By Adriana Yarkin, Copy Editor
When most students are fast asleep, senior Tobin Vaughan lies awake. Her sleep pattern, which is nearly the reverse of what is considered normal, is the result of a severe case of Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome (DSPS).
The syndrome caused Vaughan to miss what she estimates to be half of the school days between the 8th and 10th grades. Since then, with the help of both Student and Family Link, she has made up most of her work — studying during the night and sleeping during the day for much of it.
She is set to finish her remaining credits during the fall semester of 2018, and will receive her diploma in January of 2019.
Because of this Vaughan will not be allowed to walk with her peers at this year’s graduation ceremony. Though she will likely be offered the opportunity next year, Vaughan does not feel that she can accept, as it simply won’t be the same.
“I want to walk with the people I’ve grown up with,” she said. “I don’t want to walk with people I don’t really know.”
Vaughan has grown up on Vashon her entire life, and has been a part of the public school system since first grade.
Her case of DSPS is largely stress-induced, and started affecting her partway through her eighth-grade year.
“My dad was an alcoholic,” Vaughan said. “When he would drink, I would have to call my mom to pick me up, and I would stay with my mom.”
Her stress increased when her dad passed away at the beginning of her junior year.
“[Then] it got even worse when my grandma and uncle completely shut me out of everything that happened after,” Vaughan said.
After missing two straight months of school in eighth grade, she began to work with the school to figure out what to do. This process, however, found itself to be slow — she did not officially make the switch to schooling at home until a few weeks into her junior year.
“I think I should have been in Student Link from the beginning of high school,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan is grateful of the support she has received from the school district throughout the process, and has maintained strong enthusiasm toward pursuing her education despite her setbacks.
Vaughan plays on the tennis team, placing third in doubles at the league championships, and fifth in doubles at the Tri-District tournament. She was involved in Queer Spectrum Alliance as well as Japanese club — even though she was taking Spanish at the time.
“I want to learn as many languages as I can,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan plans on attending college, and finds interest especially within mathematics and creative writing.
Finding inspiration in stories, she read a copious number of books as a child, primarily in the genres of sci-fi and fantasy.
Now, she likes to tell the stories herself.
“[Writing is] like being able to experience something you could never actually do yourself,” Vaughan said.
Vaughan’s sleep schedule has been slowly normalizing, and her mother has played a role in this.
“She’s been very supportive,” Vaughan said. “She’s always been there for me and of course provided moral support. She’s tried to help in any way she can.”
This summer, Vaughan plans to work as a camp counselor at “Pirate Camp,” help out at her mom’s clothing booth at the Oregon Country Fair and join a tennis group at the Vashon Golf and Swim Club.
Though she will not be permitted to walk, Vaughan will likely still attend the graduation ceremony on June 16.