Juliana Conza - Virgina Nomination by Leslie Pierce Interview by Inspiring Teens Team Photography by Elite Photography Issue 39 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The nomination: Juliana is the most well rounded child I know. She balances SCA, being class president, cheerleading, field hockey, leadership positions in honor societies and so many clubs, all while maintaining a 4.1 GPA, volunteering all over the hampton roads at Filipino events, Navy sponsored Character Breakfasts, elementary school events, bible school, and so much more. She created Juliebug’s Bear Hugs at age 10 and has had multiple fundraisers for Asthma Awareness. Juliana inspires me so much because she always finds a way to juggle it all with a positive attitude.
Photography by Elite Photography
You really do a LOT! Tell us more about your leadership positions in your clubs. Kellam High School is full of so many clubs and activities for students to take advantage of. For me, I wanted to try everything out and see where my passions lay. I am a cheerleader at my school and was the captain of the JV cheerleading team my Sophomore year.
I have been my class President since my Freshman year. I love planning different events for my class, organizing fundraisers, and planning memorable events such as graduation and prom. In SCA I am an executive board member, and currently running for Vice President. SCA creates events for the school, such as announcements, homecoming, casholas, spirit weeks, and decorates the halls for holidays and awareness months.
In NHS I was the Junior Advisor, and currently in the running for Vice President. I helped organize and sign people in for NHS sponsored events, I helped find volunteer opportunities, and I helped come up with meeting agendas. I was a member of the Cultural Club at my school and helped plan the Cultural Festival, where I was able to Hawaiian dance and share my love of dance with everyone. I recently joined the Varsity field Hockey team last year and will be captain this year if we have a season. I am a Drama Thespian and have participated in numerous shows and musicals, and have even helped at the Summer Drama Camp and participated in Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat, which is where you collect cans instead of candy during Halloween. I am also a mentor for the Freshman through this program called advisory at my school. I want to be remembered as a student who promoted diversity and unity and inspire others to try new things and change the status quote.
Photography by Elite Photography
Why is leadership so important to you? How would you describe your leadership style? Throughout the years I have been involved with so many leadership workshops. I attended workshops at local high schools when I was in middle school, had the opportunity to go to VBLW, which is a weeklong leadership camp sponsored by the city for all VBCPS high schools, was a leader for the citywide Elementary School Leadership Workshop, and was a delegate and staff member for my high school’s leadership workshop.
Leadership has and always will be a passion of mine. Leadership, to me, is being a strong advocate and role model for your community and peers. Leadership is about guiding others to an overall goal. Leadership is an act of service. You serve your community and organizations. I believe that strong leadership is all about attitude. Keeping a positive attitude, even in difficult times creates a space that is inclusive and welcoming for all to be a part of.
As a leader you are looked up to, so it is very important that you are always giving the best version of yourself. As a leader it is important to establish trust, diligence, and grit amongst your peers because these three factors create a strong atmosphere ready to take on anything! I believe that my leadership style can be described as affiliative. I care so much about people and their emotions. I think it’s the best to understand people and get to know their story. You can create a friendship and an understanding for their strengths and weaknesses, and what amazing contributions they can bring to the group.
Tell us more about your platform for asthma awareness. When I was 10 years old I competed for the title of Miss Virginia Beach’s Outstanding Preteen 2013. For the Miss America organization, contestants must create a platform for something they are passionate about and raise awareness. I wanted to create a platform to fundraise for something and inform people about a topic that isn’t often talked about. I created “Asthma Awareness- control the disease”, and “Juliebug’s Bear Hugs”, which were both ways I was able to fundraise and spread awareness.
I read to many elementary schools throughout the years discussing the topics of air quality and the effects of pollution on lung development and breathing ability. I read a children’s book from the EPA called “Why is Coco Orange?”. It was so amazing to see how excited these elementary schoolers were to find out the air quality each day to make sure it’s okay to play outside, especially for their fellow classmates who have asthma. “Juliebug’s Bear Hugs” was a fundraiser I had to raise money to purchase asthma and allergy friendly teddy bears for children hospitalized with chronic lung problems and hospitalized because of asthma. This meant a lot to me because as a child I would constantly be in and out of the hospital for issues regarding my breathing. Playing sports still affects my asthma today, but I want to inspire others to not let health problems control their life. With asthma, it is important to know your body, know how to control it, and know ways to prevent an asthma attack. I hope that I can continue this platform and give more awareness to my community, and make it known. I want to fundraise more towards helping those who have trouble affording the medications needed to control their asthma.
Photography by Elite Photography
Tell us about the Rainbow Camper award, and how you got it. The Navy Seal foundation sponsors children whose parents are a part of the Special Warfare to go to camp every year. I went to this camp from age eight until I was twelve years old. It was the highlight of my summer and it was so exciting making new friends and creating bonds. At camp there are numerous activities to do there. There are land activities like zip lining, riflery, archery, climbing tower, field, martial arts, skateboarding, and so much more. In water there is sailing, banana boating, and kayaking. Each activity has levels going from Blue to green based on expertise. I didn’t know that a Rainbow camper even existed until my second to last year of camp.
I had levels from over the years, and when I saw my score sheet, I was determined to earn Rainbow Camper before my last year. I worked hard and got out of my comfort zone with many activities, such as riflery and skateboarding. Every day, with the support of my cabin mates, went to activities to earn levels. My last task was to go down a half pipe and stay on the board to earn Green and finally get the title of Rainbow Camper. I worked hard and kept falling and eventually had to stop because I hurt my leg so bad. I was so upset and hurt. I was determined to change my attitude and come back again next year determined to go down the half pipe. The following year, the second day of camp, with the help of one of my past counselors falling and showing me to face my fears again, I finally did it! To me this moment meant everything to me. It inspired me to work hard and take risks out of my comfort zone once in a while. Most importantly it taught me to be that role model that my counselor was to me, and to help inspire others to go after and accomplish their dreams.
Pick a place you volunteer at, and tell us a favorite memory of your time there. My favorite volunteer experience would have to be volunteering at the Elementary Schools for their Fall and Winter Festivals. I absolutely loved these events growing up and know how important it is for each child made the experience even more memorable and exciting. I was able to face paint, do crafts, and get plates and supplies ready to decorate cookies. Face painting was so fun and being involved in the fine arts, I was certainly able to keep up with all their wants of fairy princesses, superheros, and emojis. This was such an amazing experience and really created that holiday spirit I love and enjoy so much!
Juliana will be featured in issue 39 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!