‘At Fairview, you’re more like a family here’: Tessa Buckelew looks back on her Aggie years

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Fairview’s Tessa Buckelew. (Courtesy of Tessa Buckelew)

FAIRVIEW, Ala. — In this interview, I talked to Fairview softball player Tessa Buckelew. Tessa made a lot of great memories on and off the softball field during her years at Fairview.

“One of my favorite softball memories was our senior trip. It was the only beach trip that I got to take, and we had a ton of fun. All of our coaches laid out in the sun all day and we all just played together at the beach. I feel like our team got so much closer at the beach and we played so much better coming back because of our closeness, not just playing together, but just as people and as a family,” Buckelew said. “Another one of my favorite softball memories was seeing all of our young pitchers come such a long way because I was a catcher and spending every day in the bullpen with them and seeing them grow as people, we all grew as people and as softball players as well. I can’t wait to see what they do in the years to come.”

She added,

“I loved high school. I was the girl that always loved school all the way through. I want to go back and be a teacher. At Fairview, you’re more like a family here. You’re really close. We go out and do things together all of the time. We were all very good friends. Homecoming week was of my favorite high school memories. We spent a lot of time together the whole week and I was on the homecoming court. That whole week, we did a lot of activities and stuff together. We had a great time doing that.”

Tessa played for head coach Annie King for five years at Fairview and soaked up as much as she could from her.

“She came in at a very young age. She had just gotten her teaching degree and came to Fairview. Having a female coach was a little different, so it was nice having a female coach and having someone younger because you feel a little more comfortable with them,” Buckelew said. “I learned a lot from her. She was a catcher in high school and college, and she had a lot of knowledge about the game. She had so much knowledge and she was learning throughout the years how to give it to us and teach it to us. She grew in that area a lot. I hated telling her bye. She is a really good friend of mine, so I’m excited to see what she does next year.”

Tessa learned a ton of things during her time at Fairview and feels blessed to be an Aggie.

“They have great programs here. I dual-enrolled for two years here, so I got a year of my college done. The teachers give you a lot more than just a student-teacher relationship; they get to know you on a personal level. I still talk to my teachers all of the time and we have a great friendship now. They teach you more than just their curriculum; they teach you more about life and life lessons,” Buckelew said. “I learned a lot about what I wanted to do with my life. They have where you can aid; I aided in the first grade for three years and that’s when I realized that I wanted to do elementary education. Just seeing them and realizing that they love what they do, and they don’t care that they don’t get paid is amazing. It was just really great to watch my teachers and see how they reacted to us and everything else.”

She added,

“Growing up here my whole life or even the kids that came from Parkside, I think it was hard for all of us to leave and it still is. We still come back here all the time because you’re so close to everyone. It’s like a literal family and even our principal is a family member to us. Our teachers are like family and all of the students are close. They would check up on you if something is just slightly off with you and every little thing. They’re really involved.”

Tessa will deeply miss being at Fairview next year. 

“I dreaded getting up and going to school all of the time. Then I would get here, and a teacher would come up to you in the hallway and ask how your morning was going or if you were learning anything new. They were always in great moods; they always built you up every day and my day went so great,” she said. “I will also miss the athletics. We have a very great athletic program. We do weight-training, and we have eighth-period athletics where we go off with our coaches for that hour and that was one of my biggest things because of coach King.”

She added,

“She coached volleyball when I played for her, and we were with the baseball coach and half of the baseball team. You became a family with the baseball team, and they were some of my closest friends and closest-knit groups. I will miss just spending every day with these people after school and going out to eat, and the football games. We have an amazing student section at basketball and football games.”

Tessa was one of five Fairview senior leaders on the softball team last season, and they taught the younger girls so much on and off the field.

“All five of us started young and we were together all seven years. We saw different types of people come and go that were leaders, whether they were seniors or they weren’t, and how they acted or treated us in and out of school. That showed us what we wanted to be like,” she said. “A lot of it had to do with outside of softball. How did you react seeing them in school or out in public? Because it means a lot if they make the point to come up and say something to you or give you a ride. It was the little things that we want to help with and say hey to them or give them rides.”

She added,

“There were things on the softball field, just being there when they were down. When you get down on yourself when you’re struggling, it means a lot that someone older steps in and says, ‘It’s okay that you’re struggling. You’re going to get it. Just keep working at it.’ We were very close with them. They’re a great group of girls.”

Jaycee Aleman will be the only senior on this year’s team and was another one of last season’s leaders. Tessa had nothing but positive things to say about Jaycee and what she will bring to the team next season.

“I think a lot of it came from her older sister, Kyleigh Aleman. She played for seven years as well and was a year older than me. Jaycee was like part of our group and almost like one of us seniors, so she was another one of our leaders. I think she has so much more she can teach them because she’s an extremely talented softball player. She’s very athletic and she’s got a really big heart. She can show them a lot. I’m excited to see what she does next season,” she said. 

Tessa gave some advice to the students that just started high school this fall.

“I would definitely tell them it’s not as scary as it seems. I came into high school terrified because it was different. But it was amazing. I loved high school, and I would go back in a heartbeat. Get involved in everything you can. I was in as many clubs as I could be in. I played a sport, and it creates a bunch of little families for you.”

Tessa will remember a lot of about her years at Fairview, but one thing stands out.

“Something that I will always remember the most about being here is the faculty. They are dedicated. The hours that they spend, the tears they’ve shed for us and the letters that they wrote for us was amazing. They had written letters for all of us, and we all had about 10 letters. They were very heartfelt, and it just means a lot that they’re not just teachers; they’re there through it all. No matter if it’s after high school or during, they’re going to be there for you. I’ll never forget our faculty.”

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