What would you most like to be interviewed about? I would like to be interviewed about my desire to help other teens and the social club I created, Norton Modeling Team.
Tell us more about Norton Modeling Team. I got the initial idea for NMT after seeing senior modeling teams on social media, but I wanted to create something different than a senior modeling team. The name came from the town I grew up in. I didn’t know if kids from other areas would want to take part in NMT, but I knew I could get some local friends to participate for at least the first photo shoot.
When did you officially start it and how did you recruit members? I started it in September 2021 with our first open casting for head shots that was promoted on Facebook, on local community pages. We had people come from 6 different schools for that open call.
What is your team like? How many members do you have now vs when you started? The team is very diverse, I wanted to create a safe space for students to embrace themselves and feel unjudged. An inclusive team for all size, gender, race, faith, style etc. We don’t have an official number of members, because everyone is always welcome to participate or not participate, there is no obligation with this team. We started our first official photo shoot at Gypsy Grace and The Vintage Goat with 7 participants but have had shoots with as many as 22 participants.
What do you do in it to form bonds and create unity? At each shoot participants all talk before we start shooting, we have introductions etc. I try to have everyone understand their decisions on how they choose to live life is ok. Everyone is an individual and deserves the same respect as anyone else. We stay in touch through NMT social media and personal accounts.
Who takes the pictures? Chadwick Coots of Chadwick Photography in Norton, Ohio takes all the photos.
What have you learned from pulling together this group and running the activities? I have learned there are A LOT of details and work that goes into bringing a photo shoot together. From recruitment to finding unique collaboration locations, everything takes a lot of detailed work.
Photography by Chadwick Photography
What things do you love doing with your family and what is a tradition you hope to hold onto forever? I love gathering with my family. I love the noise and presence of all my family members. We are all so different, but we are very close. We may not get together often, but when we do it is like we haven’t been apart at all. The one tradition I hope I can learn and hold onto is making sausage and wine like my PopPop does. There is nothing like the food he makes homemade.
What will you miss most about high school and your time there? I’ve gone to the same school my entire life. I will miss seeing the same familiar faces I have gone to school with since I was in kindergarten.
What is a favorite memory with your friends? This is really a hard question because I have so many great memories with friends throughout my life. I’ve been lucky enough to share many adventures with my friends. It’s a tie, my top 2 favorite memories with my friends would have to be going on vacation with 8 friends to Myrtle Beach last Summer and the day I met our exchange student Lilly. Lilly is the sister I never had.
Photography by Chadwick Photography
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? That I love my family, friends and community. I’ve been very fortunate to grow up in a community that comes together to support each other. I love to volunteer; it makes my heart happy to do service for others. I enjoy lending a hand at our local food bank, pet shelter, library, camps, and city events. I’ve been awarded The President’s Volunteer Service Award 5 times for my service activities.
What volunteer opportunity do you spend the most time with and why? Currently I spend most of my free time working on NMT, because I never want anyone to feel let down or disappointed if they participate. I want everyone to have a positive outcome.
What is the President's Volunteer Service Award and what did you need to do to be awarded this prestigious honor 5 times? The President’s Volunteer Service Award was first awarded in 2003, it is a civil award that is awarded in recognition of outstanding volunteer contributions in community service to the United States. I was first awarded this honor with my Girl Scout Troop. Our troop would volunteer at all types of service events around our local area. I personally also volunteered with various organizations such as the local library Summer program, camp invention science camps, food distribution, holiday gift collection/wrapping/distribution and Safety Town for incoming kindergarteners.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be and why? If I were to have the ability to make a presentation of my choosing to my peers it would be about building themselves and others up. I believe my peers should be able to have a creative outlet to express, embrace and help improve themselves. Everyone has gone through a rough time in their teen years and deserves something to help make those times brighter.
Why did you choose Chadwick Photography for your senior photographer? How did you plan for your shoot and what was the day like? What did you love most about it? Chad first took my photos for family photos when I was 10. My parents always talk about our first shoot we ever had with Chad because a popup rainstorm happened in the middle of the shoot, and we kept going. I have really built a relationship with Chad over the years, and I know that if I ever am in a slump, not feeling myself or going through a rough time in life, he uplifts me. No matter what my attitude is or how rough my day is Chad has always been understanding, happy and encouraging. For the first part of my senior shoot, I was riding home from dinner in Akron, Ohio and my mom spotted a small park. We stopped and loved the space in Cascade Park. The evening we did my shoot it felt like it was 100 degrees outside. Chad met us at the park, and we walked around to the different areas to decide where to shoot first. Once we started the shoot, we just took our time and moved around because we were alone in the park because we started around 8:30pm. What I loved most about my shoot is that I got to be in sandal slides for comfort and that no one ever recognizes the park in my photos.
Photography by Chadwick Photography
What is the hardest thing you have ever accomplished, and how did you do it? The hardest thing I have ever accomplished is maintaining a good relationship with both of my parents after my parents decided to separate. I was able to do that with family and friends support as well as my parents helping find me a great therapist to help me in this life changing journey.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? Don’t be afraid to ask! The worst response you can get is no, but you can also get a yes.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? In 5 years, I see myself in medical school. My plans currently are to attend The University of Akron and work towards becoming a psychiatrist.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? Traveling! I absolutely love to travel.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? Yes, I’m double jointed in my arms. I can totally rotate my forearm.
3 Things on your bucket list 1. Go on African safari 2. Meet Kendall Jenner 3. Learn to speak fluent Hungarian
Who do you find inspiring? Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was never afraid of a challenge or to use her voice for others.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us? Yes, I love to ride dirt bikes. My dad taught me how to ride and the mechanics of them when I was about 4 years old. Look for Alura in issue 53 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!