• Macy Cook

Seniors, Stockshows & Goodbyes

Hannah Montana sings, "Here we are now

Everything is about to change

We face tomorrow

As we say goodbye to yesterday

A chapter-ending but, the stories only just begun

A page is turning for everyone.

So I'm moving on, letting go,

Holding on to tomorrow.

I've always got

The memories while I'm finding out who I'm gonna be

We might be apart but, I hope you always know,

You'll be with me wherever I go." in the first verse and chorus of "Wherever I Go."

This song is the epitome of senior year. It's a chapter-ending, new adventures, and holding onto four years with your very best friends. Senior year is full of lasts, but also full of firsts. Wherever you go, your four years of high school can shape who you are.

Hallie Thomas is a senior at Peaster High School in Parker County, Texas. From the volleyball court to the show ring to the classroom Hallie is one of those girls who looks like she fits in with every crowd. She can go from an athlete to the show barn to speaking in front of a crowded auditorium with ease. This senior made sure to showcase her talents and passions during her session.

Pulling up to the Thomas show barn, my eye immediately went to Hallie's older sister, Peyton, and her mom, Kim. They were trying to fit buckles, plaques, and banners in an area just a smidge too small to showcase all of Hallie's accomplishments. Years in 4-H and FFA combined with a passion and love of all things stock show, a desire to win, and an unwavering work ethic created a recipe for success. When you pair this with the rest of the Thomas family, a hard-working, cheerleading, never-ending support system, you get Hallie.

Hallie's success is more than banners and buckles. It's taking home a lesson every time she enters the show ring or the barn. Success comes from knowing that sometimes despite the hard work, you don't win, but you pull yourself up and move on to the next one. Her success is knowing that every time she entered the ring, it was a chance to give her all. This year, Hallie will succeed because even though her last stock show ends a significant chapter, she will take home lessons you can't learn at a desk.

It's easy to see in Hallie's pictures that she is a natural in front of the camera. You can feel her charisma oozing in every photo. Whether she is giving her dimpled smile or a hard smolder. Her effortless external beauty flows right into her personality. During her session, we spent most of the time laughing, whether at her mom, sister, and my husband trying to catch goats or the fact that every banner we taped up wouldn't stay on the trailer. We just rolled with the punches of the day.

Senior sessions are a chance for seniors to show off this chapter. They are a chance for mamas to get a few tears out and for dads to reflect on the hard work their baby has put in. Hallie and her family are in the middle of stock show season, where they are soaking up a season of lasts. For senior parents and students, it's coming up on big moments like prom, the last sports banquet and research paper, college acceptances, the final FFA meeting, the day the cap and gown come in, then the big day where they toss their graduation caps in the air.

If you're a mama getting ready to book a senior session for your baby, ask them what they want and the things they want to show off. At first, your teenager may blow you off, especially the boys, but once they realize this is their time to shine, then they soak it up. Let your girls wear their favorite heels or their favorite t-shirt (that you just happen to loathe), get their nails done and bring a friend if they'd like. Tell the boys we can do some pictures on the baseball field or with their truck. Of course, for everyone, bring your dog or your cat or your steer or your goat. Seniors, this is the time to think about wherever you will go.

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