What’s It Like To Be The Happiest Person At WHS?

Here’s an interview with junior Rachel Wagner who is unarguably the happiest person in school -- maybe on the planet.


Megan Stewart, Editor-In-Chief

Can you describe yourself in three words?
I’m always happy, very positive, very optimistic.

Pictured from left to right: Rachel and her twin Jennifer.

What do you love most about yourself?
Probably that I’m outgoing, always able to see the bright side of things, rather than focusing on the negative side.

What makes you happy?
Spirit days at school–one of my favorite things ever, seeing my teammates succeed/meet goals, freshly scooped ice cream.

From left to right: Ghazal Adibi, Rachel Wagner, Madison Stanca, Jennifer Wagner.

What makes you sad?
Not much that makes me sad. I think it makes me sad when other people are sad. I’m a pretty emotional person. When someone that I’m close to is feeling really down, that makes me sad. It makes me sad when people around me are unhappy or not getting along. I wish everyone could get along, but I know that’s not possible, not always. It makes me sad when my cat doesn’t sit on my lap and when she ignores me! That’s probably what makes me the most sad.

Are most people optimistic or pessimistic?
I feel like a lot of people these days tend to be pessimistic, we need more encouragement and people building each other up instead of tearing each other down.

What do you like most about other people?
I just like the good in other people. So, I guess, people that help each other out. There are a lot of good people in this world, not everyone’s bad. I really like most people.

Do you like to spread the joy, and if so, what are some things you do?
I do like to spread joy. I like seeing other people and putting a smile on their face. I don’t know how I do it. Sometimes I try to be funny; sometimes it doesn’t work out. But sometimes it’s funny how I’m trying to be funny, so then it just is funny. A big motto of mine is to treat others how you want to be treated. So, I always treat other people with a lot of respect and treat them in a happy way so they’ll be happy too. I like doing little things for other people. My sister was having a really bad day a couple weeks ago, so I went out and bought a cupcake for her, and that made her day.

How do you keep a smile on your face even when it’s hard?
I honestly don’t know. There are a lot of times when I probably shouldn’t be smiling, I guess.
Even now I’m still smiling. I don’t know; it’s part of my personality. And, you know, for me, I don’t want to focus on the negative, I want to keep a good view. If you feel good, you’ll do good, if that makes sense.

Is your whole family that happy or just you?
Is my whole family as happy as me? I think so.. We’re a pretty happy family. We have a lot of good laughs.

Are you the comedian in your house?
I don’t want to take all the credit. Jennifer [twin sister] and I are the comedians in my house. We laugh at a lot of things the rest of the family doesn’t understand — it’s a twin kind of thing. But I’d say that I do take part of the comedic happenings in this house.

From left to right: Jennifer, Rachel.

Do you know how you developed this personality? Is it from your parents, or just your disposition?
I think it’s a little bit of both. Growing up, my parents and my family, we were always really close, we always had a fun time, and they raised us pretty well so we weren’t exposed to anything really negative or anything like that. So we were always exposed to a happy, joyous environment. But also, a lot of it is based on the people I’ve met, the experiences I’ve gone through, and my outlook on life.

How do you counter stress?
I don’t get stressed out that much. But when i do get stressed, I just think, I gotta get through this now, and I’ll be fine later, which kind of applies a lot to school work because I can kind of get stressed out thinking about what I have to do. So, when this test is over, I’ll be fine, so I got to chug along the choo-choo train track and just get through it. That helps me get through the stress, but I’m not a very stressed person.

What makes you laugh?
Everything makes me laugh. I think everything makes me laugh. I laugh at everything. That’s the same thing said in three different ways. You should see me at swim practice and parties and stuff — I laugh at everything. Even things that aren’t funny.

How do you feel about the word “hate”?
I feel like it’s a very strong word. I feel like you can only hate someone or something in a very, very extreme circumstance. And people say they hate things when they really don’t hate them because I feel like hate has a very strong negative connotation. So, I mean, I don’t think it’s a great word because I don’t think you can hate something or someone because in the end, I think you can except it someway or somehow or just being okay with it.

