Printed on: May 25, 2013

Moving forward

Shelley H.S. grads view life ahead as new start


When Shelley High School senior Destri Esterbrook entered the school's Certified Nursing Assistant program, she knew she'd be learning how to take a patient's vital signs.

She knew she'd be learning how to take care of people.

What she didn't know was that she'd also be learning how to start taking care of herself.

"The CNA program has opened my eyes," she said. "It has shown me that sometimes in life, other people might not have it as easy as you do. It's heartbreaking work sometimes, but it's good to be able to help them."

Esterbrook, 17, wasn't always a motivated student. By the end of her freshman year, she started succumbing to peer pressure and began using drugs and alcohol.

"I started hanging out with a bad crowd," she said. "But by starting the CNA program, I realized my life isn't as bad as what other people have to go through."

Caleb Pack, 18, also knows about hanging out with the wrong crowd.

He moved from his hometown of Hudson, Ohio, to Shelley three days into his junior year -- after his parents found he was using and selling drugs.

Esterbrook and Pack joined 138 other seniors at the high school's Tuesday graduation.

Both said they're ready to put their pasts behind them and leap into the responsibilities of the real world.

Pack said the change of scenery -- literally -- helped improve his outlook.

When he moved to Idaho, he said he started to fall back into his old habits.

But something saved him -- his developing friendships with his high school baseball teammates.

"I made some new friends toward the end of last year," Pack said. "They just weren't doing those things ... and they didn't want me to do them, either. They kind of put me on a leash -- the good kind."

Esterbrook said her experience with the CNA program had fueled her desire to become a veterinarian. She hopes to enroll at Idaho State University in the fall.

"I just love animals," she said. "I love animals more than I love people."

Pack said he's ready for anything after graduation.

"I don't know what exactly I want to do with my life," he said. "I'm sure everyone feels this pressure when they graduate. I might just take a week or two to snap into reality."

Reporter Christina Lords can be reached at 542-6762.