Perry student doesn’t back down from life challenge

By Kwaku Asare / Perry High School

It is a normal day at Perry High School and a student has just entered the school elevator to go up to the second floor. To stay upright, she is assisted by two crutches as she heads toward her Economics class.

Through everything that she has been through, Lani Dekker still sees the glass as “half full,” as the senior’s world took a drastic turn right before her high school career started. Going through three-and-a-half years of chemotherapy, she had been through a tremendous amount of discomfort and agony. She eventually had to come to terms that she had to lose the lower half of her left leg.

“It was a shock to me,” she said.

As a role model for her younger siblings, she had to teach them how to be brave by overcoming adversity and not letting anything stop her in her journey.

Not letting her progress get halted, Dekker immediately joined the dive team as a freshman. Being a one-legged diver, she set out to set a precedent for future competitors. Feeling that theatre was her calling instead, she ended her dive career her sophomore year on a good note and with high standards for the future.

Embarking upon her sophomore year, Dekker turned all of her focus on performing in theatre.

“I’ve always been enthusiastic about theatre; I also love performing and entertaining people,” she explained.

In the same year, she was involved in an act called “What I Want to Say, but Never Will” where she and her group qualified for the International Thespian Festival by winning first place in the Arizona State Thespian Festival. This was the first among a long line of achievements for her.

Being in Nationals, the craziness in Dekker’s life built up immensely by beginning off the year with another play called “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. She took on the role of being captain of the school’s improv team; gaining multiple awards through the high school league competition. Along the way she participated in multiple competitions such as: the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Arizona Thespian Festival, Central Arizona Acting Festival, State One Act Festival and Senior Directed One Acts, receiving high rankings for all. Never letting the complications with her leg stop her.

With the theme of never backing down, Dekker began her senior year in a headstrong fashion, even though surgery placed her in a wheelchair. She was still able to keep her head high and dive right into the Senior Directed One Acts as a director. She ended up winning this competition with her show “The Engagement”.

“I’m just so passionate about what I have accomplished and I am looking forward to a great year,” she said.

Through thick and thin, Dekker never backed down, continuously won medals and awards, and made it through her high school career.