Waubonsie Valley High School graduate Ashley Heidenrich of Aurora is spending her summer running after three boys she's caring for as a nanny and running to stay in shape for her future in athletics.
The track and cross-country standout made the IHSA's All-State Academic Team and completed 11 Advanced Placement courses during her high school career.
She's headed to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to study public health and international relations and to compete on the school's track and cross-country teams.
Q: What did you miss most athletically this spring?
A: I definitely missed being able to go to the state meet and just being able to experience that whole weekend with my teammates.
That's definitely what the whole season leads up to, and we had been training since early winter. I had some teammates who wanted to make it to state for the first time and I was looking to improve upon my place from last year. (She placed 17th in the 3,200.)
Q: What did you miss most outside of sports?
A: I really missed having those final moments with my friends. We'll definitely still get to hang out in the summer. I just missed being able to go through graduation with them and have our senior celebrations and traditions.
I was looking forward to making memories with my friends, including some I've known since kindergarten. That was the most disappointing.
I also missed being able to say goodbye and thank you to my teachers in person because they've really made a big impact on my life.
Q: How will the unusual end to your senior year shape you moving forward?
A: I think the experience I've had this year will definitely make me more resilient and adaptable to change. What these experiences have taught me is that you can't really take anything for granted. I sometimes can take running and academics and my friends for granted, but they really are a privilege and something I'm lucky to experience.
At Johns Hopkins, running with my team, being with new friends and being taught by amazing faculty will be a privilege.
Being surrounded by really talented students and being in an urban environment will definitely foster a lot of passion for learning and creativity.