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No track meet, no senior awards ceremony But Fernando ‘puts it in God’s hands’

No track meet, no senior awards ceremony But Fernando ‘puts it in God’s hands’

Fernando Jimenez was looking forward to actually being a part of the senior awards ceremony this year.

“Every year I’ve played my trombone and watched with the band. This was my year to sit with the seniors and hear my name announced,” he says. “They could do an online version, but honestly, I probably wouldn’t like it. It wouldn’t have the same feeling as being together with my class.

“Probably my biggest loss is that I didn’t get to go to my last track meet. My sophomore year, I made it to state finals, and it has been my goal since then to go back. I love how many people show up to watch all the athletes compete! I was within a few seconds of making the state cut in the 800-meter event, and I was hoping to repeat.

“I actually hated running when I started as a seventh-grader. I wanted to play football, but my cousin was on the high school cross country team at the time. I followed her suggestion and signed up. It was awful in the beginning! But after I got done running, I had a real sense of accomplishment.

“As the years went along, I enjoyed heading out of the house for a run. It clears my head and feels good, but it’s easier to do when I have teammates to run with. I hate that I don’t have the motivation now with everything closed down. But I’m planning to run cross country for Olivet College in the fall and also serve in the National Guard as a student. That should give me plenty of new teammates to run with.

“I’m excited to leave for boot camp on June 9. Meeting new people and making everything feel like it’s the first time will be great. But I guess I also don’t like thinking about how my life is going to change soon.

“Before everything shut down, my typical day was filled with school, then a meet or practice, then work until closing at the Big Boy. I almost never got home until late. Now that I’m home more, I actually spend time with my little brother. We’ve been watching movies, going for walks or I run alongside him while he rides his bike. He’s actually smarter than I thought! We are 10 years apart, so I didn’t know what he knew and what he didn’t.

“On Sundays, our whole family gets together for Mass in our living room. We watch the livestream from Cristo Rey Parish or St. Joseph Parish here in St. Johns. I miss youth group and being with everyone during Mass at Cristo Rey, but this time is helping me grow closer with my family.

“I pray every day that God will keep us safe and none of us will get sick. It helps me to keep from overthinking and worrying about it. To put it in God’s hands helps me know everything is going to be alright. Our faith tells us that everything happens for a reason, and I trust that this is part of God’s plan for me.

“Nothing is the same, and I will miss a lot that I was looking forward to. Nobody knew track season and the school year were going to end so fast. But maybe this is God’s way of helping me not take things for granted. I actually enjoy the time I spend with whatever I do . . .  and whoever I do it with.

“The days are passing, and I’m enjoying being with my family. That is a gift.”