Jeana Morrison describes her daughter, Allie, as "the strongest young woman I know."
With the passing of her father, "her strength to be able to attend school every day in the building where he should be teaching is the same strength Jim showed during his battle," said Jeana.
Allie, a quiet, determined leader on the Warren volleyball team, says it's a strength and courage she got from her father.
Photo by Denny Kyser
Warren Area High School senior Allie Morrison
"When it comes to strength and courage, I haven't shown nearly as much as my dad did," said Allie. "My dad fought brain cancer harder than I thought was even possible. I got my strength and courage from him."
Allie and her father have "a forever connection," said Jeana. "Her focus and drive to do everything she commits to at 100 percent is representation of that connection, because that was how he was.
"My dream for her is to be happy in life," Jeana said. "Our family learned too early how our tomorrows aren't guaranteed, so I want her to always be happy with her today. I hope that her hard work in high school pays off and affords her the opportunity to see her dream of attending PSU come true. From there, her opportunities will be limitless. I know that whatever she chooses to do, she will do it her way!"
A little "Q & A" with Allie Morrison:
Q: Who are your parents and siblings and what sports do you play?
A: My parents are James and Jeana Morrison. I have two brothers, Andrew, who is 21, and Aidan, who is 13. I play varsity volleyball at WAHS.
Q: You have shown a lot of strength and courage since the passing of your father. Can you share where you think you got this strength and courage from, and have you thought how this has changed you, made you stronger, or how you are choosing to carry his memory with you.
A: I think strength is something that you don't realize how much you have until being strong is your only choice.
I've changed immensely since the day we found out my dad was sick. I had to grow up a lot faster than most teenage girls, but I don't resent that. I've learned a lot about life in the past couple years and I think that gives me a bit of an edge over most girls my age. I've become different in the fact that I realize how short life truly is, and I don't want to waste it focusing on petty drama like you see daily in high school.
High school got pretty rough for me the past two years because everyday I see people who are more worried about what other people think of them than they are about their futures.
When you go through something really tough in your life you realize that that kind of stuff doesn't matter. My dad's passing really proved to me who my real friends were and brought me a lot closer to them. My best friend Bailey and I became inseparable and I'm so grateful to have a true friend like her in my life. My boyfriend Jason has also been with me through it all and he is my absolute best friend. His family has been so supportive and wonderful as well and I love them to pieces. I also have the best family in the world and I couldn't ask for a better or more loving support system. When it comes to carrying my dad's memory with me, it's not hard because he does that for me.
Anyone who has ever lost someone understands how there are just moments when you know that person is with you. My dad is that little voice in my head guiding me through my decisions every day.
Q: Tell me your favorite characteristic you think you got from your mother, favorite from your father, favorite from both, and one that makes you unique from your brothers.
A: I definitely got my sass from my mom! That's another thing that developed after my dad passed away; I speak my mind when I feel the need to. I also got most of my looks from my mom. I got my fascination with the world from my dad. I grew up with my eyes glued to Animal Planet and Discovery Channel, and I always like to know what's going on in the world. I got my academic motivation and skill from both parents; I'm a pretty good student. I've always been a naturally good writer and reader, and I think that's something I got from my dad as well. One thing that makes me unique from my brothers is probably my interest in a good book; I read a lot more than they do.
Q: What sports have you played in your lifetime, and what were your favorite memories from those sports.
A: I played just about everything as a kid. I played basketball, softball, and soccer for a long time. I was on the swim team from 5th-8th grade and I did track for a while.
Until 7th grade, I had never played volleyball at all. I fell in love with it pretty quickly and ended up dropping all the other sports I played and, in 10th grade, I started playing on a club volleyball team through the winter and spring to improve for the fall season.
My favorite memories include getting third in the state in minors softball all-stars way back in 4th grade. Beaty basketball was a blast, I had so much fun those two years and I miss it a lot. I have so many volleyball memories that I could write a book, so I'll leave it at that.
Q: I understand through a little birdie that the only college you've ever dreamed of considering is Penn State. How long have you wanted to go there and why? Did you even apply anywhere else?
A: Anytime I've ever imagined myself in college, I've always seen myself at Penn State. I knew about Penn State growing up, but it wasn't till about 6th grade that I really discovered it. I went to a football game at Beaver Stadium in 6th grade and the energy was just so infectious and drew me right in. Since then, every time I visit State College I fall more and more in love with it. I actually haven't applied anywhere yet oops. But I can apply to Penn State starting September 1st, so I'll definitely be doing that. I'm really not so sure that I will be applying to any other schools because I honestly can't see myself anywhere else. We'll see, I guess!
