Humans of LQHS: Kaili Timberlake and the glass-half-full


Photo Courtesy of Kaili Timberlake; Designed by Trey Timberlake

It was Tuesday morning, March 13.

The day was sunny and warm, the sky suffused with the fluffiest of clouds, yet an eerie feeling lingered throughout the day.

Kaili Timberlake ‘24 walked with a sense of superiority—she was an eighth-grader after all—through the large gates that welcomed so many kids into John Glenn Middle School in Indio, Calif. 

She strutted over, as she so usually did, to the middle of the pavilion. Her powerful eighth-grade walk, combined with her Doc Martens boots, let anyone within a six-foot vicinity know that she had arrived.

She sat, talking and laughing with her friends—not knowing that would be her last time walking through those gates. 

Timberlake, a 14-year-old Taurus, was born two hours away from her home in the desert. She is an aspiring varsity cheerleader and someone who has learned the value of looking at the positives. 

As a freshman who has never stepped foot into La Quinta High School, she craves the high school experience and looks back at eighth grade wishing she could have savored even the most average of moments. She misses being social and she misses when she was able to watch TV without thinking subconsciously to herself, “Where are their masks?” 

“Even though COVID is such a weird [and] unnatural experience, [since] a global pandemic [is] not something we’re used to,” she said, “I feel like I shouldn’t look back on the pandemic with regret since I’m still living in it and trying to keep a positive attitude. I want to look back and be able to say that I had a great experience.”

This desire to be positive and to be able to claim the pandemic as a positive experience shows Timberlake’s outlook on today’s current situation. She chooses to see the glass as half full. 

This glass-half-full mindset embodies Timberlake’s outlook and is one of the many things that has kept her going through the pandemic. While just getting through the pandemic is a success within the climate of 2020, sometimes Timberlake’s glass is half empty. 

“I’m really hopeful that the world is going to go back to normal. Basically, I just want the high school experience,” she said with a sigh, “which includes going to and cheering at Friday night lights.”

Timberlake patiently waits for the day she’ll be able to sit in the stands at her first high school rally and football game, and the day she gets to try her first high school chili dog.

Even the simplest and most overlooked facets of the everyday life of a high school student is what Timberlake wants the most.

Yet, through the absence of normality, she has been able to keep herself inspired by revisiting old hobbies. 

“I’m about to sound like a total nerd right now,” she said, a self-proclaimed Potterhead, “but I’ve been really into reading. I just finished re-reading Harry Potter and watching all the movies.”

Her motivation further stems from the people who surround her.

“My dad inspires me the most,” Timberlake said. “He was a very successful lawyer. He [now] has his own business to support me and what I hope to do.”

Timberlake’s view of the pandemic, a view of optimism and positivity, while also daydreaming of the time she’ll be able to make her mark on high school, represents the perspective of so many freshmen.

“I want to look back and be able to say that I had a great experience,” she said. 

Humans of La Quinta High School is an ongoing series featuring Blackhawk students and staff. Follow us on Instagram @humansoflqhs and Twitter @lqhawkview