After graduating from Liberty High School on Saturday, Delaney Putt will prepare to pull up roots for the next phase of her life — even if she’s not yet sure what parts of her high school experience she’ll bring with her.
After graduating, Putt will attend Rider University in Lawrence Township, New Jersey. She is currently undecided on a major but is considering communications. She also plans to continue playing softball while in college.
In this next phase of her life, she’ll be moving away from her support circle and her family, whose support has come in a variety of forms.
Her father, Jonathan Putt, can talk about her not only from the standpoint of a parent but also as her guidance counselor.
“She’s very strong-willed,” he said. “In my recommendation letter that I wrote for Delaney, I described knowing her as a high school student for four years but knowing her as a person for 18 years. She’s a student that will stand up for the rights of others, always will tend to step in if something’s not right.”
Putt plays softball and soccer, and she sings in the school choir — including at her own graduation.
“In her spare time, she’s either singing at school or singing with the choir; she traveled overseas with the choir and has since been traveling to experience some other cultures,” Jonathan Putt said. “She’s on the travel softball team and does that throughout the year; even in the snow, she’s doing indoor.”
Putt’s softball team recently came in third place in Wins for Warriors, a Memorial Day softball tournament.
She has learned and gained multiple skills from her extracurriculars at Liberty.
“Confidence, learning how to deal with different types of people mainly because there’s a lot of personalities you encounter throughout your life and I think I encountered a lot of them by now,” Putt said. “And how to deal with people with conflicts, especially with competitiveness.”
With her father playing three different roles in her life, she got a full amount of support and involvement from him, including in her extracurriculars.
“I’ve been her soccer coach since kindergarten as an assistant or as her coach growing up through the Freedom Area Rec Council,” Jonathan Putt said. “I also was involved, in some form or fashion, as a softball ball coach since probably around seventh grade.”
Putt’s parents were sure to support her endeavors but also made sure she stayed on top of her grades.
“My parents are very supportive in any aspect,” Putt said. “They always said student-athletes, student comes first. So, even with my travel softball team, if I had to skip a practice to work on a project or do homework, they let me, and they were very supportive of that. With my grades, they definitely kept an eye on them — they gave me my freedom, they didn’t shove things down my throat like ‘do this, do this, do this,’ but they had gentle reminders to keep me in line.”
Putt has also enjoyed sisterly support from her younger sister, Kylie, who is now a sophomore at Liberty.
“I had trouble in ninth grade making new friends after middle school, and she was really there for me during that time,” Putt said. “We share a lot of the same interests, it’s not that hard to bond.”
When Putt attends Rider University, she plans on doing work study while continuing her athletics.
“I plan to join a club or intramural softball team at my college,” Putt said. “I plan on doing work study in college, anywhere they can put me. My mom, she worked in the library at Towson for her work study and she said it was like the best job ever because she just got to sit and do her homework behind a desk while helping people.”
Putt also is striving to do the Disney College Program.
“I only hear good reviews about it,” she said. “The application hasn’t come out yet, but I’m applying every single year. That’s like my dream job, I’d say, working for Disney in some capacity because I just love it so much. So, probably if I ended up having to pick [a major] now, it’d probably be communication-wise, like helping people in some way.”
Even though she had troubles making friends when she started high school, she doesn’t think that will be a problem in college, thanks to social media.
“I’m already connected to so many people going into my college — I’m talking to them over Snapchat and over Facebook and over Instagram,” Putt said. “I feel like after that, I’ll have a good basis going in, but everyone always has like a rough time making friends, but I know when you’re going to college, everyone wants to make friends. So, I don’t really see myself having a rough time.”
Finding a balance
Putt was able to maintain As and Bs for the majority of her academic career while singing in the choir and playing two sports.
“I’ve always been a person to do my homework, I never slacked off in that department, but this year I took four AP classes and the workload from each of them was a lot so trying to balance workload and having a life outside of school with my sports and chorus — it was a lot to adjust to,” she said. “When I came in as a freshman, I took AP government and that was a big wake up call for me too because, obviously, taking an AP class as a freshman was a lot to deal with, but I made it through.”
Putt says she was able to balance her extracurriculars and schoolwork all through trial and error.
“Freshman year, especially with my AP gov, a lot of the kids would have to do vocab cards for the chapter, a lot of them would save them for the night before and I quickly realized that is not a smart idea,” she said. “I really just split it up like do an hour of this a night instead of sitting down and doing four hours of it the night before. If you know you have practice that night, you come home right after school, you do half of it, you relax a bit, you eat dinner, you go to practice, you come back, you finish.”
Dad at school
One of the worst nightmares for many students is having a parent work at your school, but for Putt it wasn’t bad at all.
“I didn’t have any problem because if I had a problem in the middle of the day, I’d just go to guidance and I’d see him,” she said. “Obviously, in some aspects, I couldn’t always go to him because he wanted like an outside perspective so the whole counseling office, as a whole, was very supportive of me and they were so kind to me and my sister.”
As a student facilitator and the daughter of a guidance counselor, Putt knows the importance of what the counselors do.
“People just assume they do recommendation letters and they do scheduling and that’s it, but they do so much more,” Putt said. “Especially behind-the-scenes stuff like crises and trying to fit every person’s needs into their schedule.”
To the next generation
For future Liberty High School students, Putt shared her advice on how to make it through.
“Listen to your teachers, do your homework, it’s the only way you can achieve what you want to achieve,” she said. “Believe in yourself probably more because high school is a difficult time for a lot of kids and it’s hard. People think they need to find themselves right away, but you don’t have to fit into a specific group, like a social norm — you can be who you want to be.”
As Putt prepared to walk across the stage Saturday, there were some things she said she would miss in the next stage of life, as well as some things she won’t.
“It’s hard going from class to class to class, and I really appreciate the breaks I’m going to have in college,” Putt said. “What I’ll miss — probably connection with teachers because I don’t know how it’s going to be in a college, that much. Having a good connection with teachers and being able to openly go to them and have that extra help if you need it.”