School fosters friendships

Elise Parker, left, and Lara Kennedy cruise around Friday after grabbing coffee. The Clovis High seniors said they plan to remain friends after high school.

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

In some ways, they are complete opposites.

Lara Kennedy hails from a small military family — just her parents and her little brother.

Elise Parker comes from a split home. She has three siblings and five stepbrothers and stepsisters.

But since the seventh grade, the girls have been inseparable.

Elise and Lara, both 17, will begin their senior year of high school Wednesday.

Like many friendships, theirs began accidentally.
Lara had a crush on a boy that sat behind Elise. She constantly craned her neck to get a peek at her crush during a history class. Elise misinterpreted the fidgeting.

“She thought I didn’t like her,” said Lara, sitting next to Elise on a black couch at a local coffee shop, both girls in trendy attire, their hair a similar shade of blonde, styled in a similar shag.
One day, Elise confronted Lara.

“I asked her why she kept giving me dirty looks,” Elise said.
From then on, the girls have had a bond. “We just click,” Lara said.
Friendships such as this are an important tool for success in school, according to Clovis High School Counselor Pam Cornelison.

“Common sense says if you have a friend or a buddy, you do better. Even at the high school level, it is important to have someone you can rely on,” Cornelison said.

Both girls have learned a lot from each other, they say.
“I was so shy,” Lara said. “Elise is more outgoing.”

For most of her life, her father’s military career dictated where she lived. She attended schools in various spots in Germany and New Mexico before settling in Clovis.

Elise was fascinated by well-traveled Lara, whose mother is German.
“I’ve never even been on a plane, never been out of the country,” Elise said.

The girls plan to attend New Mexico State University. Elise wants to enter the medical field, and Lara, the field of journalism. They also intend to remain friends.

“We are already daydreaming about our weddings,” Elise said.
“You have to treat a friendship how you would treat a relationship,” added Lara. “Always be honest and communicate and make sure you are having fun.”