Ram Fam Leads Miranda Roland Through A Dark Time

Miranda+Roland+prepares+her+spot+on+the+art+hall+wall+to+paint.
Miranda Roland prepares her spot on the art hall wall to paint.

Miranda Roland prepares her spot on the art hall wall to paint.

Sydney Stam

Sydney Stam

Miranda Roland prepares her spot on the art hall wall to paint.

Lindie Bell, Feature Editor

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The summer before freshman year is overwhelming enough, but for Miranda Roland that is when her life was shaken upside down.

But it took two years before anyone was aware of her struggles.

As a junior, Roland was finally able to come forward to the police about an incident that happened in the summer following eighth grade. Roland reported being sexually assaulted by someone around her age just a few weeks before entering Highland as a freshman. Roland was intimidated by the thought of starting high school, and understandably felt very alone in her turmoil.

“I didn’t really want to talk to people about it,” Roland said. “For a full year, I felt like it was my fault and that I didn’t do enough to prevent it.”

To make everything more complicated, Roland was starting her first day in a new, big school with this burden hanging over her. By keeping her pain bottled up, Roland began to feel the weight of what she was carrying. This led to a spell of depression, feelings that led her to consider suicide before the start of her senior year. Roland spent the first week of her senior year in the hospital, and was terrified for what lay ahead. Her fears did not stop Roland from attempting to change her life for the better and Luckily, Roland considers the students and teachers here at Highland to be her family, and that is exactly what got her through the hardest of times. Roland confided in her teachers, and was met with a heartfelt hug from so many of them.

“I feel like ‘unite and conquer’ was such a good theme for this year because it really helped coming back,” Roland said. “I had to tell a lot of my teachers and friends and it wasn’t a bad transition. Everyone understood and they were very caring.”

Roland had people at Highland who helped her through the dark times, but classes helped her as well. Roland immersed herself in her interests throughout her high school career like her art classes and spending her time writing. She was able to let her emotions out onto the page and reflect her complex feelings through her art pieces. Roland also has a passion for writing, more specifically poetry.

“It is terrifying as a parent to watch your child go through something like this, and not be sure where or not they’ll get better,” Elizabeth Roland, mother of Miranda said. “I’m also incredibly proud of her, and extremely grateful that she has come through it and has the courage to tell her story in hopes that it will help someone else.”

At the beginning of her freshman year, Roland found that the teachers at Highland were genuinely interested in helping out their students. Roland said that her teachers made an effort to introduce students to each other and explain the schools routine and traditions the best they could. This made Roland’s experience less jarring.

Along with learning the importance of good teachers, Roland learned the importance of good friends. Her friends saw her through hardships that no one our age deserves to go through. Roland’s peers at Highland saved her in a way.

We are at a dangerous age. 79 percent of female rape victims report to have been sexually abused before the age of 25, while 42.2 percent of female rape victims report being sexually abused before the age of 18. The most concerning statistic of them all is that 86% of females that are sexually assaulted or abused have reported to know their attacker as an intimate partner, family member, and in Roland’s case, an acquaintance.

“You don’t have to understand, I can’t expect people who haven’t been through something like that to understand what it’s like to go through. But I think it is ok to realize that you don’t understand, and try to help anyways,” Roland said.

Her friends did just that, and she says that she admired their ability to be forward and personal with Roland while she was going through her hard time. Roland had a goal in mind while starting high school. She told herself by the time she graduated, she wanted everyone to know her name. She wanted to reach out to as any people as she could. Roland had the ability to put a smile on her face every day and try to make a new friend.

For some of us, we come to school strictly for the grade. Roland sees Highland as her home, and her safe place. The people that she associated made it that place for her. People have the ability to change us, to save us, the Ram Fam did just that for Miranda

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