The Class of 2020: Overcoming anxiety to graduate on top

May 14, 2020, 6:33 AM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:42 am
Paige Kennedy is graduating with a 3.9 GPA and has a full ride to Southern Utah University to study...
Paige Kennedy is graduating with a 3.9 GPA and has a full ride to Southern Utah University to study chemistry. She did all this while dealing with major anxiety. (Photo: Kelli Pierce)
(Photo: Kelli Pierce)

ERDA, Utah — Paige Kennedy is graduating with a 3.9 GPA and plenty of honors. She will attend Southern Utah University on a full scholarship and plans on studying chemistry, but it took more than just brains to get to the top of the class. Paige has dealt with major anxiety for years. 

“I started struggling when I was in seventh and eighth grade and through my freshman year. It was really hard for me to go and talk to my teachers, so I had a hard time with my grades,” Kennedy says.

Anxiety can be tough for anyone to go through, but it can be extra difficult when you are a girl in high school. 

“I am a very strong feeler, and I take on other people’s emotions very easily. High schoolers are dramatic. Girls are dramatic, and it’s hard for me to be around dramatic people because I take on that emotion myself and it puts me in a really hard place…I’ve taken on their problems, and they’re not mine,” Kennedy says.  

It has gotten easier for Paige with the help of her mother, Monica. 

“Struggling with anxiety, and depression as well, we had to come up with ways for me to calm down and feel safe. My mom always knows what to do. Sometimes I don’t necessarily want to listen to her because I’m struggling. But everything that I’ve done so far, I owe it all to my mom,” Kennedy says. 

Monica Kennedy started a Facebook group called “Adopt A Senior“, which helps people give gifts to the Class of 2020. The Kennedys have adopted a few graduates themselves, while Paige has also gotten gifts. 

Paige is training to be a pharmacy technician right now and hopes to someday work in a lab to find cures for diseases…or maybe even the vaccine for COVID-19. 

“I’ve always been interested in science, and I’ve always loved helping people, so I was already planning on that…This whole COVID thing has definitely made me want to help more people,” Kennedy says.        

Class of 2020

Class of 2020: After family tragedy, 8-year-old asks aunt to “healing prom”

The Class of 2020: Helping others while going through challenges

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Education + Schools

Changes could be coming to all elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District....
Mark Jones

Possible changes to schools could be coming in Salt Lake City School District

Changes could be coming to all elementary schools in the Salt Lake City School District.
23 hours ago
Rose springs elementary students walk to a bus...
Samantha Herrera

Boy dies after falling from slide at Rose Springs Elementary School

The 8-year-old fell off a twisty slide on Monday morning and was subsequently hospitalized.
23 hours ago
student-athletes Rep. Candice Pierucci's bill...
Waverly Golden and Lindsay Aerts

New bill protects student-athlete’s right to wear religious clothing

Rep. Candice Pierucci's bill protects the right of student-athletes who wish to wear religious or modest clothing with their sports attire.
2 days ago
Hunter High...
Elizabeth Weiler

Lockout lifted for Hunter High and Hunter Elementary Schools

SALT LAKE CITY — Hunter High and Hunter Elementary Schools lockout protocol has been lifted as of 1:30 p.m. Initially ordered by the West Valley City Police Department because of “suspicious activity off campus in the neighboring area.” Police have allegedly spoken with those involved with the suspicious incident and the situation has been resolved. […]
2 days ago
Utah 2022 legislative session...
Lindsay Aerts

Home schools and micro-schooling defined under new Utah bill

A new bill in the Utah legislature is seeking to redefine home schools and micro-schools under Utah law.
2 days ago
Police siren pictured, eagle mountain police in a standoff right now...
Mark Jones

Boy injured after falling from slide at Rose Springs Elementary School

The Tooele County Sheriff's Office says an 8-year-old boy is in critical but stable condition after falling off a slide at school Monday morning.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Skier being towed by a rider on a horse. Skijoring....
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking for a New Winter Activity? Try Skijoring in Bear Lake

This article about skijoring is sponsored by the Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau. Participate in Skijoring the Bear on February 20th, 2023.  What is skijoring? Skijoring is when someone on skis is pulled by a horse, dog, animal, or motor vehicle. The driver leads the skiers through an obstacle course over jumps, hoops, and […]
Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
The Class of 2020: Overcoming anxiety to graduate on top