Q: How has it been being the sister to an older and younger brother? Andrew wants me to ask you who the smartest sibling is. I can see how it's been already!
A: It's certainly been interesting. I have the first born and the baby of the family to compete with. I am, however, the only girl, so I guess that makes it about even. Basically, anytime I walk into the family room SportsCenter is on the TV. I've sat through a lot of football games and baseball games. Nowadays there's almost always three-to-four 12- and 13-year-old boys running in and out of my house.
I do like to mess with Aidan sometimes, though, so that's always fun. I'm not so sure I need to say who the smartest is, considering Andrew recently broke the ceiling fan by spraying Febreeze in it to kill a fly and Aidan got his leg stuck in the railing of our front porch last week. I think that makes the answer pretty obvious. My brothers are both pretty funny, though. Andrew always manages to make me laugh with his numerous impressions; Bane from Batman is my personal favorite.
Q: Now he wants me to ask you who the best athlete is of you three? He says that always sets you off.
A: I'm actually going to have to go with Aidan. He's one of those kids who's just naturally good at things, which is totally unfair. I've had to work really hard to improve my skill-level in volleyball, where as Aidan picks things up pretty fast. Andrew was like that, too, I guess, but I think Aidan's going to beat us both out in the end. He definitely learned it all from his older siblings, though, so he has an advantage.
Q: Who is your inspiration and why?
A: I have many inspirations - My dad, for his strength and wisdom. My mom, for keeping our family on our feet through some really tough circumstances. My Grandpa and Grandma White, because they are the most loving people I know and have raised my entire family to be the closest and definitely the most awesome family around.
Anyone who has had to go through a terrible disease like cancer and shown strength through it all inspires me.
Q: What are your dreams for the rest of your life, job, etc.?
A: Well, I want to go to college and graduate with a degree in something in the health care field, probably Health Care Management and Administration. Then I hope to get a good job and my own place. As soon as I get my own place I will definitely be getting a dog! I love dogs, especially big ones, and I want a Golden Retriever or German Shepherd of my own, maybe both! Eventually I want to get married and start a family. I also dream of traveling a lot when I'm older. I've never even been out of the country and there are so many places I want to go. Going to Africa would be absolutely amazing, and I also want to see Europe.
Q: What are your goals for the rest of the season in volleyball, and also for the school year, athletically or otherwise?
A: I want us to win this year! We have been building our team up for the last three years and now is our chance to give it all we've got.
I believe in my team because I know that when we are really focused and on the top of our game we can compete with any team we'll face. Everybody better keep their eyes out for Dragon Volleyball this year because we have a lot of potential to do really well. I want to make the most out of my senior season as I can because it's the last one I'll ever have, and that's pretty devastating. When it comes to the school year, I really just want to get through it with a lot less stress than I had the last two years. My schedule this year is a little bit easier than it was last year considering I took a lot of hard classes last year, so I should have a little bit more time to breathe and have some fun as a senior too. I also want to get a lot done as co-president of the senior class this year; my fellow co-president and I have a lot of great ideas already.
Q: What's your favorite song?
A: Either "Give Me Love" or "Sunburn", both by Ed Sheeran. He writes some amazing tunes.
Q: What's your favorite movie?
A: Oh boy, this is tough because I love movies. Bridesmaids, Elf, Remember the Titans, Sandlot, and anything Pixar are all classics for me. I also love the most recent Batman trilogy, Argo, and any of those silly scary movies like Paranormal Activity.
Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I spend most of my time with my best friend and my boyfriend, just hanging out. I also spend too much time watching Glee on Netflix and scrolling through the internet. My best friend and I are a bit obsessed with the band One Direction so we spend a lot of time discussing them and went to their concert in July. I love to read books, so I do that sometimes. If I'm not doing any of that I'm probably playing volleyball.
Q: What will you miss most, be specific, about Warren Area High School?
A: The Flannel Panel. School spirit is one of the things I love most about Warren. When it comes to school itself, I'll miss a lot of the teachers I've had. Otherwise, there isn't a whole lot that I think I'll miss too terribly. High school isn't really my favorite place in the world, and I think I'll thrive in college. I obviously haven't had the best high school experience and I'm excited for a change. Of course I'll miss some of my classmates but I really look forward to meeting new people in college.
Q: Tell me one question I should have asked, but didn't, and then answer it.
A: What advice do you have for anyone reading this?
Don't take anyone in your life for granted. Life is shorter than you think, so make the most of it. Laugh A LOT! Be kind. Don't ever give up.