The student news site of Arvada West High School

The Westwind

The student news site of Arvada West High School

The Westwind

The student news site of Arvada West High School

The Westwind

Senior Johanna Baucum has found herself: her journey in tennis, student teaching, Link Crew

Senior Johanna Baucum reflects on her time in high school and shares her plans for the future. Photo courtesy of Baucum

The last four years have been a whirlwind for Arvada West High School senior Johanna Baucum. Through it all, as she sits and reflects on her high school experience before graduating. With enthusiasm, Baucum exclaims that in high school she has been “ found because I found myself, I found my sexuality, I found like friends.”

From her time as captain of varsity Girl’s Tennis to her time in Link Crew to her student teaching experience, Baucum’s high school experience has encompassed a wide range of activities and pursuits on top of the regular academics.


Since she was nine, Bauucum has been involved in tennis after trying “a bunch of other sports and nothing [worked,] but I kept falling out of love with everything.” In particular, at Apex, is where Bacumm fell  in love with tennis after having a coach who “taught me how to actually play.”

In her freshman year, Baucum tried out for her A-West tennis girls program. For three years now, Baucum has been on the varsity team as well as being a team captain for it. Her role as captain has been crucial to her team as she mentions that the program is not “very well put together.” Due to that, Baucum has been a fundamental part of communicating to her team such as what uniforms they will be wearing, organizing snacks and drinks, and planning for different team events such as the Girl’s Tennis banquet.

Of course, being a team captain contains a lot of these essentials, but the most valuable part about Baucum’s experience as team captain has nothing to do with a tangible item that can be marked off of a checklist, but instead, the invaluable memories and moments she has had with her teammates. Her captainship, in her own words, has given her  “a sense of purpose on my team.”

For one varsity tennis player, junior Mia Dark, Baucum has been “ a great captain because she doesn’t just care about the tennis, she genuinely cares about the girls. She makes sure that we’re all doing what we need to while also making sure we have fun.”

These relationships with her teammates are something that Baucum continues to emphasize, especially since she can remember back to her freshman year when hardly anyone would talk to her on her team. Now, Baucum can confidently call her teammates “my girls.”

Outside of her role as captain for the A-West girl’s varsity tennis program, Baucum has also taken up leadership as an assistant coach for tennis outside of school. Her favorite coach, whom she refers to as Coach Tony, picked Baucum to help as a new coach. This originally started as a simpler role, since Baucum would help “corral the kids,” and help make sure that they wouldn’t get hurt by falling over. However, this soon blossomed into more, as in her role as an assistant coach, she now leads warm-ups and teaches classes for the program.

Student teaching:

Baucum’s role as a teacher isn’t limited to her time on a tennis court. For the past two years, she has attended Warren Tech as a part of the Education and Leadership Program. A part of this program requires students to be student teachers at a local school. Last year, Baucum returned to her middle school, Lincoln Academy Charter School to assist history teacher Emily Hall.

Education and Leadership teacher at Warren Tech, Christine McConell offers Baucum advice for her future career
Graphic created in Canva by Chloe Rios

Hall has been an influence on Baucum and the path she wants her life to take as a history teacher. “My whole life, I was told that …you can’t do anything with history. It’s a stupid thing to study. You’re not gonna get a career…She [Hall,] was the first teacher who told me that, hey, you can study history.”

Hall, who had Baucum in seventh and eighth grade, describes Baucum as a student who was diligent and kind, and whose passion for history shined through in the early days since Bauucm would “come in after school and ask questions or tell me about the things she was reading or learning about outside of class.” 

As a student teacher, Baucum assisted Hall by planning lessons, working individually with students, and of course doing some teaching, as well. Recounting her time with Baucum as a student teacher, Hall reminisces about Baucum as a student teacher who “was a hard worker. She learned student names, which isn’t easy when you have 160 students coming and going- worked well with students, and asked plenty of questions to help herself grow.”

In her senior year, Baucm student taught at Fremont Elementary School with third-grade teacher Lauren Hawk. Hawk also speaks highly of Baucum and her teaching skills, saying that “Johanna is a natural teacher. She already has the traits of a good teacher – the ones they can’t teach you.”

To back this up, Hawk recalls the time Baucum supported a student with autism who struggled during reading time. “When he started losing focus, Johanna sat down by him, held his hand, and whispered to him. He calmed down immediately. She sat with him every day during shared reading, and it made a huge difference for him. He now stayed focused and participated in what we were doing.”

Her time in both Hall’s and Hawk’s classrooms has taught Baucum crucial skills for her future career in education since she has learned “how the classroom actually works from a teacher’s perspective.” In particular, this experience has taught her about classroom management- what rules and boundaries are, and how to successfully set up a classroom environment. It has taught her about empathy.

“I’m here for you if you’re here for me. I respect you if you respect me,” Baucum explains.

Link Crew:

 Though her time as a student teacher has developed Baucum’s character, her journey with Link Crew began after a teacher recommended her to join. Her experience is what she describes as “a whole lot of fun.”

With her friend, Baucum says that they got to “ make a difference,” with the freshman.“

These relationships are still strong: “ I still have the freshmen come up to me like ‘So, I need help with my schedule,’” she mentions.

Link Crew has also been an opportunity for her to see her freshmen blossom. One name comes to mind for Baucum when she thinks about this: freshman Lincoln Wicke.

Wicke, who was cast in the Arvada West Theatre Company 2023 fall play  “The Lost Boy,’ reflects on Baucum’s support from the audience during the production and fondly says, “It was very nice of her, as then I didn’t have a much of a support for [it] only [being] the beginning.”

Reflection on and life after high school:

Though Baucum may have been a source of support for many from the girls on her tennis team to Wicke and other freshmen at A-West, A-West has just as equally been her support. Heading out of middle school at Lincoln Academy, Baucum says that she was a “weird kid,” and a “nerd.”

Even though her early days of high school were filled with fear, that high school would be just like the movies for Baucum, who felt a shift entering high school because people saw her outside of these classifications and she could do “everything,’ at A-West and be her own person outside of labels and classifications.

History teacher Emily Hall shares her thoughts for Baucum as she prepares to head into the future.
Graphic created on Canva by Chloe Rios

Throughout her four years, Baucum’s favorite classes at A-West have been all of her AP (Advanced Placement) history classes such as AP World, AP United States History, and AP European History.

When she was a kid, Baucum always dreamed of being a pharmacist. It wasn’t until a conversation with her grandmother that Bauucm realized that she wanted to be a teacher. As she heads into the future, Baucum plans to attend the University of Utah and hopes to eventually come back and teach at A-West.

One of her favorite teachers that she has ever had is Clark Grose, a science teacher at A-West who has Baucum as a student in his course titled Astronomy and Geology. Baucum remembers him as someone who “was always laughing and having fun and making jokes.”

Likewise to Hall and Hawke, Grose admires Baucum for her work ethic and kindness. As she plans to head into education, he is nothing but confident that Baucum will excel, as he comments that education“ is a perfect fit for her abilities. She will make anyone around her feel better about themselves. Students will love her as a teacher.”

 With optimism and hope for the road ahead of her, Baucum is focused on the bigger picture. “I just want one student to come back to me and say, “ You changed my life,”  or “You made me love history,” or “You’re the reason I chose to do something.”


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About the Contributor
Chloe Rios, Editor
Chloe Rios is a junior this year, and it is her second year on staff. In her free time, she loves to paint, listen to a lot of Taylor Swift, and spend time with her friends. She is a part of A-West's Theatre Company, National Honors Society, and Link Crew. She loves 'The Westwind', and is super excited to be back for another year of journalism!

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