Samantha Hohbein has overcome adversity to become a completely new person. She has pushed herself to graduate on time despite falling behind, and she has been actively involved at school and in the community.
Hohbein said she had struggled with clinical depression since she was young and has been bullied in school for many years. In high school, she became addicted to drugs, going in a downward spiral that included suicidal attempts. She also struggled with many losses, including her grandparents and her aunt, who was her mentor.
“When you hit rock bottom, you try to figure out what you can change,” she said. “I pulled myself out of it and changed the way I viewed myself, society and the world.”
She has made great academic and personal strides in the past three years. Her GPA last semester was 3.67, and she said she was motivated by her desire to graduate on time.
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“Samantha has matured tremendously over the period of time she has been a student at Henderson Bay,” said teacher Peter Liljengren. “A more positive work ethic developed as well as a more positive outlook on life. … She understood the value of working toward a goal and putting in time to reach it.”
She has volunteered at Winterfest for seven years. This school year, Hohbein also became involved with the school’s new Interact Club, volunteering at places like World Vision and for school fundraisers. She is also passionate about the environment, animal and human rights, and has been working on a project to introduce recycling and composting to the Peninsula School District.
“I enjoy helping other people,” she said.
Hohbein said she doesn’t see her past challenges as difficulties but rather as milestones.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today if those things hadn’t happened,” she said. “If I hadn’t spent years of my life being unhappy, I wouldn’t appreciate happiness the way I do now.”
Henderson Bay High teacher Gayle Beard said she’s watched Hohbein mature and grow into a “beautiful and talented” individual.
“I’m so excited to watch this young woman bring her love and caring to the community and beyond,” she said. “She has an amazing future ahead of her.”
Hohbein said that naturopathic medicine saved her life and has helped her recover through yoga, meditation and other techniques.
“That’s what gave me back my life, and I want to do that for other people,” she said.
Her plan is to attend North Seattle Community College and then transfer to Bastyr University, with the goal of becoming a naturopathic doctor.