Day. “It is and has been a joint effort,” Grace said, adding that the reason they fell in love with LuLaRoe is that her mom finally found pretty clothing she could wear other than sweat pants and T-shirts. “Before she found LuLaRoe, we struggled to find clothes that did not hurt her body or her hips.”

The family business endeavor has added a lot to Grace’s resume as a soon-to-be high school graduate. “I am learning many things from the business aspect of it. It takes time and commitment and a team to make it successful. It will help me in the future, because one day I will own my own dance studio.”

Dance has been a favorite school activity for Grace. In fact, as far as major influences during her formative years, she said, “My entire family and dance family have been the biggest supports throughout my school career.” Not only has she done studio dance for 10 years, she also has been a member of the high school dance team at Nevada; and she plans to make dance a big part of her future.

“I am attending PCI Academy in for the cosmetology program. Once I graduate from there, I am going to DMACC for my business degree. Once I complete my business degree, I will start saving money to open up my own dance studio.”

All she has to do first is make it through the remainder of her senior year of high school, a year that she said is becoming “super busy,” which works nicely with the main goal she set for herself as the year began — to have better time-management skills. “This will be beneficial to me out of school also,” she said.

As she thinks about all her years at Nevada schools, from kindergarten through this year, Grace offers a little advice to the underclassmen. “Make lots of memories! Don’t wish it all away because it goes by fast. Don’t be afraid to stand out, follow your dreams.”

Even though it was hard for her to believe on the first day of school this year that she was a senior, she’s excited for what’s next. “I am thrilled that this is my last year of high school, because I am ready for what the world has in store for me… Now that we are almost done with term one, I am ready to walk the stage for graduation.”