Amanda Szymborski - Michigan Interview by Claire Plath Nomination and Photography by Rebecca Houlihan Photography Issue 23 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination:I met Amanda Szymborski about a year ago and immediately knew she was somebody special; she has a personality that exudes so much positivity and happiness. Things others say about her is she is always friendly and accepting. She sets an excellent example of work ethic by being in the National Honor Society, participating in school clubs, and being the varsity team captain for golf and tennis. Amanda has made an impact in the community through volunteering and assisting whenever needed. Amanda is someone who truly makes the world a better place and enhances the lives of everyone she is with.
How did you first become interested in tennis to now being the Varsity team captain for your school? I have “played” tennis ever since I can remember. But my version of playing was just hitting the ball in the street in front of my house with someone. I always enjoyed doing that so my freshman year I decided to join the tennis team, as soon as I stepped on the court, I knew I was meant to be there. I wasn’t very good when I first started, but I put a lot of energy and time into tennis year-round and eventually became one of the best players in the school. What is the Links program at your school and how did you become involved in it? The links program is when you spend an hour of your school day to help a student on the autism spectrum be social. Students on the spectrum don’t have the best communication skills so that is why you are there. I joined the links program when one of my teachers suggested I should participate in it. They thought I would be a great link.
Tell me a little bit about the student leadership committee and what your role is. The student leadership academy is a selected group of outstanding students: students that participate in class on a daily schedule, are kind and polite, and responsible. Almost every single Wednesday morning the group would meet up and we would have guest speakers who would teach us how to speak in front of crowds. Part of the leadership academy is we plan a huge party and we raise money to go towards local charities. Going through the process of the party we set up meetings with local businesses to try and get donations. With all the money we raise, we have to decide what to spend it on and how much to spend on things.
What responsibilities come with being a part of the National Honor Society? NHS requires you get at least 20 hours of community service per year. I like to spend my time at the local food bank and volunteering my time working at kids camps.
How have you managed to balance all the activities you are involved in while maintaining a strong academic record? I’m not going to lie it is very tough, but it is doable. Being involved with sports and other after school activities takes up a ton of time, but you just have to remember you are a student athlete. Being a student is always your first priority. On bus ride to games sometimes you have to study for that big test tomorrow or do your homework instead of talking to your teammates. If you’re stuck, your captain or other teammates probably took the class and can help you. All your friends want to hang out, but you have a boat load of homework, you might have to stay home and do your schoolwork over hanging out with friends. I maintained my strong academic by doing all the above, I would take my schoolwork to matches and miss out on times when my friends were hanging out, but it’s worth it in the end.
How do you keep yourself organized with everything you have on your plate? I always write stuff down in my reminders and calendar on my phone to make sure I don’t forget about something!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? I would tell them to never give up and always maintain a positive work ethic! Where you get in the future depends on what you are doing now, the amount of work you put into it. Everyone has bad days or weeks but don’t let it get in your head, prevail through the rough patch
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I believe I am so inspiring because I have the ability to remain free spirited in anything I do. I can adapt well to anything in any given circumstance, and love reaching out to new opportunities and people of all ages. I always maintain my smiling face and positive nature. I consider it an amazing blessing that I am looked up to by children, striving to work and become as talented, if not more talented than me, in the future. By seeing and observing my consistent, positive work ethic, I’ve learned and grown throughout the years. I hope this truly inspires many young people to always work hard and to never give up, ever.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that wasn’t in your nomination? I love to spend time with my friends! My friends mean everything to me and inspire me to strive to always become a better person each day and have helped to teach me so many valuable life lessons that have helped shape me into the person I am today.
Do you have a hidden talent? What is it? My whole life, friends and family always remind me of how determined and strong minded I am. Always striving to accomplish my goals whether they take hours, days, even years to accomplish.
Who do you find inspiring? I find all my friends, and parents inspiring and mind changing. All my friends have a special characteristic that no one else I know is anything like, they are all their own person each possess a valuable, inspiring, original outlook on life which has helped to shape my values opinions and beliefs. My parents both have a high education and worked their butts off in college to be as successful and diligent as they are today. Without all their lessons and work motives I would not be the person I am today.
Pizza or Tacos? Soda or Water? Cats or Dogs? Pizza but it has to be just cheese Pink lemonade mixed with sprite Dogs because they are so loving and loyal
3 Things on your bucket list I want to participate in a mission trip, travel through Europe, and lastly go to all the tennis opens (French open, U.S. open, Australian open)
Anything else you’d like to tell us? Recently, to add on to my tennis career journey, I found out I was named all state for 1 doubles! I consider it an amazing accomplishment, that paid off with long hours of practice, and by maintaining a thoughtful, persevering mindset.
Amanda will be featured in Issue 23 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!