A place to call home
Junior Jordan Bordeaux is no stranger to the world of change. She has moved to nearly two dozen cities across the country
January 22, 2015
A hand raises among the students in AP Language and Composition. As the teacher’s eyes drift towards the bright girl sitting in the corner, a few students exhale, relieved they weren’t called on this time.
Many don’t know her first name. They couldn’t tell you who she is or what’s her story. But they silently thank her for always having the right answer and adding thoughtful commentary to the discussion, taking one for the team.
‘That girl’ is junior Jordan Bordeaux.
Every morning, she scans books before placing them on the library shelves, as part of her duties as a student media assistant. Bordeaux loves reading. It’s been a big part of her childhood. It’s why she decided to take the library position. The stories captivate the quiet midwest native and distract her from her anything-but-average life.
“When I read a book, it’s like I can escape into a different world,” Bordeaux said. “Like I can do anything or be anything. Plus I like looking for the different lessons the books have to teach. It just really calms me down if I am stressed.”
At times, books were the only stability she had. Bordeaux has gotten used to the idea of change and has become familiar to moving on and moving out.
Since before she started school, she has sporadically moved around the country. Occasionally on a whim, she would pack up her room, and within a few weeks, head to a new state.
From Oklahoma to Illinois to Minnesota to Wisconsin to Arizona to Michigan; temporary homes, packed boxes and moving vans depict Bordeaux’s childhood.
“Moving definitely can be a good thing, but there is a point where there is a lack of stability and that’s not good,” Bordeaux said. “Moving around a little is nice. Moving around constantly is not fun and is pretty hard.”
By middle school, she was able to transition to the unpredictable lifestyle that came with living with a single dad in and out of jobs.
“I guess after so many moves I just got used to it,” Bordeaux said. “I mean for me, it was just a part of life. I learned to dive in and work hard on my school work. Meeting people and friends just came along with it.”
Media assistant Mandy Miller, Bordeaux’s library supervisor, shared she has established a close relationship with her since she has started helping out in the mornings.
“Jordan is one of the sweetest kids I know,” Miller said. “She cares about everybody, she’s so helpful, I think she’s a really great kid. We brought her with our family to go apple picking, sometimes I feel like she’s one of my kids.”
Despite attending almost 20 different schools, Bordeaux considers school her safe haven, and the one place she can call home.
When I read a book, it’s like I can escape into a different world
— junior Jordan Bordeaux
“My childhood was pretty rocky,” Bordeaux said. “I have always loved school and as a child and even now, I think of school as a place to sort of escape to. I know I will be spending all day learning new material and I will have to work hard, but that is really calming to me. I know that I can go to the library and read like I love to do, and that I can see my friends.”
Through long rides to little towns and big cities in the passenger seat of old cars, Bordeaux would think about the possibilities ahead and the people she had to leave behind.
“I tried to stay positive for the most part,” Bordeaux said. “I would think about the friends I would make. If I got too upset, I would call someone I was close to and just talk to them.”
Out of nearly two dozen moves she’s made, Bixby, a small town on the outskirts of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was hardest for her to say goodbye to.
“Bixby was hard to leave because I have three younger siblings that live there,” Bordeaux said. “They mean the absolute world to me.”
She was bound by tense family issues and separated from her mother at a young age until a few weeks before eighth grade when she was also able to meet her siblings for the first time.
Bordeaux fondly remembers that sweltering summer spent on the boardwalk, watching the local battle of the bands and making frequent trips to the mall and dollar theatre with her family.
“I really loved it there,” Bordeaux said. “It’s nice because where I was living, I was less than five minutes from the YMCA and my sister and I would go and work out like two times a week. It is a nice town. I met some good friends there and with Tulsa so close there was always something to do.”
Learning to adapt became second nature to Bordeaux. In addition, she’s picked up new traits and talents at every part of her journey.
“I have learned that no matter where you go, there is always something you can learn or gain from it regardless of the situation,” Bordeaux said.
Currently, she is apart of the American Sign Language club, Pre-Med Club and Drama Club. She has experimented with a wide range of extracurriculars including softball and soccer to competitive drama and gymnastics.
“She does what she knows she should be doing now, she does not dwell on (her past),” Miller said. “I just think that’s really inspirational.”
Although Bordeaux enjoys participating in after school clubs to meet people with similar interests as her, if there’s one thing she’s learned from her travels, it is to respect others’ differences.
“I feel I have definitely learned how to accept people for who they are,” Bordeaux said. “That is the biggest thing. It is not about the color of their skin or their religion, who their parents are, or what economic standing (they) are. It’s about who they are as a person. So I have learned to try and accept people for who they are even if I don’t always agree with them.”