Student facing hardship overcomes defeat

Updated: Apr. 25, 2021 at 6:10 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Jonesboro High School senior Bethany Pursifull has had one of the hardest school years a student can take.

Most seniors’ biggest worries are sports, grades, college, and prom.

But, Bethany has dealt with more obstacles than most seniors do.

Her passion is playing the saxophone, and she’s one of the top musicians in the school band.

“I love the band. I think it’s kind of my saving grace,” says Pursifull.

She’s also an excellent student with a 4.0-grade point average.

“She’s a great student. She takes all A.P. classes. She takes the toughest classes we have to offer at Jonesboro. She always has since 7th grade,” says Principal Brad Faught.

“I just wanted to be like Lisa Simpson. I thought she was like the smartest one in the bunch,” says Pursifull.

Bethany’s hard times go back to 2016 when her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, who still fights it to this day.

She and her mother are also raising their niece and nephew.

Not far into her senior year, she was diagnosed with COVID-19 and had to spend a few days at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis.

She missed three weeks of school between sickness and quarantine.

Then, her dad got the virus in December and was then put on a ventilator.

In early January, her father passed away from the virus.

“He was unconscious, but we got to Facetime him. That was kind of all we got to do. It was sad not being able to see him,” says Pursifull.

After everything Bethany has gone through, she’s kept her head held high.

“I try to stay positive. Life has been hard, but I have a good support system,” says Bethany.

Assistant band director Trent Warner believes Bethany is one of the toughest students he has ever met.

“Really within the last few months, I’ve seen her just really grow as a person and gain a lot of confidence,” says Warner.

Her strength and growth have shown a light to everyone around her.

She also knows that even though her dad isn’t here, he’s still proud of her.

“That was one of the last things he said before he was on the ventilator, was that he was proud of me,” says Pursifull.

Even though she’s dealt with a lot, she’s still been able to maintain her grades and music.

“I’m going to college for free it’s just amazing to me,” says Pursifull.

Beth accepted a full scholarship to go to college in Conway.

She plans on playing the saxophone for the band while she majors in music.

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