Corona Del Sol senior Kelleigh Joos overcomes challenges to help others
Corona Del Sol High School senior Kelleigh Joos has constantly faced and overcome adversity throughout her young life.
At just five years old, her parents divorced.
On top of that, she’s also dealt with medical diagnoses of bascule syndrome, Bier spots, hypermobility and most recently postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or POTS. That latest diagnosis occurred this past summer.
Joos struggled emotionally while growing up and had suicidal thoughts for three to four years, surviving multiple suicide attempts.
Yet she continued to push through challenges and worked to use her experiences to help others.
During her freshman year of high school, she and her school psychologist ran a suicide prevention group, where she applied her own struggles to bring others out of dark situations.
“I wanted to be able to help other people with that,” Joos said. “Being able to see the impact that I had on other people really made me realize that I do have value.”
Joos joined the Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) when she arrived in high school as well, further helping her grow and discover who she was.
“That really helps me figure out who I am as a person,” Joos said. “Because I was really shy for a long time. I couldn’t talk to anybody I didn’t already know, and they really helped me build up my confidence.”
During her time with JROTC, she has worked her way up to the rank of Major and is the captain of the Drill Team.
Joos had ambitions to go into the military and join the reserves after high school, but her medical history prevents her from reaching that dream.
This was difficult for Joos, but it is another setback she is working to overcome.
Joos plans to attend Northern Arizona University after graduating with the goal of becoming an occupational therapist for children with special needs. It’s a personal interest of hers, as her mother was a special-ed teacher and she has two cousins with special needs.
“I had to change my plan really quickly, but I did it and am still happy with what I’m going to be doing,” she said.