I am from Parker, Arizona and plan to attend Arizona Western College in Yuma. In addition, I know being raised in this wonderful little town has developed me in a very positive way, more so than if I was raised in a large city.
Let me explain. My parents are originally from Southern California. My mom began vacationing on the Parker Strip with her father on “visitation weekends.” My grandfather and his second wife purchased a riverfront vacation home in the 1960’s. My mom tells me that every time she visited Parker she hated to go back home to the “rat race” of Los Angeles County. She described Colorado River as being “cleansing.” When I asked her to explain, she said that swimming in the river took all of the ugliness away of L.A. There was no smog, traffic, and the stars at night were always a spectacular show. It became a dream of hers to one-day move out here permanently if she could ever get the courage. That courage came in 1993. I was only 4 years old when we moved to Parker. My mother had checked out the local schools, and felt, in her heart, that her children could be raised here as “big fish in a little pond.” She knew her children would have the best opportunities academically, athletically, and socially, and that we would not just be “part of the system” rather than in a big city. Everyone else in our family thought we were crazy, and bets were even placed on how long we would last out here in the desert of western Arizona.
We settled into our home just prior to me starting kindergarten. I attended Blake Elementary and was very successful there. One of my first friends I made was actually Principal Sam Heeringa. Principal Heeringa impressed me and comforted me by being involved with the children in the school, by pushing us on the swings, sat and ate with us, and helped clean in the cafeteria. I believe he is the first reason as to why I chose to study elementary education. At Blake, I received very good grades and always got perfect attendance. The best part is, I set the stage for my younger brother and sister as everyone became aware of the “DeMoss Kids.”
Next was Wallace Elementary for grades 4 through 6. In this school, I loved every one of my teachers and felt like they cared just as much for me as I did for them. It was here that I actually kept a new teacher in her profession. She was extremely frustrated and yet somewhat confused with her new career and talked about quitting because of the class she was teaching. Most of her students were so rude and would even hit her, which to me didn’t make any sense because I thought she was the greatest teacher ever. One day she took me aside and said that if it were not for me she would have left but that I had inspired her to stay because I actually wanted to learn and cared about what she had to say. Still until this day, she’s teaching there and doing a great job. This is also, where I was first exposed to music and choir, a love that I would continue to grow with.
I then attended Wallace Jr. High. Junior High was some of the greatest times in my life. I became active in Student Council and was elected into the National Junior Honor Society. It was during Junior High that I realized something very rare prior to my other school years with my fellow classmates. We all LIKED each other and got along. We cared about the nerds, the tribal members, the sports teams, the cheerleaders, the band, there wasn’t any one who was left out. I would talk to my cousins who go to school in California and they always said that there was NEVER that kind of camaraderie at their schools, and didn’t even know half of there classmates. During Junior High, I also started working part time after school for the Gingerbread House daycare facility. In addition, I became a certified lifeguard for Parker’s Red Cross swim program each summer. Today, I am still working for Buni Hooper at the Gingerbread House and take great pride in helping kids complete their homework and inspiring them to do well in school. I also can’t express how much it means to me when these preschoolers hug me and call me “Miss MiShelle” and tell me how much I mean to them. I honestly believe these opportunities could not have been offered to me if I lived anywhere else!
Now I’m in the beginning of my Senior year At Parker High. Parker High School has been unbelievable. I am currently the President of Choir and have won many awards for my solos at competitions in Phoenix. I was just inducted into the National Honor Society and am currently ranked #6 in my graduating class of 2007. Amazingly, just a few days ago, I was announced as being nominated for the Homecoming Court, which was my long time dream come true! I have also been a member of the college prep program Upward Bound based on “first generation” category. This means that neither one of my parents has a 4 year college degree. In fact, I was elected Parker High’s Upward Bound Club Representative for 2006/2007. Upward Bound has been an exciting experience and has allowed me to spend every summer at the AWC Yuma campus to get used to living in the dorms, attending classes, etc. We have made several field trips to various campuses including NAU, ASU, U of A, Berkeley, Stanford, and USF that has helped me expand my knowledge of what other universities have to offer.
In addition, outside of schools, I love what Parker has to offer. My parents just bought a one-acre ranch outside of town. We have horses, goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, and pigs. We have these animals because my brother, sister, and I enjoy doing 4-H. My family is also into off-roading, dirt bike riding, hiking, boating and jet skiing. Try doing all of that in Los Angeles!