The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Anya Williams flies to new heights

Photo submitted by Anya Williams
Senior Anya Williams succeeds in many activities. She plans to further her education at the University of North Dakota and continue to do track and fly.

Senior Anya Williams opens the door to her plane and climbs in. Today she plans to go to Burnett county. Excited, she puts on her headset and her aviator sunglasses and starts up her plane. She flies over lakes and rivers and sees beautiful cites. Even with the upcoming dance competition on her mind, Dark Doo Wop and Work playing in her brain making her nervous, she keeps herself distracted and in a good mood by taking some time on her favorite activity: flying.

At age 14, she started her career of flying and working towards being a pilot. When she was younger her dad was a pilot and he took Williams and her brother flying for as long as she can remember. They got lunch and then her dad would let them see the controls and learn about what they are and how they work. He basically showed them what it is like to fly. He inspired Williams and she decided she wanted to try to fly herself. Williams started flying at age 14. At age 16 she soloed all by herself on her birthday. She got her private pilot license when she turned 17. That was a huge deal to her because this was a dream she had since she was little.

“When I was little, my dad was a pilot. And since I can remember he would take my brother and I flying. Flying is also important to me because it helped me make a connection to my family. When I was 14 I did an Aviation merit badge for scouts. And that was a pretty big deal to me,” Williams said.

When I was little, my dad was a pilot. And since I can remember he would take my brother and I flying. Flying is also important to me because it helped me make a connection to my family. When I was 14 I did an Aviation merit badge for scouts. And that was a pretty big deal to me.

— Anya Williams

Not only does Williams fly planes, she is also a varsity athlete and she is on the Stillwater Chevals Dance Team. She joined the team freshman year and has improved a lot since then. Williams is now on varsity jazz and varsity kick. She is also the captain of the varsity kick team. Williams is a hard worker in everything she does, but in dance she works hard to be a great leader and improve her skills.

“I have coached Anya for the past 2 Winter seasons. She always comes to practice with encouragement and positivity. When given something new she works really hard to get it perfected. Anya is eager to always make this team better in whatever capacity that is needed. Anya goes above and beyond for her team. She helps when asked to do a task; such as: leading a warm up or a stretch, she helps choreograph routines, she checks in with fellow teammates, or when given a new dance move or skill she works very hard until she gets it. Anya is a hard worker and believes that this team has so much potential. She encourages other teammates to have the same mindset as her. Anya gives 100% at every practice she attends. Anya sets a great example to her fellow teammates that if you work hard enough and give your all, your goals can be achieved,” Chevals coach Brittany Bennett said.

She strives towards being successful. She always gives it her all for everything she does. Williams has academically lettered three years for having good grades. Williams has always been a leader and person to be around.

“Anya is a great friend, and she is a very hard worker and I look up to her in so many different ways,” senior Rosalia Eichten said.

During freshman year, Williams joined the girls track team and she tried to do a few event such as pole vault and running. She was really hoping to do long jump, but could not because she had previous injuries due to gymnastics. Her junior year she decided to try new events. She did long jump and high jump and ended up going really far in her events. In June 2023, Williams took on state. State started the day after the last day of school. Williams competed in long jump and high jump. Happy with her performance at state she ended up making it to be 7th and 8th in her events in the state. Williams stayed determined throughout the whole season and never gave up. Earning new personal records and meeting new people and new coaches, she loved her track season.

“So my first couple years of track, I did not pick the right events for me because I noticed I was not improving as much as I should have been. And I was not enjoying track as much as I thought that I would. I was still growing at this point and gymnastics already left me with a lot of problems with my body. I decided to give jumps a shot when I was a junior. It ended up working out for me and I really liked it because I could feel myself improving. I have gotten super close with my coaches and teammates. It feels really nice to succeed now,” Williams said.

Williams decided she wanted to continue to fly in college and only had a few options. Her brother goes to Mankato and the other option is UND. Williams went for a track meet to Mankato and did not like the campus. She went to the University of North Dakota and loved everything about the campus and loved the track coaches there.

“Because I wanted to fly, there was a limited amount of colleges around the country that have aviation programs. UND is the number two in the country for best aviation programs. And I also wanted to do track and they have a great track team. I immediately loved the team, the mascot, the school, the location and the track coaches,” Williams said.

In the next 10 years Williams hopes to be successful and pursue her dreams of being a pilot.

“I see her as a pilot in the air flying. She is very dedicated to that and I am always here to really support her,” Eichten said.

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About the Contributor
Kaylee Lowe
Kaylee Lowe, Business Editor
My name is Kaylee Lowe and I am 16 years old. Outside of school I am on the Stillwater chevals dance team and the Stillwater girls track team. I enjoy being outside. And my favorite season is fall. In school I am in Newspaper and my staff job is Business. So I go around and do fundraisers to help raise money for ink so we can publish our newspapers on time.

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