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Kaylee Williamson Overcomes Anxiety and Champions Compassion

Cover graphic for senior snapshot featuring Kaylee Williamson

As far back as she can remember, Mountain View High School senior Kaylee Williamson has had anxiety. Although she loved learning, Kaylee was nervous and spent a lot of time in the nurse’s office because her stomach hurt. As she got older and the pressures of school increased, so did her anxiety. 

“I would get pretty embarrassed because, in class, I would freak out and start bawling,” Kaylee recalls. “I didn’t know what was wrong, and I would miss so many days of school because I couldn’t deal with going. It was a domino effect because I would struggle with going to school, and then I would miss school and that would be more stressful.”

By the time she reached high school, Kaylee says her nerves surrounding school were at their highest point. After experiencing several family losses, she felt she couldn’t cope on her own.

“After January of my sophomore year, I kept having panic attacks. I would sit in my room and just go through it by myself,” Kaylee says. “Then I kind of crashed. I went to my parents and would talk to my teachers about it and let them know what was going on. Talking about it helped a lot because it made it feel like I wasn’t alone.”

Kaylee Williamson’s Balance of Achievement with Self-Care

Kaylee Williamson with Mountain View High School soccer team and coaches poses on field

Now, as a graduating senior, Kaylee has learned to manage many situations and mindsets that used to overwhelm her. She has met with counselors, learned to focus on her breathing, and tried not to be as hard on herself. 

“I’m very much a perfectionist,” she says, explaining that her teacher for College Biology was a huge help to her. “That was the first class I got a B in. She made me see that it was OK. I realized that after I got a B, I was still OK. The world kept going.” 

Kaylee expects to graduate with honors in the top 10 percent of her class. She played soccer all four years of high school and says that it was one of the things that helped her mental health the most. 

“When I’m on the field in the zone, everything else doesn’t really matter,” she says.

Learning to Prioritize Mental Health

At sunrise, Kaylee Williamson stands with friend on soccer field with a blanket draped over them

Kaylee says that experiencing mental health struggles of her own has given her a new perspective on what other people her age might be dealing with. 

“I feel like everyone I know has gone through something or struggles with something, too. It’s very common to feel like you’re alone,” Kaylee Williamson says. “You just never know what people are going through.” 

She says that young people experience a lot of pressure, especially because things like social media can create jealousy and unhealthy comparisons. 

“A lot of it is just fake. You can be thinking everyone’s lives seem so much better, but that’s not always the case,” she says. “When you have anxiety, people will tell you certain things will relieve it. It’s not really about knowing how to get rid of it, but knowing how to manage it.” 

Since working so much on her mental health, Kaylee says she has become very passionate about being supportive of other people, especially students. 

“I try and talk to other people and get to know them. Being nice goes a long way,” she says. “Mental health issues are very common, and high school can be a tough time for lots of people.” 

Now that she is graduating, Kaylee plans to go straight to college at the University of Colorado – Boulder, where she will major in business. While she is excited to graduate and move forward in her education, she knows she has to prioritize taking care of herself as well. 

“I get stressed thinking about going off to college. It will be hard not having my best friend or parents nearby,” she says. “School is a priority, but my mental health comes first.” 

Portrait of a Graduate


Shows empathy, compassion, and respect for others

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Class of 2024