What are some fun things you do?
I play with my cat a lot. I think that’s fun. I like to go to dinner with my friends and get ice cream. I love hanging out with the swim team because those are some pretty fun times. Oh, and spending time with my family, that’s fun. We have a lot of fun times. Like in the summertime we go to the beach, and let me tell you, it is an experience.

What annoys you?
So my pet peeve… I don’t like when people walk slow in the hallway. That kind of annoys me. I have places to be and people to see. I don’t have time for slow walkers. I get really annoyed sometimes when I’m driving in the parking lot going home after school and then the parents they go from the parents’ student pick-up line to the student line when everyone’s trying to get out of school. I’m just waiting for the day when one of those parents hits me. I think that’s my biggest pet peeve. When people don’t use their blinkers or their turn signals. I need to know where you’re going.

Do you let these things fluster you or do you overcome them somehow?
They fluster me in the moment, then I get over it. And I just wait for the next time but then it happens again, and I’m like, “Eh, it’s ok.”

What’s your favorite color?
Purple. Funny story my room is this really pretty lavender color.

Favorite food?
Ice cream. Specifically black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream from Graeter’s.

Favorite Song?
Oh my goodness, I’m not sure I can give you a favorite song. But Bruno Mars is my favorite artist, and if he were to have a concert in Cleveland again, I would go and see him in a heartbeat. I love him so much. But my favorite song might be “I Got A Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas. And I like “Just The Way You Are” and “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. I also really like “Glorious” by Macklemore.

Is it hard to always be happy?
No, I don’t think so. I think it’s really easy to be happy. But sometimes it’s hard. When I had my shoulder injury from swimming, it was kind of hard to be happy then because when I went to swim practice, I’d watch all the swimmers swimming and doing what I wanted to do, and I couldn’t do it just because I was hurt. That was hard to be happy. Other times, it’s pretty easy to be happy. But also I think that being happy isn’t exactly what I am all the time. I am a pretty happy person, but a lot of it comes from being very optimistic and looking for positivity rather than just being happy. I think that they’re different, separate things, but all the same thing at the same time.

This swim season, you finally got the times [swimming times] that you were looking for since Freshman year, and you’ve had to overcome struggles in swimming. How did you overcome all that to be where you are now?
I think it was definitely very, very difficult for me. I learned how to listen to my body and know when I need to stop and rest. I’d say it took a year, or 14 months, to be back and pain free and not have any more problems or anything. I’d say I haven’t had any pain for probably a month now. It’s been very nice. This whole experience helped me grow as a person. I really do agree with Kelly Clarkson, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” That didn’t kill me but it made me a stronger person who’s able to look at it like, “Oh, this may not be going how I want it to go, but I’m still here, doing what I’m doing, still being successful in a way.” I’ve definitely, definitely, 100% grown as a person. I’ve learned how to deal with tragedy or bad things that happen which I wasn’t the best at dealing with before then.

Do you see yourself as being under pressure as a role model to others?
Sometimes. In the summertime, I coach for a swim team, and all the little kids really look up to me a lot. Then they cling on to me and are always around me and talking to me. I think, in situations like that, it’s important to be a good role model. And I want to be a good role model to other people. In this society, there’s so much pessimism, that I feel like I need to spread optimism.

Is there a certain person or role model you think your personality comes from?
No, probably not. My role model is myself. That sounds kind of narcissistic, but I strive to be the best I can be.

What place makes you happiest?
I’d say Texas. I love going to Texas.

Sarah Wagner, Rachel, Jennifer.

Anything else to say about being happy?
There’s a quote that pretty much sums up my attitude/outlook; it’s from Audrey Hepburn, “the most important thing is to enjoy your life — to be happy — it’s all that matters.” Always look to the bright side. Always have faith that everything will work out. In my experience, everything tends to figure itself out, even though it might take 14 months to do so, it’ll work itself out. And you’ve got to stay positive. You know, happiness is a lifestyle. Happiness is strong.

Happiness is a lifestyle. Happiness is strong.”

— Rachel Wagner