VACAVILLE — Monika Ax’s last year of high school started early that first day as members of the senior class gathered to watch the sun rise.
Within a few months, her days turned much darker.
She was concerned about a situation that involved a sibling, to the point of distraction. The situation was resolved last fall.
Things are much better and her senior year is ending with some well-earned fanfare.
Ax was adopted when she was 3, attended Cooper Elementary, Vacaville Christian Schools before beginning Vacaville High School in her freshman year.
She played volleyball all four years and did track and field her sophomore and junior years. Ax also does club volleyball in the offseason.
A friend in eighth grade suggested she try volleyball.
“I wasn’t the best player,” Ax said.
But she practiced and earned a starting slot her senior year.
Prior to eighth grade, Ax earned her black belt in tae kwon do.
Ax is heading off to the University of California, Davis, to study nutrition.
“I can’t see myself in a lab,” she said of career choices. “I can see myself as a dietitian. I love new food and healthy recipes.”
Her summer plans include a cruise to Mexico, work, graduation parties and working with the incoming varsity volleyball team at Vacaville High School.
She’ll have plenty of fond memories to relive, especially an unforgettable homecoming, she said. There’s also a sense of loss.
“It hits you that this is your last year (of high school.) It’s gone by so fast,” she said.
Close friends are going off to colleges in Washington and Louisiana.
“I’m excited to start a new chapter,” she said.
Ax will live in the dorms, which means she’s spending the last few months in her room at home. Ax said her parents have been there for her the whole time. Her father thinks she should take the credit for her successes.
“She’s amazingly modest,” said John Ax. “She understates a lot of what she has done. ”
Her mother was 15 when she gave birth to her, John Ax said. She was in foster care and struggled with trust issues, said her father.
The proud father noted his daughter has a strong work ethic, would get up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym and get to school on time. There were many nights she was working on school work when he went to bed. The next morning, she would often be up before him.
“All we have done is give her the tools,” he said. “She is driven.”
John Ax was diagnosed five years ago with stage four cancer. Monika Ax stepped into a motherly role with her siblings, her father said.
Monika Ax was also part of her school’s Best Buddies Club where mainstream students work with peers who have developmental disabilities. She served as the group’s vice president.
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.