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The City Journals

How a special friendship changed two Alta Hawks seniors’ lives

Jan 29, 2019 10:55AM ● By Jennifer Gardiner

Hanna and Bennett at Christmas performance. (Photo Courtesy Shana Davis)

By Jennifer Gardiner | [email protected] 

It has been a long three years for Alta High School senior Hanna Duncan. She has eagerly awaited the chance to be in the school’s Dancing with the Hawks competition. By the time the opportunity came, this teen didn’t just get her wish, she also helped change the life of her best friend in the process. 

Hanna, 17, is a member of the Alta ballroom team, and has had a special friendship with fellow senior Bennett Davis, 17, since their sophomore year. One that turned out to be life-changing for both of them.

“I was in the special needs seminary class when I met Bennett and he changed my life,” Hanna said. “His sweet words and funny sayings taught me a lot that year.”

It didn’t take long before the two became best friends.

Hanna said on the first day of her junior year her teacher announced that she still needed a tutor for a student in a foods class.

 “I immediately thought of Bennett and raised my hand to see which student it was,” Hanna said. “It was Bennett! I was so excited to work with him. I loved cooking with him and laughing together when he would try foods he didn’t like so much, and helping him make a cookbook of all his favorites from the year.”

Julie Duncan, Hanna’s mom, said after the foods class, they took yoga together and had a lot of fun and laughed a lot trying all the different poses. 

“I think one of the things that stand out to me as I look back and reflect on Hanna’s time in high school, it can be such a roller coaster of emotions,” Julie Duncan said. “There can be drama and ups and downs for a lot of the high school students and as Hanna went through some of these hard times, one of the things that got her through was her relationship with Bennett.”

Julie Duncan said the relationship was always constant, never really changing, and happy. 

“When things were hard, either a class she had to take or a situation at school, she always looked forward to seeing Bennett and being his peer tutor,” Julie Duncan said. “I think their friendship has been such a huge blessing to her and her high school career.”

Hanna said she has been waiting for the opportunity to perform during the competition that is only held once a year. It has the feel of “Dancing with the Stars” and gives dancers a chance to perform, and compete, in front of their friends and family.

“I have been wanting to do this with him for three years but he needed to be a senior," Hanna said. "We picked the song ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ for our Foxtrot because of his love of airplanes and anything in the sky; I’m so grateful for this sweet friend of mine.”

After two months of practice, the two stepped onto the stage in their sophisticated jazz-style attire, their bright smiles and the support of the entire audience.

The judges were especially fond of the two and loved their performance. The pair received one of the highest scores of the night.

“I just thought this was so cute. You have the greatest smile, I just love that,” said one of the judges. “You just looked like you were enjoying yourselves so much out there.“

The two also got another chance to perform during the Alta High School Christmas assembly held a few days later. 

The two explained how their friendship has blossomed over the years, and how much it means to both of them. For Bennett, however, it is apparent how much he admires his best friend and cherishes their relationship.   

“I have known Hanna since my sophomore year,” Bennett said. “Not as a freshman, cause I didn’t know her at the time. I am glad to have her as my ballroom partner.”

When asked about how he thought the performance went, Bennett replied with a huge smile, “She looks so cute,” Bennett said. “And she is a good dancer to me and my little princess.”