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Senior Spotlight - No Separating These Two

By David Boyce

On her last day at South Valley Junior High in the spring of 2013, Sarah Parrott signed yearbooks and took pictures with friends, most of whom would join her at Liberty High School. During this activity, Parrott looked up and saw Julia Muchow, a close friend since they met in first grade at Shoal Creek Elementary.

“I had in my head that it would be the last time I would ever see her again, and I broke down in tears,” Parrott said. “I cried for a solid 5 minutes.”

Muchow was headed to Liberty North to become part of the first class to go from freshman to senior as an Eagle.

“Most of my good friends went to Liberty High, so it was hard for me to make new friends and adapt to that change, because I had gone to school with people who were going to Liberty,” Muchow said.

“I had to make a big effort to get involved in different clubs and meet new people. It was an easy atmosphere for me to get involved and meet new people. Teachers were very supportive. I realized that the two high schools had similarities and differences.”

Through the years, Parrott and Muchow remained good friends while being immersed in their high schools. Even with their busy schedules of school, sports, and other activities, they found time to support each other.

This spring, Parrott wrapped up her final season of running track, competing in the 100-meter dash and the 400 relay. And Muchow recovered from a serious concussion in her last soccer game her junior year. She returned and was able to play again midway through her senior season.

Coincidentally, her first game back was against Liberty High. Parrott was there, and like in the previous three years, she sat with the North fan base.

“When they played Liberty High this past time, I secretly wanted North to win, because she was on the team,” Parrott said. “There are some things I will support North on more than Liberty, but most of the time it is Liberty.”

During the winter months, Muchow went to several Liberty basketball games and was impressed with some of the creative cheers the Liberty student sections came up with.

“When I saw their student section, I thought oh my gosh, it looks so awesome and like so much fun,” Muchow said. “I kind of wanted to be there.”

Make no mistake, Muchow is proud to be graduating with her Liberty North classmates at 6:30 p.m., May 14, at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence.

“People in other senior classes say your senior year goes by so fast, but you never realize it until you are a senior,” said Muchow, who is headed to the University of Missouri. “You have to make your college decision, and it is a big decision. You are moving on and doing big things. It is definitely scary. I am looking forward to graduation, but not looking forward to leaving all my friends, although my best friend is going to be my roommate in college, so it will be easier.”

Earlier on that mid-May Sunday, Parrott will receive her high school diploma from Liberty High with her classmates at 2 p.m. at Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.

“Graduation day is something I have been looking forward to for a long time, but I am not sure I will be ready for it when it comes time to say goodbye to everyone,” said Parrott, who will attend the University of Arkansas.

The friendship between Parrott and Muchow is nothing unusual in Liberty Public Schools. It is the nature of the Liberty community. Yes, whenever Liberty plays Liberty North, the student sections want their school to win. Bragging rights are fun to have; but so many of the students from both schools come into contact in other activities that it is nearly impossible for the rivalry to turn bitter.

“We are a really united school district,” Parrott said. “No matter the rivalry between North and Liberty, everybody supports each other. We all come together. We are real supportive of everything that everyone does.”

Both Parrott and Muchow agree that the support that comes from the community foster an atmosphere of togetherness.

“It is a big town, but everyone knows everything that is going on,” Parrott said. “The local businesses are always so supportive. They are always supporting you no matter what school you go to or what school they went to.”

That support creates experiences that helped Parrott and Muchow grow in their four years in high school and prepare them for their next step in life.

Parrott, who is a triplet, said she always had an independent streak in her. She has the confidence to separate from her brother and sister for the first time. Her brother is going to the University of Central Missouri and her sister to William Jewell.

Track helped Parrott’s growth.

“I am also a figure skater on the side, so I had never been part of a team,” she said. “Being part of a team, like the track team, taught me so much. It taught me patience, how to be patient with your teammates, and how not to get upset when one person messes up, especially on a relay. It has been nice having teammates to go to, having a shoulder to cry on, and having them be your support system at the same time. We support each other no matter what. Just being on a team has been my favorite part.”

Muchow learned perseverance in her recovery from a concussion.

“Going through those 300+ days without playing a soccer game, you really have to tough stuff out,” Muchow said. “Bad stuff happens, but you have to keep going. Also, I received a lot of support. I wouldn’t have been able to get through all of that without my teammates and friends.”

Like Parrott and Muchow, each one of the graduates in the Class of 2017 at Liberty High and the Class of 2017 at Liberty North, has a unique story. It is why graduation day is such a special moment for students and their parents who watch this growth.

“High school,” Parrott said, “is a time when you have all your friends in one spot. It is the only time in your life when you see your friends every single day. When we leave, it is going to be different. We have to make new friends and start all over. I am excited.”