When we think of 2020 and the Covid-19 Pandemic, our thoughts often go to the schools, students, and especially the seniors. For them, graduation became vastly different, or non-existent. They may have simply received their diploma and a possibly a letter stating that the school system regrets the lack of ceremony, and they hope the student has a good life. That is sad, but sometimes we forget about another important group of students…the juniors in high school. That is where my grand niece, Jala Satterwhite enters the mix.

Jala was looking forward to so many things during her junior year. She had purchased her beautiful prom dress, only to have prom cancelled. She was very disappointed, but when summer arrived, and the time for her senior pictures arrived, Jala picked up the pieces of her junior year, and decided that the dress needed to be worn…somewhere. In the end, Jala decided to wear the dress for her senior pictures, possibly a way of transforming shattered dreams into hopes for the future. I especially liked the the water pictures, because it reminded me of water under the bridge. The picture on the horse however, sneaks a peek at the equestrian that is Jala.

Jala loves horses, and when she saw the 307 Renegade Riders at the Cody Stampede rodeo last year she knew she wanted to be a part of the group. We went to a meeting in January and she got in. Practice started in April for the rodeo that started late this year in June because of Covid-19. As the new girl, she does the sponsor flags at most rodeos. Occasionally she will do the drill with the team, if they are short handed. Her mother, Susan Griffith says, “It’s quite the rush to watch her, knowing if one move is wrong she could end up on the ground, and hopefully not get stepped on.” Jala was in a couple parades this year with Lily, her paint horse. She does the Cody night rodeo 1 or 2 nights a week. The other nights she’s been working.

While Jala’s parents are sure she was born to live in the mountains, she hasn’t gotten to go much this year because of the rodeo sponsor flags, drill team, and her job. Hopefully she’ll get to go soon, because she is so happy when she can ride her horse on the trails in the mountains, or pack in to the back country with Josh Griffith, her step-dad. Jala is Josh’s horse riding buddy. Her mom and sister, Kaytlyn have gotten to the point that they aren’t into the horse rides as much as Josh and Jala are. They are planning to take the horses hunting this year. It takes a lot of riding to get the horses ready for hunting. Jala’s horse will be in shape, since she rides her so much, but the other horses still need to get in shape, so they will be working to get them ready.

Susan tells me that she totally can’t believe Jala is 18! Jala is looking to the future, and her dream of becoming a professional horse trainer. Susan is hoping she stays home after graduation and goes to school at Northwest College in Powell. She may not be home a lot because of her schedule and work, but the family would miss her terrible. Powell is the perfect part of the country for her live her dream, and she can go to school for it there too. Today is Jala’s 18th birthday, and her mom wishes time would slow down a bit. Happy birthday Jala!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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