Finding Strength in Emma Joy

“A Long Story Made Short, Starring Everyone’s Favorite Newsgirl.”


For Emmy, ’cause of everything that you are and then some.


I met the eldest Padely on the strangest of terms, having sorta half known her from my Freshman year, yet not really ever interacting with her; her being my R.R. boss this year didn’t really help the situation. Yet, after months of building a strong friendship over the course of this year, I can say that never have I ever met someone who is the epitome of courage and dignity, while always holding onto the sweetest smile. Emma Joy Padelford is one of my closest friends, and for a good reason; her story is an inspiring epic that has faithfully held with me, thus I felt inclined to share her tale of excellence and admiration. 


Emma Padelford’s life has been an eventful one, to say the least. Sometimes they say that it’s impossible to tell the story of someone else’s life, which is fair, thus pushing me to do the best I can; they also say that the best stories start at the beginning, so I suppose I’m under some obligation to start there. ‘There’ being, California, but really Dallas, Texas (since she moved at a really young age, plus, California is gross, who’d ever want to start their story there?!). 


Miss Padely spent her true-youth in Dallas, initially moving there to raise a church but staying for a long while. Growing up alongside toothy-grinned southerners, while being enveloped by her Christian family, helped her grow in love and faith when it mattered most. 


“My life in Texas meant everything to me…even though I was super young, I was developing my faith a lot at that time,” Emma said with sincerity. 

Of course, not all good things last forever as we all know, and Emma would find herself moving to Arizona with her family where she’d remain a Desert Rat to the current day. The move was a tough one that deeply impacted her as a whole, including her social life and core values. 


“I started school [in Arizona] in the sixth grade, which was really annoying for me,” Emma said, noting how the shift from the cordial Southern environment to the bitter nature of the Southwest deeply affected her. Noticing just how rude people could truly be gave her some new perspective, one that she would hold onto throughout high school, noting: “As a kid you’re brought up thinking everything is all happy and there’s just joy in the world…I guess it helped me think more realistically about things.”


Speaking of high school, Emma Joy’s teenage years would definitely go the long mile in impacting her the most. Starting off her freshman year with few friends and little on her sleeve, the eldest Padely found that she’d have to take advantage of everything available to her in order to enjoy both high school and her life (and, spoiler alert, she did, duh). 


Whether it be her church group, or her growing interests in medical science, Padelford found a way. Her church group specifically would help her grow as a person, with her faith taking dominion over her life. 


“My freshman year was when I was able to grow the most in my faith; I’d say my faith was probably the most important thing looking over the entire course of my life,” Emma said. 


With Emma’s faith came a strong flow of strength and empowerment, allowing her to grow as a person especially in her values and personality. Yet, that wouldn’t be the only thing she’d work with to succeed; Emma conjoined her religious values with her struggle against Type-1 Diabetes in order to truly evolve into the person she is today, one that’s inspiring and courageous. 


After nearly being killed by her condition, in a story that I lack obligation to describe yet feel is necessary to bring up, Emma Joy found herself relying more and more on her Christian values; the constant hospital visits are what would garner her more courage, considering the hostile nature of a clinical setting and the horrific sight of a dripping needle. To be direct, the constant exposure and risks that came with her condition allowed her to build strength in her faith, as mentioned, but also in her courage and general; quite importantly, the nature of the situation would also amount to her growing love for the medical science field. 


“Being diagnosed with diabetes helped me overcome my fear of the hospital and doctors and all that and it actually inspired me to pursue my career in healthcare!” Emma said, noting that she’d love to be a P.A. (Physicians Assistant) in particular in order to have enough time to spend with her family while still maintaining a fluid and valuable career. 


Family, among other things, aren’t something that I’ve brought up yet, are they? I should probably take a break right about now to speak further on Emma as a person (and offer more credence as to why she’s amazing and one of my best friends). 


Emma Joy is one of those particular kinds of people that you can’t stay mad at; she’s helpful, kind, forgiving, honest – loving, brave, interesting and, well, joyful. I’m not sure if I can appropriately conjure up enough positive adjectives to describe her, because, while as a good friend of hers I have seen the dimwitted, annoying, and pesty sides of her, I think it’s probably best to just let her describe herself. 

