Interview by Larissa Chelius Submitted by Raley Blacklock Nomination & Photography by Gray Seniors
The Nomination: This is the second year Raley has been on my model team & she goes out of her way to help me and the team anyway she can. She does make-up and is always suggesting new ideas for styled shoots. Raley was a figure skater for 8 years and now plays Varsity Lacrosse. She volunteers at a local animal welfare center every week and fosters kittens. She has received highest honors every year in school, recently represented the Beta Club at Nationals in Robotics, and has been in the School of Arts for advanced theater for the last 2 years. She is a member of Young Life, participates in the YMCA food drive, and has taken French for 8 years. She aspires to be an actress and cosmetologist.”
How did you become interested in figure skating? For a while I lived in Colorado, and I didn’t have a sport to play. I tried a whole ensemble of things, but it wasn’t until I went to my first ice skating rink for a friend’s birthday party that I knew what I wanted to do. I saw a professional skater and realized immediately that I desired to be able to skate like that.
What kind of work projects have you done at your local animal welfare center? Every week I go and clean the shelter. This includes laundry, cleaning litter boxes, sweeping, mopping, and feeding (and loving on) about 95 cats. We had a tent at a community fair that I worked at to promote our kittens for adoption and looked for more volunteers. There was also an event that I worked at that was, in good fun, named Tacocat Spelled Backwards is Tacocat. It had all sorts of fun things like face painting for the kids and raffling for the adults.
How do you come up with ideas for styled shoots? like to believe I have a creative eye! I think the key is to be unafraid of messing up. It doesn’t matter if my ideas don’t turn out well, because there’s always a chance that they will be super fun! Seeing the beauty in opportunities that would otherwise be left untouched is something that I enjoy. Your shoot can be extravagant and well planned, but some of the best pictures I have ever taken were when it came naturally to me.
Has representing the Beta Club at Nationals in Robotics changed your life in any way? Absolutely! Through Beta Club, I have found that I have natural leadership skills. It has also made me more conscious of what’s happening in the world because all good leaders are aware. Beta has made me want to join more clubs, because I realized that being a part of things can make a difference, no matter how small it may be. Being a military child has also taught me the same thing. What are your plans for cosmetology? I am taking an advanced cosmetology course next year at New Horizons, a by-application addition to school. Through this course I will be given the chance to take the state test to get my cosmetology license. I will then take the test in other states to broaden my realm of possibilities. I have two potential college routes I might like to take as well in Wyoming or California.
The Nomination: - "I’d like to officially nominate Abigail Roby for the IT Girl of the day at Inspiring Teens Magazine. Abby is a pillar of my senior rep program and is always the first to volunteer for any event we have whether it’s from being in shoots, helping with the shoots, or helping with community activity. Abby was named Cadet Commander in her JROTC program and holds multiple records for PT training. She’s attended leadership events and puts her all into her program. She’s been recognized for her outstanding community service which is something that she is the proudest of. Abby has faced adversity in a male dominated program. She has been bullied and teased yet she has remained steady in her beliefs and has been an exemplary example of what a young leader should be. I fully believe that Abby has a very promising future ahead of her and I am so proud of everything she’s accomplished." Nominated by Samantha Tooley
Settled on the famous Ohio River, in a shallow curve on the edge of Kentucky, is Daviess County. A relatively quiet county that houses a powerful young lady; Abby Roby. She is an inspiration to many for her perseverance, strength and stunning accomplishments.
Five years ago, chance changed her life. In eighth grade, she walked out of the first day of volleyball tryouts only to be approached by Commander White, the senior navalist instructor of the ROTC program who had known her older brother. ROTC focuses on instilling the value of citizenship, service to one's country and personal responsibility in students. Abby was eager to join the coming fall and, though she didn’t know it at the time, begin the journey of finding herself.
It wasn’t long before Abby found herself learning lessons that she'd keep with her for years to come. After earning awards at both the local and national levels, she attended National Junior ROTC leadership training. It was here that her senior chief would tell her to "worry about the thing you can control and if you can't control them then don't worry about them". It was a statement that would help her through the hardest years that were still to come.
As a sophomore, she was bullied by many people, including her brother. The hard times took a toll and her grades dropped, she quit volleyball and began to lose herself in the work she did as the JROTC community service officer working in the community beyond her high school. The joy on people faces when she brought in 10,000 donations to local shelters kept her busy and gave her experiences that would earn her an award. She relied on her own strength and the support of her senior chief and friend, Michael Gatrost, to bounce back. She was able to work hard and rise above her competition to become her county's first female cadet commander, an honor she values as her greatest accomplishment. She's learned how to take charge and communicate properly with other. As a recent high school graduate, she plans to enlist in the Navy this August and continue to serve her country. And for all of us, she can remain a figure of great inspiration and strength.
How to brighten someone’s day with just a couple words on a gift bag
By Sarah Smith
I’m here with Ashley, Kaitlyn, and Emily Berger, 14-year-old triplets who create gift bags every year around the holiday time to be delivered to food pantries and senior living centers around Long Island. So, Ashley, how long have you been doing this and what got you into it? Ashley: We have been doing this for two years. We are participating in the congressional award and one of its requirements is community service. We went online with the help of our dad to find out places near by that needed help obtaining products and materials that could be used by people in need. We had previous knowledge of our local food pantry where we donated bags of personal hygiene products to help the people there. We also found Paumanack Village, which is section 8 senior housing, and also donated to and helped the people there.
What exactly goes into making each of the bags and how long does it take? Kaitlyn: The process incudes two trips to the store. For the first trip, we buy toiletries and other small necessities. For the second trip, we buy anything we ran out of the first time and some extra goods. We make about 100 bags, which are filled to the top and end up being the size of a basketball. We spend about four hours total assembling the bags and two hours buying the supplies.
Who makes and donates the bags to these particular places? What makes your bags unique? Emily: We are the only ones who make these bags. They are unique because we write personal, holiday, or inspirational quotes on them to make it a more personal experience for them.
What impact do you think the personalization has on the recipients? Ashley: The quotes on the bags really do mean something to them because its more personal and it shows that more effort was put into it. The people are very grateful, regardless of the words on the bags. The kind quotes are just another way to brighten someone’s day and go the extra mile to make them smile.
How does delivering them make you feel? Emily: It makes me feel good because I know someone in need is really appreciating it. It makes it more fun and personal to hand-deliver them. We get to talk to them for a few minutes and learn about their lives and families. It means a lot to me to hear how much they appreciate the bags and the quotes on them.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get involved in charity work? Kaitlyn: You should start out by researching areas in need near you. Contact them to ask what products they need more of. Kind of like what Ashley said, these small gestures mean the world to those in need.