Mary (Emme) Pianfetti Interview by Larissa Chelius Nomination by Evangeline (Vanna) PIanfetti Photography by Liz Brunson Illinois
The Nomination: Emme balances her diving, cello, community outreach and grades all with a smile. Six days a week you can find her at the pool after school practicing her dives for 2 hours and two morning a week, she's working at the gym for an hour conditioning. But this isn't enough - she's also a cellist with the Eastern Illinois Youth Orchestra. In between, she focuses on her school work maintaining a 4.0 GPA while giving back to her community through the Fellowship for Christian Athletes, Best Buddies and Lead4LIfe programs. As her mom, she inspires me every day with her belief in her faith, her friendships, and her hard work to reach her goals.
How has diving impacted you? Diving has taught me a lot about perseverance, and grace in the face of failure. There are many times when despite how many hours I have trained, I did not get the results I wanted. But I did not give up and I continue to work hard and get better with each practice, and with each meet. I have learned that I am defined not by how well I do at the meet, but how I handle the outcome. This helps me in dealing with my grades, in being a better friend, and a better sister and daughter. Tell us about your cello and Eastern Illinois Youth Orchestra Cello is something that has always held a special place in my heart. My grandparents bought me my very first cello when I was first learning. Since then, I have always come to think of music as an extension of who you I am – you don’t have to be the best at it – I know I am not the best – but, I work very hard and I take advantage of opportunities that come my way. I don’t know what the future will hold for my cello and me, but my cello teacher and being part of the Eastern Illinois Youth Orchestra has inspired me to want to continue playing.
How do you balance your time? Balancing time has always been a struggle for me. But I’ve gotten better because I’ve learned that if you focus on exactly what needs to get done and make good “to do lists”, you can accomplish a lot in each day. For homework, I make good use of my study halls, and for practicing cello I do that at the end of the day because it is one of the things I most enjoy – so I put it last to motivate myself to get my other work done. I’m also a night owl so that helps me stay up longer to get my work done, but harder to wake up in the morning!
What activities do you do in your community? I have had several adults and coaches who have inspired me and given me courage to accomplish more then I believed I could. When I pick activities to be involved with, I try to do those that allow me to give back. My favorite activities include Best Buddies at my High School because it allows me to connect with students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and Lead4Life which encourages me to engages with other high school students while we envision our futures, and start finding ways to make difference in our schools and community. As a leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I can share my faith with other students while applying the character, strength, and value we talk about into our sports.
Mary (Emme) Pianfetti was featured in Issue 15 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.
Nick Hart Interview by Larissa Chelius Nomination and Photography by Jolene Broad Photography Indiana Issue 18 | Sports
The Nomination: Nick Hart was diagnosed with Type I diabetes his junior year in high school and has had to fight to handle his disease and continue to conquer his sport. He is an incredible role model. Love him dearly.
How did you become interested in diving and how did you start? I was a gymnast when I was younger. My mom read about diving online and thought it would be a better fit for me. She signed me up and I instantly loved it! I went through lessons and then I joined club diving and started competing.
What is your daily diving schedule like? I get up every morning at 6:00am to be ready to leave my house at 6:45am. I have a one hour and fifteen-minute drive to get to practice by 8:00am for dry land. Dry land goes to 11:00am. I then have a one-hour break and start water practice (actual diving) at 12:00pm. I normally go until about 2:45pm or 3:00pm. After that I do either a weight or jumping workout for roughly thirty minutes. When that’s over, I drive home and start school (online school).
Tell me a little bit about your favorite dive. My favorite dive would probably be an inward two- and one-half pike on three meter (405b). Basically, I stand backwards but flip forward in a pike position for two- and one-half rotations. This is my favorite dive because of how it feels. It feels different from any other dive and I love the uniqueness of it.
How have you grown through your fight of Type I diabetes? I was diagnosed just under two years ago with type 1. My diving and really everything in my life had a huge decline. It was incredibly hard for me to adjust to my new lifestyle and I couldn’t seem to get into the flow of things. I went through a really rough patch for a while until I got more accustomed to living with diabetes. Eventually, I didn’t think of diabetes as something really life altering (although it is) and it was just a part of my life. I think my experience has given me a new perspective on the world and life in general.
What plans do you have for your future? I am committed and signed to dive for Cal Berkeley. I will begin diving and taking a class this summer on June 24th! I hope to get into the business school there. After my undergraduate studies, I plan on trying to attend Law school.
Nick will be featured in Issue 18 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.