Summer Steele Interview by Zoe D’Angelo Photography by Alyssa Chappell Photography. Florida Issue 15
The Nomination: I have known Summer for years and it was such an honor to be able to photograph her for her senior year. I am nominating Summer for the inspiring teen athlete because of her love for her horse. Riding horses, taking care of all the animals, and living on farm land is a lot of hard work. Summer loves spending time with all of her animals from her precious dog Jake to her horse Yager. Yager is approximately 10 years old they have had him about five years Summer's uncle adopted him from the mustang round up auction in Ocala. Yager was a bottle baby that was separated in the round up out west and adopted at an auction. Yager has a tattoo on his neck that signifies a mustang.
Hi my name is Summer Anne Steele. I am 17 years old and a senior at Keystone Heights High School graduating with honors. I am a customer service manager at a local grocery store. I have lived in Florahome my whole life and our family lives on a 50 acre ranch we call “Chaos & Critters Ranch”. We have had many different varieties of animals: cows, horses, goats, alpacas, chickens, dogs, cats, and rabbits. I became interested in horseback riding from the time I could walk. Yager is a 10-year-old mustang that was separated from his mom in the round up in Nevada and was raised as a bottle baby. While I love horses, I love dogs just as much. I saved my money at the age of 15 and adopted my first dog, Jake from a rescue in Brooksville, FL. He is an apple head tan colored chihuahua that is absolutely spoiled rotten with a feisty attitude.
My mom says kind of like me. :) I have always enjoyed living on a farm and wouldn’t want it any other way. It is peaceful, quiet, and relaxing living in the country. My chores over the years have been feeding up the animals, filling their water troughs, giving them baths, worming the animals, bottle feeding a baby calf that was rejected, mucking out the stall, assist my mom in giving shots to the animals, collecting eggs and dragging the field with my four-wheeler. On occasion I volunteer at the local Humane Society by walking dogs and help keep our little library stocked with books in the Florahome Palmetto Park. I have always planned to become a veterinarian for small breed animals. However, I am not completely sure that is what I want to do with my life just yet. I will attend Sante Fe College this spring and then transfer to University of Florida in Gainesville.
Summer was featured in Issue 15 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.
Holly Simmons Interview by Zoe D’Angelo Nomination & Photography by Daniel Simmons Photography Issue 18 | Sports Florida
The Nomination: Holly Simmons is a busy girl! She plays soccer, rides horses, plays drums and guitar, and still finds ways to volunteer! She was homeschooled from 3rd grade and graduated 7 months early. She gave over 200 hours to the American Red Cross while stationed with her parents overseas at RAF Mildenhall.
What were your experiences like being home schooled?
I really enjoyed homeschooling a lot. It opened the world for me in ways that it wouldn’t have if I had gone to a regular school. My experiences were unique. I had a lot of opportunities to travel and go out learning things hands on and I really enjoyed that. While we were in England for 4 years on military orders, I didn’t have to stay on a rigid school schedule, but rather, I could have a flexible one and, because of that, I got to have so many different experiences. I was also able to graduate a year earlier than most. I have to say, it did come with its challenges despite all these positives.
Tell me about your volunteering opportunities.
While we were in England, I really enjoyed volunteering for the Red Cross. Every summer, I was always helping through them. It stared at the Library on Mildenhall, I was always reading books, so getting to learn about how a library works internally sounded like a good opportunity. I went from volunteering at the Library to the Youth Center on Lakenheath. I adored those kids, and they were sad to see me go which made it even more rewarding because it showed they really enjoyed my company. The following year, I went to the Pediatric Care center in the hospital on Lakenheath where I found my true passion; Sports Medicine-like subjects.
What were your some of your favorite extracurricular activities?
I had a few favorite activities that I enjoyed doing. Riding horses, playing soccer, and playing instruments were my favorite out of all of them. When I was 6, I started playing soccer. I lettered as a sophomore in soccer while I was on the travel varsity team with Lakenheath High School and continued playing with another team as soon as we got back in the states.
I also got into playing the guitar at age 6. Two years later, in 2008, I started getting into playing the drums and was always told that I was my teacher’s fastest learner and I always amazed him. During this same year, I was given horse riding lessons for my 8th birthday and it was a passion that never died. To this day, I still ride, and I want it to follow me throughout my life.
What are your plans for the future?
I would like my future plans to involve being part of an equestrian team and to compete for Auburn university. I have taken a heightened interest in studying the biomedical field and becoming an equine vet. I love being around horses and I want to pursue something that I am passionate about for the rest of my life.
Holly will be featured in Issue 18 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.
Interview by Zoe D’Angelo Nomination & Photography by Catherine Cella of Joyful Reflections Photography Texas
The Nomination: Marisa loves horses. She wanted one but couldn't afford it. So, she approached a horse barn. When Marisa offered to do farm chores in order to ride and care for a horse, the owner graciously accepted. It's been 6 years. Marisa and Melody truly connect. See, dreams do come true!
How did your liking of horses begin? I began with my interest of horses when I was in kindergarten and participated in a summer camp, but I started taking regular lessons at Newberry Farm in Columbia in 5th grade. I am now a senior in high school and I love it just as much as I did when I was a kid!
When you offered to do horse chores, what were some of the things you had to do? I begged to start helping! I started with putting hay outside to our feeding area and it took me all day to complete because I wasn’t very strong. Now that I have been working here for about 6 years, I can finish things a lot faster. Other tasks that I had to complete was cleaning out the fields that the horses live in, filling all the water tubs, and other jobs would be to keep up the general cleanliness of the farm. I’ve begun teaching children that attend lessons at Newberry Farm and some of these kids are a part of our therapeutic riding program.
How often would you do those chores? I started out with helping on Saturdays, but last year I started working there on Tuesdays too. Ever since I have started volunteering there on Saturdays in 5th grade, I have spent almost every single Saturday there.
Tell me a little bit about Melody. Melody is a is very headstrong horse but is also a great to work with. When riding a horse, you are working to achieve something as a team and learn how to work together. She has things that are difficult for her to do physically, but she has been getting a lot stronger in the past three years that I have been working with her.
Do you plan on continuing to work with horses as you grow up? I would love to continue working with horses as I get older. It isn’t an activity that you can really grow out of. I would eventually like to own my own horse and either have it live at my house, or board it at Newberry Farm. I love all the aspects of taking care of a horse and being outside. I’m not sure if I would like to continue teaching as a profession though.