High school seniors are missing some of the school traditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They won’t be walking across the stage for graduation, sharing their brief message of thanks and what’s next. The Big Bear Grizzly is spotlighting high school seniors during the next several weeks, helping to honor their accomplishments.

Email Kathy Portie at kportie.grizzly@gmail.com to set up an interview for your Big Bear High School or Chautauqua High School senior to be featured.

Megan Cox

Winter sports, especially snowboarding, has been a favorite activity for Megan Cox. “It’s a huge hobby of mine,” Megan says.

But it’s not the only sport she enjoys. Megan played soccer for six years including a year in high school. She also competed in gymnastics for two years, played volleyball and softball for a year.

Snowboarding is something Megan has done since she was a kid, and hopes to keep doing in the future.

English has been a favorite subject for Megan. “I really love writing,” she says.

In addition to school, Megan has worked part time, including two years at Blauer’s. “I love my boss, I had a great time working there,” Megan says.

After graduation, Megan plans to attend Palomar College and major in nursing. “My mom is a nurse, so I’ve always wanted to be a nurse,” Megan says. “I grew up around it.”

The ultimate goal is to become an emergency room travel nurse. She’d like to spend time in Florida, Oregon, Washington state, Canada and even Europe. “I love to travel,” Megan says, adding that being a travel nurse seems the perfect job for her.

Hailee Pecoraro

Sports has been a favorite past-time for Hailee Pecoraro for most of her life. She’s been snowboarding since she was 2, and playing golf since she was 7.

At Big Bear High School, Hailee participated three years in golf and soccer, and one year in softball. But snowboarding is her main love. “I really like night riding right now, going to Westridge and the Park,” Hailee says.

Last year Hailee took voice lessons with Diane Sloan Kubeja. She has also worked part-time for three years at Fire Rock Burgers.

Academically, Hailee took honors English her sophomore year. Her favorite class is multiculture literature with teacher Mike Benson. She credits teacher Catherine Williams with encouraging Hailee to write.

“Mrs. Williams helped me be really understand and respect people,” Hailee says. “She’s inspired me to do other things than just hanging out with friends.”

Hailee plans to attend Palomar Community College in San Diego next year to major in business and finance. She also wants to attend cosmetology school and open her own business.

“I started doing make-up at a young age,” Hailee says.

Hailee says the best advice she can give to classmates is to be yourself. “Really take advantage of your high school years,” Hailee says. “Get into everything, clubs, plays, sports. Become friends with your teachers. Talk to them.”

Sydney Peterson

Soccer has been a big part of Sydney Peterson’s life at Big Bear High School. A four-year varsity player, Sydney was an all-Cross Valley League and all-CIF goalkeeper as well as CVL MVP. Sydney also played soccer on the club level as goalkeeper.

Sydney was part of the Abtenau group in seventh and eighth grade, visiting students in Big Bear sister city Abtenau, Austria, her eighth grade year. While in middle school, Sydney participated in soccer, basketball, volleyball and skiing.

Sydney works part-time at Fire Rock Burgers and Sydney also participated in the Miss Big Bear scholarship pageant, learning leadership skills and “having a lot of fun.”

Academically, Sydney has taken several AP and honors classes. English teachers Colin Schour and Mike Benson have been instrumental in learning, as has Joe Bradley in physics, Sydney says.

Sydney loves the beach, so it’s no surprise she plans to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa this fall. “It felt like a home away from home when I visited the campus,” Sydney says.

Sydney plans to major in nursing. She also enjoys traveling, and hopes to combine the two in a career.

Sydney says living in Big Bear has been a great experience. “Given the opportunity to grow up in a small town, being watched over by everyone, that’s what I’ll take with me,” she says.

Sydney says teacher Joe Bradley and coach Lisa Griffiths have been her mentors. “Mr. Bradley always sees the good in everything,” Sydney says. “And Coach Griff, she saw my potential. She’s been like a second mom to me.”

Sydney says high school has gone by so fast, she wish she had embraced the experience. Her advice to classmates is not to waste those moments. “Live in the moment,” Sydney says.

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