Kelsi Wingo – Texas Interview by Inspiring Teens Nomination by Amy Wingo Photography by KMcMinn Photography Issue 40 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: "Kelsi Wingo is one in a million." Tom Edwards (community member & family friend) "She is extremely hard working, dedicated, polite, and determined. I truly admire her desire to set and reach her goals." Kim Taylor (High School Art Teacher and Student Council Advisor) "Kelsi accepts everyone as they are and takes it one step further and genuinely cares about others. When she participates in something, she definitely puts her all into it." Kim Taylor (High School Art Teacher and Student Council Advisor) "Because of her awesome work ethic and positive attitude, she truly inspires other students around her by setting this great example and encouraging them every chance she gets." Nineveh Blankenship (High School Softball Coach) "She genuinely cares for others and wants to see them succeed, and that is rare." Tom Edwards (community member and family friend)
Photography by KMcMinn Photography
What would you most like to be interviewed about? If I were to be interviewed, I would like to talk about my family, hunting, or softball. Tell us about your family and what you love about spending time with them. I’ve grown up as an only child with my parents, Alvin and Amy. My dad has taught me how to do the things I love the most, which is playing softball and hunting. My mom has grown to be one of my best friends. She is my number one supporter in everything I do. I just love being around my family.
When did you start hunting, who do you hunt with, and what all have you hunted for? I’ve hunted for as long as I can remember. My parents started taking me to the deer lease with them when I was just a toddler. Mom told me the first time I went hunting, I sat in the stand with her. I was only 3 and she just wanted me to be able to see deer in the wild. She didn’t think we would actually see anything because, well, toddlers aren’t quiet. But we did see a doe and I told my mom to shoot it. I actually shot my first deer when I was 6 and I’ve been hooked ever since. For years I have hunted in the same stand with my dad, but now, since I’m older I hunt by myself. For the most part, I just hunt deer and pigs.
Photography by KMcMinn Photography
Please share one of your best memories from hunting. One year we had pictures of this unique deer and I decided that he was the one I wanted to harvest. I named him GMF (Grand Master Funk). His antlers were really crazy looking. He had been seen at my dad’s stand several times, so I sat with Dad in hopes that he would walk in. We sat in the same stand for 3 days (morning and evening hunt) and I never saw him. The next day dad and I decided to change stands and mom sat in dad’s stand. Well, GMF came to the feeder while mom was sitting there. She texted me and asked me what I wanted her to do…shoot him or let him walk and risk not seeing him again. I was hesitant but told her to shoot. She did and we looked for him for hours and never found him. (I thought she might have missed). The next morning, I sat in Dad’s stand and the first deer that walked in was GMF. I was able to shoot him after all. When we got to him, we saw a mark where mom’s bullet had grazed his belly.
When did you start playing softball, what position do you play and what do you love most about being on your team? I was only 4 when I started playing. I’ve been on several different teams and played out field, catcher, and now I’ve found my favorite spot on the field, First Base. I love being part of the softball team because we are like a family. I wouldn’t be able to get through some of my hard days if it wasn’t for my teammates.
Photography by Jimmie Green
Tell us about your faith in God. What do you want others to know about it? I became a Christian when I was 6 years old. I consider it the most important decision anyone could ever make. I want others to know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. I hope when people look at me they can see Jesus through me.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? I have always had a heart for special needs students. I love seeing them be successful and I love being able to help them and encourage them. I have a hard time describing myself, so I asked a few people who know me best. One of my family friends described me by saying, "Kelsi has one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever seen. She genuinely cares for others and wants to see them succeed and that is rare. She has treated my daughter, who is much younger than her, so well over the years and has always watched out for her. Went to bat for her, protected her behind the scenes, so to speak, never looking for any type of recognition or thanks. Just doing what a good person does, what a true friend does. I have told my wife on several accounts that I hope and pray our daughter grows up with the same character as Kelsi. I can’t brag on her enough. She’s just that one in a million person that comes along and I’m very glad that we get to have a little piece of her in our lives." (Tom Edwards) My softball coach described me by saying, "Kelsi is truly an inspiring young lady because not only does she always believe in herself, but she also believes in others. Kelsi is constantly pushing herself to be better at all times, whether it’s on the softball field, in the classroom or in a leadership role for the team, school, or community. One example of this is when we had a foreign exchange student from Spain decide to join our team last year. She had never played softball before and spoke little English, but she wanted to be a part of something while she was here. Kelsi gladly took her under her wing and spent extra time after practices and even on some weekends to help her learn to throw, catch, and hit. I know that Kelsi’s actions inspired all of us." (Nineveh Blankenship) My teacher and student council advisor describes me by saying, "Kelsi is one of those students whom every teacher and advisor loves. She is not only a wonderful student, she is also a fantastic young lady. Although she is now in high school, she is one young lady I will always keep up with and will continue to follow. To describe Kelsi is very hard to put into words. She inspires so many that she is around. What I find so unique about this characteristic is that in the time when teenagers are so easily influenced by their peers or the media, Kelsi seems to take it all in and keep only what will help to accomplish her goals set before her. Another characteristic that should be stressed is that she is a hard worker. She has a way of getting others to work and accomplishes this with a positive attitude. She goes above and beyond in all of her school work, student council and all aspects of her life." (Kim Taylor)
Photography by KMcMinn Photography
What is the hardest thing you have ever accomplished, and how did you do it? One of the hardest things I have accomplished throughout the years would be starting on the varsity softball team my freshman year in a brand new position that I had never played before. I worked really hard to learn the position, stayed for extra practice, took lessons, and made sure the coaches knew that I was willing to work to earn the position.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be where you are today? Put your faith in God and He will help you through all the trials of life that He puts in front of you. Having God also reminds you that you're not alone in anything you do.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? My plans after high school are to go to college and get into nursing school, so I can become a Neonatal Nurse.
What is your favorite activity or pastime that was not in your nomination? Besides playing softball and hunting, I really enjoy hanging out with my friends. My best friends names are Emma and Bailey and we are inseparable...we are more like sisters than anything!
3 Things on your bucket list ⁃ Jump out of an airplane with my dad. ⁃ Swim with the pigs in the Bahamas. ⁃ In time, be the best mom I could possibly be to my children.
Who do you find inspiring? I think my mom is inspiring.
What about you inspires others/why do you think you are inspiring? I think work ethic and my ability to show empathy for others inspires people around me. I think I'm inspiring because I’m willing to put in whatever it takes to get the outcome I want.
How do you keep your schedule straight when you are so busy? Sometimes it gets very crazy around my house. But my focus is always on school so I can keep my grades up and stay up to date on my schoolwork. When it comes to doing all my hobbies, they are at different times of the year. So in the fall I hunt and in the spring I play softball.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us? I have a puppy named Hank he is a Miniature Schnauzer. I got him for Christmas in 2019 and ever since he has been my little shadow.
Look for Kelsi in issue 40 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!