Class of 2020: Steamboat grad faces challenges with a smile
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Friends, teachers and coaches all say the same thing about Molly Quinn-Clynes, a member of the Steamboat Springs High School Class of 2020 — she’s one of those special people who can light up a room with her humor and charismatic personality.
“I could talk about her all day,” said Molly’s longtime soccer coach Erin Early. “She’s just the best human. I know that her life has not always been easy but she takes every challenge on with a smile.”
In fact, Molly believes it’s her struggles, including attention deficit and intense sensitivity disorders, that have helped make her who she is today.
“I’d rather not dwell on the things I’ve gone through but learn from them and move on in a healthy way,” Molly said.
Often referred to as a class clown, few people know about Molly’s sometimes chaotic life dealing with family breakups, family sickness and spells of financial hardship. She also changed homes seven times during her life, including a stint in a storage room-turned studio apartment, where she and her brothers used humor to ease their worries.
“Waking up for a soccer game, I’d look over and think ‘I really don’t want to sleep with my brother in this bunk bed,’” Molly said. “I processed things through humor. It’s not an unhealthy way to do it.”
Her high school counselor remembers when Molly’s mother was critically ill before recovering.
“Molly never skipped a beat and took care of her brothers,” Danica Moss said. “Nobody ever really knew what she was going through because she held it together.”
And despite her parents being divorced, Molly gives her father a lot of the credit for stepping in while her mother was ill.
“My parents are very strong people and although they didn’t work out, they have done everything they could do for us,” Molly said.
But it’s Molly’s own struggles that pushed her to become one of the most popular teenage volunteers and interns in town.
“She has her hand in so many kids’ lives,” Moss said. “Everybody knows and loves Molly, and she has a deep love for kids, especially students with special needs or learning difficulties.”
Molly said her own experiences give her insight into children with physical and cognitive difficulties. She remembers days, crying on her floor at home because of the way her clothes felt too tight or she was bothered by designs in her socks where the stitching touched her overly-sensitive skin. Through years of therapy dealing with these issues, she’s now able to understand how to connect with the kids she works within a way that makes them feel safe and comfortable.
Molly started volunteering with STARS — Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports — her freshman year and then worked there every summer since, all why playing club soccer, coaching young kids and babysitting for extra money.
And her school days weren’t much different. While soccer and basketball have helped Molly direct her high energy, she’s also part of the high school’s peer aide program that pairs her up with special needs students.
“She’s their friend; it’s not just a good deed for Molly,” said history teacher Deirdre Boyd. “She never treats people differently because of disabilities. I feel humbled by watching and learning from her.”
Molly has also been a part of the Interact Club, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Steamboat Springs, and is a member of Link Crew, where older students mentor incoming freshmen.
Molly plans to study education when she heads off to Fort Lewis College in Durango in the fall. Her mentors believe Molly’s kindness and generosity will make her a great teacher someday.
“My parents taught me how to forgive and how to be kind,” Molly said. “It’s a bigger deal than people make out. At the end of the day, being kind is what is important in this world.”
Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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