Colo-NESCO senior Caitlin McLoud said it feels “kind of surreal to be a senior…like I’ll wake up any minute and still be a freshman,” she said.

The 18-year-old daughter of Drew and Terri McLoud of Zearing is indeed going to graduate at the end of this school year, so she’s been focusing on doing as much as she can to make the most of all of her activities during her last year at the high school.

Here’s a quick rundown:

In high school McLoud was in volleyball for three years, band and flagline for all four years, drama for all four years, speech for four years and has spent one year on the student council. She has loved it all. “I enjoyed how close my teammates and I became in volleyball. I truly enjoy playing the French horn in band and (like) the feeling of accomplishment when I can properly play a difficult piece. I absolutely love flagline, because of the rush you feel when you catch a toss. I have had a lot of laughs in drama. Speech has given me a great outlet for creativity, and I have enjoyed how student council has given me a way to represent my class and influence important decisions.”

She continued, “I have made a lot of memories so far and hope that I can continue to make them through the rest of the year.”

McLoud has attended Colo-NESCO for her school career and she has been raised in the community of Zearing.

“Growing up in a small town has taught me just how much people rely on each other and how important it is to have a good relationship with your community. You never know when you might need (someone’s) help, so it is good to help (others) first,” she said.

She’s had a lot of good memories throughout her school years. “In third grade, we had a play that the whole class performed in,” she said. “In junior high, my class made Me Books about our lives, which was a lot of fun and will be a good thing to put up at my graduation party.”

An exciting thing from her high school years is that she has performed at state for flagline three out of the four years. “This year we got fourth place,” she said.

And the high school memories, like those in grade school, are special, especially when you become a senior. “During the play this year, the seniors drank sparkling grape juice on the roof of the school before we performed,” she said, and that was just one of several times this year when she said she’s “enjoyed spending time with all my friends and classmates.”

After high school, McLoud plans to attend Iowa State University to study culinary food science. “I am studying this because I love cooking and want to own my own restaurant some day down the line. With this degree, I also have the option of working for food companies in recipe development or quality control.”

It’s no surprise that among those she considers most influential during her years in school is her foods teacher. “Mrs. Engelken helped me see the joy of cooking that led to me choosing the career path that I am taking.”

Others have also had an impact on her life, she said. “My third grade teacher, Mr. Crow, taught me to enjoy reading. I even observed his class last year, since I was going through DMACC’s teacher academy program to see if teaching was right for me. I will always appreciate having that opportunity and it was also a lot of fun to help the students.”

Then there’s her chemistry teacher, Mr. Frohwein. “He also impacted me a lot and helped me see how interesting science is and how cool it is to see how things interact with each other.”

Finally, she said her parents have been great and supportive of her in everything she did while she was in school. “Between going to ballgames, paying for my instrument (in band), to helping me with math homework… they have done everything they could to give me all the best opportunities in life, and I can’t thank them enough.” Caitlin is one of two children in her family. She has an older sister, Maggie, who is 20.

As she prepares for her last few months of high school, she has some solid advice for underclassmen about not letting little things get to them. “Things in high school pass. Although some things seem like they will never end, they will. It is your job to make sure that what comes next will be better than what has already happened.”