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.