“I have a lot of energy; I’m crazy, goofy, ya’ know?” said Emma, which made both of us laugh. She’s really just one of the most interesting and amazing people, which is usually impossible for me to say without sounding like a suck-up (but I mean it this time, I swear!). “I love people, I’m a people person; I’m also a people pleaser,” Emma said, the “people-pleaser” part of her personality being something that she’s had to fight off and develop throughout her four years at Ridge in order to grow stronger as a person. 


The love Emma has for her family is another big deal to her, stating that it’s “more important” to her than anything else in the world. The tight-knit, Christian values she has with her family of 6 have allowed them to all grow very close to each other. Her sister Ava Grace Padelford, the second eldest between Emma and her two brothers, is her best friend and the two of them can often be found goofing around in the newspaper class and outside of school. 


Anyways, back to her story; being the fantabulous crazy-goon she is, Emma grew a lot throughout high school with her faith and growing passions in the medical sciences. Through church in particular, Emma met up with a lot of close friends who she’s still growing with today. Growing more and more social, as well as more invested in her career interests, high school became an amazing experience for Emma (bettered by her experiences writing for the newspaper). 


Starting newspaper in her sophomore year, as previously mentioned, Emma would enjoy it a lot, noting that she has liked “seeing how it changes and and all that jazz over the years.” While it’s not going to be a part of the career path she has chosen, going off to GCU (Grand Canyon University) to become major in Biology, it’s definitely been an important part of her high school career.  


While her senior year came to a bitter-sweet early ending, getting to shed more of her shell in Newspaper, as well as finding new experiences with burgeoning friendships and the empowering long-distance relationship with her boyfriend Patrick Lewis (who lives back in California) have both been great experiences for her. 


I’m definitely excited to see where Emma ends up in the future (I know I’ll be forcing her to get coffee with me and the true-progenitor of the online newspaper Kate down in Phoenix at some point), but before she goes she has a few things that she’d like to let people know, both for their good fortune and so they can find the same strength and values she has over the years. 


“I honestly think that the world just needs more love in it, ‘cause, it’s just so dark all the time,” Emma said, “I think if the world just stops being so self-absorbed and takes the time to reach out to someone else for once we will be a lot more healthy.” 


Wanting the best for everyone and the world as a whole, Emma has made it clear that she encourages everyone to be their best selves, find their passions and try to make the world a better place through their efforts. 


The sole statement (well, that’s not entirely true, as Emma is a bottomless pit of usually-useful bits of wisdom) that Emma decided to share with the reader today and anyone else interested, is that you should “Always remember to give yourself a pat on the back, because you are good enough – you go girl! *laughs*.” This being derived by Emma’s previous issues with having confidence and faith in herself, something that took her a long time to destroy. 


I guess I could go on and on about Emma and all of the experiences that she’s had, as well as all of the delightful one’s that I’ve gotten to have with her. I mean, I say all of this from the bottom of my heart because I’ve seen her at her most vulnerable (and thus most lovely and transparent). From the trip to downtown Phoenix, to the time in which we carved a Shrek pumpkin (lovingly dubbed the Ridge Review Shrumpkin), I’ve seen the best of Emma Joy. She’s amazing, and I’ve never regretted a single moment that I’ve gotten to spend with her. 


She’s not going to be here at Ridge anymore, and thus she won’t be writing for the Newspaper or gracing campus with her ever-lasting toothy smile. I’ll be gone too, in good time actually, but I felt like it was necessary to offer at least the slightest bit of commemoration to her life and accomplishments. 


I consider her my sister for good reason, and while most of you may never get to enjoy the experience that is chilling with Emma Joy Padelford, sharing with our audience my limited view of her amazing life-experience, as well as the bits of careful advice she has to share, well, it was the least that I could do. 

I love you Adington! Ugh, I think I’m gonna pass out…” Emma to me on anesthetics while I was eating lunch, shortly after having her wisdom teeth removed.