• Washington girl graduates high school after biking 14 miles to, from school each day

    By: Maggie Wilson

    Updated:

    A Tacoma-born girl forged a bond with a resource officer at her high school after sharing her story while job shadowing.

    The 19-year-old girl, Shalon Franklin, had been biking 14 miles to and from Kentlake High School each day.

    She even made the trip in “rainy, pretty cloudy conditions,” Shalon said. It was dark when she rose in mornings to leave.

    During the last four days of high school, the officer that Shalon job shadowed, Deputy Jana Wilson, got permission to drive Shalon to and from school.

    Wilson was impressed with Shalon's work and her appreciation of the simple gesture of commuting together. "I've enjoyed getting to know her,” Wilson said.

    Shalon was born in Tacoma and spent nine years in Texas before returning to Washington with her mom and sisters.

    She is one of six kids and has a twin sister named Akeia. Akeia has a young daughter and a baby on the way.  

    Photos from Shalon and Deputy Wilson

    School has always been important to Shalon; she most enjoys history, the study of the past and how life has changed.

    She lives now in a Lake Fenwick home with her sister. There are trees around and a lake behind the house for fishing.

    In high school, she worked binding books and stacking and grading wood.

    "I just pushed through," she said. 

    Shalon graduated in January. She wants to pursue architecture in college. When she job shadowed Officer Wilson, who coincidentally has twin 19-year-old daughters, it was to see Wilson's side architectural business. 

    "I love looking at buildings -- and homes particularly." 

    "I always had this idea like, 'One day, I'm gonna build my mom a house,'" Shalon said. 

    When describing a dream home for herself, Shalon mused happily on the countryside. She'd want a "cabin-looking house" with "a big kitchen."

    Shalon has advice to offer those in the middle of a hard time.

    "I would say, 'Don't give up, no matter how hard it gets.'" Shalon said.

    "It's going to be amazing in the end."

     


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