The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


New Beginnings

Bronson prepares herself for a new school, schedule and volleyball team
Freshman Bo Bronson poses Aug. 7 in the Main Gym. Bronson plays club volleyball for Kansas City Power.

Summer was almost over.

For some this meant stewing at home, saving every last second for TikTok whilst stressing over summer reading projects. But for freshman Bo Bronson this meant eating sweet pork by the pool, playing beach volleyball and getting up at 5:45 a.m. to watch the Hawaiian sunrise. Bronson was the happiest she had been in a long time. There was not time to worry about Varsity volleyball tryouts on August 14th or her first day of high school the day after. 

She was safe, for the moment.

“All right,” the pilot said. “We’ve just arrived at the Kansas City airport from Las Vegas. Thank you for flying Southwest, we now ask…..”



A silence filled the hallway followed by the sound of applause. As Bronson walked past her 7th grade social studies room for the last time the thought she tried forcing out for so long finally made its way back.

Middle school is over.

Bronson was already over the saying, “well in high school they won’t let you get away with (blank) anymore.” But just a few weeks after she had achieved “the impossible”.

She had driven eight hours to Hyatt, Chicago for a volleyball tournament. Although this wasn’t just any volleyball tournament, this was the 2023 USAV Girls Junior National Championship, in the 14 and under National Division. 

And after the four longest days of Bronson’s life, competing against over 76 teams, she scored the winning point in their last match. 

Bronson dedicated six years of her life to volleyball, improving her form, watching NCAA college volleyball games on YouTube, perfecting drills, playing game after game.

And her first year of making it to nationals her team had won.

With the season being over, so was Bronson’s time with club volleyball.

“I remember sending a text to the volleyball group chat on the way home that said ‘I just felt like I should tell you guys that I’ve been crying in the car thinking about all the memories we shared. I’m gonna miss you guys so much!’.”

Yet another chapter in her life she was forced to finish.

Because now there was highschool. 

You could say Bronson forgot about it, just like she forgot to vacuum the upstairs hallway or forgot to take out the trash like her mom usually asked her to. 

She went to the pool with her best friend Sophie, made s’mores cookies, went to volleyball camps in Nebraska and KU, she had open gyms, sleepovers, she even saw the Barbie movie.

But none of it worked.

The nerves became unbearable.


“…..that you unbuckle your seatbelts, handle your luggage accordingly and enjoy the rest of your day.” The intercom buzzed off. 

Bronson was no longer in Hawaii. And before she could dust the pretzel crumbs from her sweatpants or sling her Northface backpack over her shoulder, every worry she had suppressed over the past few months came tumbling down.

How would I find my classes?

Who would I sit with?

What if I messed up at tryouts?

What if I didn’t make the team?

Over and over Bronson taped, and rewinded every bad scenario she could think of from her teeth falling out on the first day to driving into a volcano, causing the world to explode. 

But eventually she got tired, one way or another she would have to walk through the back to school section in Target, she would have to set an alarm for 6:20 a.m., she would have to face tryouts.

“Now I’m a lot less nervous,” Bronson said. “I feel like everybody’s been telling me that high school is so much better than middle school.”

She’s hoping they’re right.

As for if Bronson’s teeth will fall out, as for if the world will explode, as for if she’ll find her classes, as for if she’ll make the team we don’t know. 

All that she knows is that on August 15th at 7:40 a.m. she’ll walk through those double doors. On August 15th at 7:40 a.m. her first day of high school will have started.


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About the Contributor
Sofia Ball, Writer
Hi! My name is Sofia Ball and I am a writer for the Northwest Passage. Writing started out as a hobby for me. Something I never imagined I would be good at until about 7th grade after taking a creative writing class with Dr. Van Zant. I just started out as a freshman, and already, I've come to know and love many of the classes, teachers and students here at Northwest. I’d like to think of myself as an extrovert, but most of my freetime is spent either reading, writing or watching Netflix in my bedroom. I used to watch The Office all the time before it got removed. The only time you'll ever see me out and about is probably at Cross Country or Track practice. You may even see me handing out our latest newspaper issues around the school.

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