SBDHS Alumni - Kayla Wandowich ('18)

Updated: Oct 29, 2019

Kayla graduated in June of 2018 from SBDHS and we asked her get in touch with us to fill us in on university-life and how she's been adjusting to her new home in Fort McMurrray, AB!

They say to begin our greatest adventures, we sometimes need to take a little risk!

Well, that’s what I did this August – I started my own new adventure!

My name’s Kayla Wandowich and I graduated from St. B this past June! Just 2 months after grad, I find myself 16 hours away, up in beautiful Fort McMurray, Alberta!

Now you’re probably thinking why on earth would you go somewhere colder than Winnipeg? Let me explain how I got here.

This time last year, I faced being asked “The Question”, the one that’s every graduate’s worst nightmare: “So what are your plans for next year!?” Now, I’m going to let you in on a little senior secret, even though we try our best to give you an answer that makes us sound like we have an impressive plan… the truth is, we don’t have a clue!

But that’s the beautiful part to life; you don’t always need to have things figured out, there’s always more waiting to be discovered! Playing sports has always been an important part of my life, and particularly, volleyball. I always dreamed about going places and wanted to continue playing after high school. Although, if I’m being honest, I often questioned if that dream out of reach.

Then in April of this year, I was lucky enough to get scouted by the Keyano Huskies college team & was asked to come play for them on scholarship for the 2018-2019 season! In the blink of an eye I achieved my dream that once seemed impossible – and now I’m here!

Wandowich plays for the Huskies at Keyano College in Fort McMurray

Before moving, I had some doubts & worries – but that’s natural when starting any new chapter of your life! Although I knew I was going to miss many people & things back home, I knew in my heart this was the right decision for me! And boy, was I right!

As soon as I got here, I was greeted by not 1, not 2, but 18 new friends – my teammates! I felt so welcomed from the second I met them; which took me back to how I felt when I first came to St. B! I was in awe of everything from the gym to our locker room. Everything became so real, so fast. I was loving every minute of it because I was living my dream!

My favourite part of my first day there was when I finally got to meet my teammate & roommate Milena! She came all the way from Serbia to play with us, and after months of talking over text, we finally got to meet in person! As soon as I opened the door to our apartment, she ran & gave me the biggest hug & said “Hello my Canadian best friend!” She very quickly became more than just my teammate & roommate! We are pretty much joined at the hip and do everything and anything together!

After getting settled in over my first weekend here, it was time to get to the grind on Monday! This was the day we’ve all been waiting for – this was our first practice to kick off the season! Since then, time has flown by and I’m loving it!

A typical day in the life of a college student athlete is busy! I start by waking up at 6:30 for morning workouts, then go to class for the majority of the day, come home and quickly eat dinner (because if you know me, you know I’m always hungry!), then I go straight to practice for two and a half hours with cardio after of course! On top of all that, I also work part time at Townhall Public House Restaurant! Although it may seem a little crazy some days, I truly wouldn’t have it any other way!

Moving out to Fort McMurray has been a major transition for me. There were many things I had to get used to like being away from my family and friends back home or just dealing with the new fun responsibilities of adulthood! Examples include, “Hey, why is there water coming out of our fridge?” or “I’ve got 85 pages to read by tomorrow and I need 6 hours of sleep…which one do I choose?”

The biggest adjustment I had to get used to was how independent I suddenly was. I no longer had the security of my parents to constantly be there to remind me what needed to be done, or to give me that little extra motivational push we all sometimes need. I’ve gained a stronger sense of independence and still have lots to figure out and learn! As I said before, who really has things completely figured out?!

One of the things that I’m most thankful for is that support system back home; especially people within the St. B community! The amount of support I’ve received from students and teachers back home is amazing and I can never truly express just how grateful I am! Not only do I feel like I’m still involved with the community of St. B, I also feel lucky to have been a part of something that was more than just a high school – St. B was and forever will be a home to me!

From talking with old classmates and students, to getting messages from teachers, it’s a support system like this one that keeps me going and makes me strive to become even better each and everyday!

The start of my journey so far has been an amazing one! I know that the road I face may not always be easy – there will be good days and some bad ones! But it’s what you take away from those days that truly count! I am very excited for our regulation games to start in 2 weeks and I can’t wait to see what this chapter holds next! Although there are many things I still have yet to discover, there is one thing I know for sure – I am home!!

- Kayla Wandowich, SBDHS Class of 2018