New Mexico, Virginia, Georgia and Louisiana—these are all the states that Parkway High sophomore Lauren Klofach-Shepan has lived and she’s only 16-years-old. Her father is Lt. Col Steve Shepan. He is a 2nd Maintenance Group Deputy Commander in the Air Force and has been in the service for 19 years so far. Lauren says being a military child can be hard sometimes, but she can see the benefits of it as well.
“It’s a little nerve-racking because you’ll make friends and then you have to leave them, but you also get to travel to new places and meet new friends and try new things.”
Lauren has learned to adapt to her new schools by becoming as involved as possible. She already has a huge list of extracurricular activities at Parkway High School. They include being a cadet in the ROTC program, a member of the Student2Student program, National Honor Society and most recently a varsity cheerleader.
“I just wanted to be involved in school because its high school and you only get to do it once. I also thought the more I do the less I get in trouble.”
Valerie, Lauren’s mom, loves that she is involved in the Student2Student program. It was started by the Military Child Education Coalition and allows student ambassadors to show new students around the school and help with their transition.
“It was important to her to be able to welcome other kids that come to the school like her that are new,” Valerie said.
She also says that Bossier Schools and the liaison on base have been very helpful for her and her family.
“We haven’t had any issues or anything when we moved here,” she said. “The schools were all very welcoming and offered us to tour them. Since we live on base, we have School of Choice which is really great for military kids and families.”
Lauren went to Caddo Middle Magnet in the 8th grade, but she had School of Choice so she could decide where she went for high school. She said that Parkway just felt like the right choice.
“She made the final choice and she liked the size of Parkway, the choices of classes and the activities that were offered,” Valerie said.
Now Lauren is thriving at Parkway and she is very happy with her decision. She also hopes to one day join the military with a goal of being a psychologist in the Air Force.
“My dad and I have a really good relationship,” Lauren said. “I’ve always looked up to him. I would really like my family to be able to experience moving around and meeting new people. I think psychology is cool and I would love to help others.”
The family has lived in Louisiana for three years, and Lauren says she loves how warm it is here. When she isn’t busy with all her extracurricular activities, Lauren and her friends enjoy heading to the Louisiana Boardwalk.
“We like going to the boardwalk and I like doing stuff on base because it’s close to my house. We like going bowling and walking to the Starbucks.”
April is Month of the Military Child. Lauren says she is glad they have a month dedicated to celebrating military children and families because they make sacrifices too.
“I think having a month dedicated to celebrating military children is important because this is something they have to go through their whole lives. Other people don’t realize how hard it is to have to leave your friends or your family or whatever the situation is. They just get to live somewhere their whole lives.”
When giving advice to other military children, Lauren says to embrace the learning experience. She says every time you move it’s just a new chapter in a book.
“Wherever you go, you should be yourself no matter what. Be confident in who you are and who your family is. You have to be open minded to trying new things.”