Larissa Simpson – California Nomination by Sarah Simpson Photography by Brandy Gardea Photography Issue 66 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: Larissa has tremendously changed my life and all of those around her. She has a way of making individuals better people by teaching patience, showing them strength, and motivating each of them to improve themselves in the simplest of ways. From the moment Larissa was born she has shown the world how to be kind and how to love, but not allow others to take her kindness as a weakness. When problems have arrived for Larissa no matter how daunting they may have seemed, she showed others just how determined and persistent one needs to be to overcome anything.
Brandy Gardea Photography
What do you love most about being a senior this year? My senior year of high school has been amazing, I love the feelings and activities that have come along with it. I feel as if I have finally made it to the place where the younger classmen are now looking up to me. I like the fact that the teachers treat us like young adults and prepare us for what is to come. As my final days of attending high school are approaching quickly, the friendships are growing tighter, and the memories are becoming unforgettable.
What will you miss most about high school? I have been going to school with the same group of kids since kindergarten. This is something not everyone gets to experience but I am extremely grateful for in my small town. There are a lot of positives and negatives to knowing most people on such a personal level. I am going to miss the daily routine and the oh so familiar faces. I am also going to miss all the teachers who have gotten me to the place in life I am in today.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years/what are your plans? I am going to be attending is West Coast Ultrasound Institute in San Marcos Ca. I will graduate in three years with my bachelor’s degree in Sonography. After I obtain my degree I want to immediately jump into the workforce. I plan to work in a large hospital and hope to help mothers’ dreams come true by finding out all the details of their unborn children, or helping others by finding sources of medical issues. I can see myself being highly successful as well as independent as I continue to grow and learn in the medical field.
Brandy Gardea Photography
What legacy do you hope to leave behind younger teens? The legacy that I hope to leave behind to younger teens would be importance of always be true to yourself. Never let anyone else define you or change your spark. God made each of us differently for a reason, and trying to not let others words or actions bring you down. Finding yourself worth is hands down the most important thing for a young lady. Building confidence within yourself is not an easy task but if you take it one step at a time the results you see will make the tough days well worth it.
If you had nothing to do and all day to do it, where would we find you? It would be a rare occurrence if I had nothing to do all day, but if it happened you would find me out hunting, fishing, or soaking up the sun. I live in one of the most beautiful places in the whole world. Deep inside the Eastern Sierra’s is my hometown of Bishop California. It is here that I not only learned to catch trout, but to shoot a gun, and how to enjoy the outdoors. Lately a favorite pastime has been hitting the golf course with friends and attempting to play the game of golf.
What are your responsibilities as captain? Where do you fit in and where do you stand out? While playing high school sports I was given the opportunity to be the captain. I loved being in a position where I was a positive role model for the other girls to look up to. While being a part of the team this year I felt very comfortable with my teammates, they became sisters to me. We shared the good and tough times together, and this made me feel like I belonged. I stood out this year because of my attitude. I gave it my all every opportunity I had and really wanted to leave everything I had on that court.
Brandy Gardea Photography
What is your favorite memory with your volleyball team? Before every volleyball season we always start the season off with a team bonding experience. This is where the entire team sleeps over in the gym together. We get the opportunity to share team goals and set challenges to reach throughout the season. While we spend the whole night together as a team, we build trustful relationships with one another that we later bring onto the court. I will never forget the loud music we blasted all night, the endless amount of junk food we consumed, or the never-ending hilarious stories shared between us.
How did you find and why did you choose Brandy Gardea Photography for your photographer? The good Lord has truly blessed my family with having Brandy as a close family friend for quite some time. Over the last few years, we have witnessed her become an exceptionally talented photographer. Brandy takes the time to get to know you, pin points your personality, and does an amazing job of expressing you in her photos. Brandy has a tremendously talented eye for the small details, and a true gift for boosting confidence and capturing the perfect moments. I guarantee one photo shoot with Brady and you will have memories that will last a lifetime and a new friend for life.
What was your experience like? What did you love most about it? Taking photos with Brandy is amazing. My family and I have had quite a few photos shoots with her all over our home town. She encourages you to dress anyway you want and have a wonderful time just being yourself. Brandy has allowed me to help find the perfect spots to capture each of my photos. She loves to try out different poses and a variation of faces. The part that I loved most about this experience was having the opportunity to fully express myself. I genuinely had a wonderful time and loved working with such an amazing photographer.
Brandy Gardea Photography
What else would you like to talk about? I consider myself to be a confident young lady, however this has not always been the case. During my younger teen years, I struggled tremendously not only with self-esteem but also with my appearance. When dealing with teen acne it is not only physically painful, but it is draining to your worth. After excepting and growing, you will eventually learn that beauty comes from the inside and acne can't define you. When encountering someone who may be struggling with self-esteem, I share my story in hopes to encourage them.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be and why? During the last year I have personally lost a very close friend of mine due to a drunk driving accident. This incident hits close to my heart as I have grown up with alcohol affecting family members. After losing a friend I feel it is my job to be an advocate against drinking and driving. I hate the idea of people’s lives being taken away due to a bad decision. This is why I have taken it upon myself to be a part of a program that gives students real life loss, grieving, and ultimate consequences of drunk driving.
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? Throughout my teen years I have been elected to positions of leadership that not only evaluated my patience but gave me the opportunity to help and encourage others. I earned the title of captain for both the drill team as well as my volleyball team. Both roles gave me the chance to learn to listen to others, as well as gain the ability to strengthen a team. While playing sports that I am enthusiastic about, I gained leadership skills that I will carry with me throughout life.
Look for Larissa in issue 66 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!