Interview with Zoe D'Angelo \ Submitted by Lauren Hudson Nomination and Photography by Cynthia Schoettker Kentucky
The Nomination: Lauren Hudson has become a playwright, award-winning screenwriter, and a four-time published author, including books in her Ascension and Students Leading America Series. An Independent Author of the Year, state champion mock trial attorney, Cappie-nominated actress, and all-region soccer player, Lauren Hudson attributes her success to faith and God’s blessings.
How did you become interested in writing books?
For as long as I can remember, I have read practically everything I can get my hands on. When I was 13, my Dad asked me if I wanted to co-author a teaching book with him. Soon after, the book went national, which gave me the opportunity to pursue a young adult fantasy series of novels.
Tell me about your two series of books?
The series that I am working on with my dad is called the Students Leading America Series, which combines fiction and nonfiction to teach teens about business, government, and life in general. The second book, entitled It Can Be Done, comes out this spring.
However, my true love lies in The Ascension Series. This young adult fantasy series tells the stories of triplets who can see the past, present, and future. The final book in the series, The Redemption, will be released in 2020.
Where do you acquire inspiration for books?
I truly believe that it is easier to write about what you know, so I draw inspiration from themes with which I am familiar. For me, it’s family and faith. In fact, nearly all the stories in both series combine family with an emphasis on hope and optimism for a better future.
Tell me a little bit about being an Independent Author of the Year.
Although being Independent Author of the Year has gotten the word out about the books, the publicity is not the reason I write. When I see a young reader bring well-loved copies of my books to my signings, I remember why I tell the stories that I do. I think that is a part of every author’s dream – to have people love your characters as much as you love them.
Tell me a little bit about your side projects in playwriting and film screenplays?
In the 6th grade, I discovered a passion for theater. I was able to pursue this passion by adapting the first book in the Students Leading America Series into a play and the books in The Ascension Series into screenplays. The latter did well at film festivals across the country and I hope the series comes to the big or small screen soon.
How did you become interested in soccer?
I’ve been involved in soccer for nearly my entire life; my parents put me in recreational soccer when I was just 4 years old. What I really loved about the sport is the teamwork and competition that it encourages. When a group of young ladies come together with an unselfish style of play and a desire to win, they have the ability to be unstoppable both on and off the field.
What are your plans for the future?
Currently, I am studying neuroscience and biology at the University of Kentucky. After graduation, I plan to attend medical school to help families in need by becoming a pediatric oncologist.
Interview by Lauren Michener | Submitted by Morgan Burleigh Nomination & Photography by Cynthia Schoettker Photography Kentucky
The Nomination: Morgan Burleigh is a Varsity cheerleader for her high school's football and basketball teams and is a member of the coed competition squad. She has an amazing ability to balance her busy cheer schedule with achieving the highest academic honors. Morgan believes no dream is too big to achieve!
Do you prefer competition cheer or cheering at games? I prefer competitive cheer. The crowd is much more engaged, and the anticipation of competing is exciting and intense. It's so much fun performing to music and showing off our elite stunting and tumbling abilities. Being on the mat for those 2 minutes and 30 seconds is an indescribable feeling. My coed squad just qualified for Nationals this February so to be able to represent my high school and perform on the nation’s most prestigious cheer stage is a dream come true.
With cheerleading mostly all-year round, how do you keep your grades up? The trick to keeping my grades up is time management. I am super organized and that has become a major asset to me as I balance my busy cheer schedule with taking multiple advanced and college level classes. I try to get as much homework and studying completed during free time at school, but if not, I do it as soon as I get home from school because most days, I have practice for 2-3 hours in the evening.
How does cheer interfere with your daily/social life? Cheer impacts my social life greatly. Between daily practices and cheering games, I am not home much, and I don’t have much free time during the week. I usually have one weekend night free to hang out with friends. However, I am blessed to have amazing friends who come to watch and support me at competitions.
Do you want to purse cheerleading after high-school? While I would absolutely love to cheer in college, I want to focus on a career and academic success in college.
What are some things that years of cheering had taught you? Cheerleading has taught me so many great things, but mostly dedication, hard work, competitiveness, teamwork, and sportsmanship. I use these qualities not only at cheer, but also in my everyday life. I have learned that when things get difficult, you can’t give up. You have to persevere and put in the extra work and effort. I’ve learned that things work best when teams pull together, and that praising others for their work and encouraging them is much more beneficial than criticizing others. The respect our squad has for each other allows our team to be successful in reaching our goals. Overall, the life skills I’ve learned from cheerleading define who I am and play a major role in my life every day.