Nevada’s Jade Rosalyn Bleeker said it really is hard to believe she’s a senior in high school.

“These last 12 years have gone by faster than I ever thought they would,” she said.

So, this last year, she said, “I’m really trying to take in things like my last flagline competition, marching band performance and pep band performance. I also am trying to leave a positive impact at my school.” She wants people to remember her as “the person who really cared about others.”

Bleeker, 17, shared a lot about her how faith has been very important to her as she’s made her way through her entire school career in the Nevada School District. When she talks abut the people who’ve had the greatest influence on her during her school years, faith is part of those connections.

“Mrs. Elliott, my fifth- and sixth-grade teacher, and Mrs. Shipley, my seventh- and eighth-grade teacher, both had huge impacts on me. I had really bad anxiety in middle school and they both were so understanding, kind and always there for me. They both also shared the same faith as me, so they really had an impact on me for living a life for Jesus. We still check in with each other every now and then,” Bleeker said.

Gabby Bradford is a person in the community who positively impacted her life. “She used to babysit me and my sisters when we were really little, and she’s also been my church leader and flagline coach. She has really been there for me whenever I need it, and I’m so appreciative of that.”

And, of course, her parents have been a huge influence in her life. “My parents have had a huge impact on my life. They’ve taught me to love others, work hard, do my best and just live a life for Jesus,” Bleeker, who is the oldest of Kory and Tiffany Bleeker’s three daughters. They also have Mylie, a sophomore, and Scarlett, a seventh-grader. “They have always made it a point to tell me how proud they are of me and how much they love me. And I know a lot of people don’t have that, so I’m very grateful to them.” She added, “You guys are so amazing… love you so much.”

Bleeker has been active in a number of things during her high school years. As a story running alongside this one notes, she’s been active in color guard and band. She’s also been active in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society and Rotary as a Junior Rotarian, something she decided to do for her senior year. Another thing she’s done just this year is take on a solo for flagline. “I am competing with other color guard members from around Iowa, and I am so excited.”

Whether it’s the activities she’s been involved in or just the classes she’s taking, Bleeker said she’s always appreciated how kind and considerate most of the teachers at Nevada are.

“Many of them are very understanding about schedules and such, with work, sports and activities,” she noted.

She’s also certain she’s learned a lot from the Nevada teaching staff. “Some things that stick out to me are to always look at an obstacle from a different perspective, because usually, it helps me find a way to get through it,” she said. She added, “Learning at Nevada has been really fun because of all the different kinds of classes I’ve gotten to take! Some are more hands-on, which I really love; some are full of just memorization; and in some, the teachers are really big on study games, which is always pretty fun.”

Her favorite subject at Nevada, she said, is anatomy and physiology. “I just find it so interesting, and I really loved memorizing how the body works and doing hands-on things, like dissections.” It’s also a favorite subject, because it goes hand-in-hand with her passions in life.

“I really love kids, and I also really love the medical field. So, I am hoping to combine both those passions when going into nursing, with the possibility of specializing in pediatrics,” she said.

After high school, Bleeker thinks she’ll attend DMACC for nursing, and then possibly transfer to University of Iowa to achieve her dreams of pediatric nursing.

As she’s grown up and gone through school, she’s gained valuable experience in several jobs she’s held. “I’ve worked at the Nevada Public Library, Gatherings and I’ve also babysat for several families. I have really loved all of the people and coworkers I have been able to work with.” Through her work experiences, she said, “I’ve learned a lot of useful skills,” and she’s gotten “the opportunity to work with all kinds of people.”

The hardest thing about leaving high school at the end of this year, she admitted, will be saying good-bye to her friends. “They really make every day better, no matter how rough it starts out, so I think I’ll really miss [seeing them every day] a lot.”

Her advice to students who are younger, which includes her own sisters, “is to be kind to absolutely everyone,” she said. “You never know what someone else is going through, so don’t judge…just show them that you care. Also, do your absolute best in everything, but just remember that things like sports and good grades don’t define you.”