Discus Award Winner
12th Grade, OH
I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa as a freshman in high school. I grew to loathe myself because of the way I looked. I wasn't as skinny or "perfect" as the people I saw in the media. Through counseling, treatment, help from my community, and prayer, I learned that I am truly beautiful the way that I am. I noticed that the view the media made me have on myself affected others just the same. From my experiences, as well as listening to those around me, I grew a passion for self-love and acceptance; more specifically, helping others achieve that. That passion sparked an idea: "Real Is Beautiful," a body image club I started at my school. We meet monthly to become educated on the media's deceptions, and how we can love ourselves. Through my struggles, I've learned that I can help others.
I have worked at benefit dinners held by my school for a teacher, who's daughter has a dangerous brain tumor, as well as a local, little girl, who also has a very dangerous form of cancer. I helped Mental Heath America by preparing nutritious meals weekly for a program to help underprivileged families. I am the Project Chairman of Prevent Assault and Violence Education, which is a program where teenagers who take a stand against bullying go into middle schools and teach the students about bullying, media literacy, and assault. I am a member of the Youth Leadership Council of Licking County, an organization in my community of students from the area's schools who take a stand against drugs and alcohol, and work to prevent and reduce it in anyway possible.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to grow up to be a singer. I have taken singing lessons, been in musical groups, and participated in countless rounds of karaoke. When I was a sophomore, I took place in my school's Spring Cabaret, which was "Glee" themed. I sang the song, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" by the Beatles. That was the first time I had ever really performed in front of my community, and after the show, everyone was shocked at the noise that came out of my mouth. The next year, I auditioned for the school play, "Les Miserables," and got the role of "Madame Thenardier." My role was the comic relief, and I had so much fun playing her. After the show, strangers told me how much they loved me and that I did great. With every chance I get to perform, I get to share a piece of myself.