Interviewed by Larissa Chelius Nomination and Photography by Amber Reynolds Texas
The Nomination: I believe she is a great inspiration to others who may be fighting epilepsy as she does. She is fully active with cheer, showing her pig in the school’s AG program and many other activities in school. She is a beautiful young lady both inside and out. Her story is definitely one to be shared!
What inspires you to do the things you love while fighting epilepsy?
I think my faith with God has helped me a lot. Living with a disability can be difficult and at times, people don’t always understand some of the impacts, and that can be hurtful. I try to keep a positive attitude and when I am involved in something, give 100%. One thing we do is an annual car wash to raise money for Epilepsy Awareness. What we donate goes to camps for people with epilepsy, research and other things for Epilepsy. It’s great for people to volunteer and a way for me to give back, especially because I have had a lot of people support me over the years. I have a very supportive family that loves me a lot.
What advice would you give to other battling epilepsy?
It is important to live your life for who you are. I want to inspire others and show them epilepsy is just a part of me. I feel this could go for any teen dealing with epilepsy or any condition. Sometimes others can’t understand what you are going through and treat you differently- and that can be very hard. But don’t let that take away from what you want to do. I like to set goals, and many times it takes me extra work, or tutoring, or whatever that others don’t have to do, to achieve them. Don’t let disabilities take away from your dreams.
Image by Stephanie Fugina
What is the Ag program?
The AG program I am involved in at Centennial High School is FFA- Future Farmers of America. This involves learning about animals, machinery, plants and other things. I have raised pigs for four years and shown them at various rodeos through FFA. The program not only teaches you about American farming but provides leadership and life skills. I have been a member for 4 years and an officer for 2 years.
How did you become interested in cheerleading?
I joined a cheer team when I was 5 through the local football program. I loved it right away. It is great to be part of a team, making others smile and get excited about what is going on in the game. I use cheer to express myself and share my personality with others. My brothers played lots of sports and I saw how it was a positive impact for them in games.
What is your favorite part of cheer?
I love being part of a team and when we get the crowd up and crazy. Win or lose, the team and fans need to know we are there for them. I enjoy the stunts, the chants, and whatever it takes to get the crowd fired up and reacting.
What other activities do you participate in?
Cheerleading, being an FFA officer and raising a pig take a lot of my time right now. I also do volunteering through these groups. But I also like to participate in Young Life, a Christian organization. It has been a big help and influence in my life.