Morgann Fay - Georgia Nomination & Photography by Stephanie Q Durham Photography Issue 50 of Inspiring Teens Magazine
Nomination: What would you have done in her situation? How would you react to losing your Police officer father at age 13? How about a decade of an undiagnosed lung illness, shuttling between specialists in different states, scared someone would tell you that you had cancer? Would you commit yourself to a demanding sport like crew? Would you go on mission trips to help others? Would you have the wisdom to change schools during Covid and leave your friends because it was where you could get the best education? Life is about courage, attitude, and resiliency; three traits that perfectly describe Morgann Fay and inspire those around her.
Photography by Stephanie Q Durham Photography
Tell us about your experience with Stephanie Q Durham Photography. What was your photo shoot like and what did you love most about it? Stephanie Q Durham Photography provided the most amazing experience. A true professional that had an answer, suggestions, and idea for everything. I find, like most teens, I am my own worst critic. Stephanie immediately made me feel at ease and helped me forgot about the “shoot” and just helped me have fun and embrace my true self.
Tell us about your career with crew? What is the training like and what has a big accomplishment been with your involvement there? What is your team like and what are your competitions like? Crew is the hardest sport you will ever love. It’s physically demanding, there are few stars, there is almost no individual glory, there is no professional league and it’s time consuming. But rowing is addictive: that feeling of being out on the water on a cool morning, in perfect rhythm with your team, and knowing what it took to get there. Rowing is where I have made many of my closest friends, almost like army buddies who went through basic training together. If you get a chance, read the book “Boys in the Boat” and you’ll understand why rowers are how they are!
You love to travel, tell us why and any trips that stand out. My mom has pushed me to see the world as much as possible and I cannot thank her enough for that gift. Travel makes me curious; it makes me thankful for what I have, and it makes me want to help others. In short, it makes me a better person. On every trip, there are unforgettable moments: like running through a flooded Piazza San Marco in Venice at night or making s’mores at midnight around a campfire in Homer Alaska in July when it was broad daylight, or watching a pod of seals escape from a school of sharks in the Galapagos Islands. Those memories will be with me forever.
Image by a friend
What mission trips have you gone on and which has been a favorite? Why did you choose that one in particular? I have done several local missions and one missions’ trip abroad. Although every experience has had an impact on me my favorite would have to be Costa Rica. Having the opportunity to be fully immersed in the community is an experience you never forget. Listening and responding to the unique needs of the people you are helping really allows you to make an immediate impact on their day, week or even month. I can’t wait to have an opportunity to go back! How did Covid affect your schooling? What positive thing did Covid bring to you? For the last quarter of my sophomore year, our school (like every other school) was virtual. While some kids loved that environment, I knew I wasn’t doing my best. So, when it became evident that schools were not going to be back to normal for the fall of my junior year, I asked my mom about finding a school that I could be in person for. I knew that meant leaving my friends and having to make new ones, and being the “new kid”. But I also knew how I learn best and what makes me happy. We did the homework and found a school that suited me. Overall, it has been a great opportunity for me, as I have been able to try new things and the education has been terrific.
If you were to present a topic to a group of your peers, what would it be and why? I would talk about never giving up despite what life throws at you. I remember waking up the day after my dad died and not wanting to face the world. But I did. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t perfect. There were lots of bad days and not as many good days, but over time, the good days started outnumbering the bad days. Same with when I got sick and spent weeks at various hospitals around the country. I was frustrated. I was mad at the world. It wasn’t fair. Why me? But I had two choices: wallow in self-pity or decide to enjoy life. I know there are a lot of people who face that same choice over difficult things in their lives, so I would hope I could help them by sharing my story.
Image by Morgann Fay
What inspiring things about you does your nomination not cover? I am very active in my church. I have a personal small group I have been with since middle school. I also chose to be a small group leader and have been for 3 years now with the same group of middle school girls. What you get back when you give is more than I could have ever imagined.
What do you do with your small group? My small group is an extension of me. We meet every Sunday for church but more importantly we are in constant communication. My girls know I am available for anything! We meet for ice-cream if someone is having an icky week, we have picnics in the park to laugh and take funny pictures, and we encourage one another and talk through the not so pleasant experiences in our lives as well as celebrate each other’s wins. Watching these girls grow and hold on to their faith even when times are super tough is the most amazing thing to watch and have a hand in.
Image by Ashley Fay
What else would you most like to talk about? I wish I could tell people about the importance of dreams. I have most of my life ahead of me, and I have big plans. I see myself having a big impact in small ways. I probably won’t cure cancer or make a billion dollars, but I know I will make a huge difference in peoples’ lives. I hope every child (and adult for that matter) has dreams of what they can do and then goes out and tries to make those dreams a reality. Dream big, and then execute!
Tell us your thoughts on being courageous When people use the word courage, we think of heroes doing incredible things, like running into burning buildings to save babies. When I think of courage, I think of two things. I think of my dad fighting for the right to become a police officer despite having had cancer as a young adult (usually that disqualifies you). He was fighting for the right to help other people. Secondly, I think about people who have suffered a tremendous loss (death, illness, accidents, etc) and the courage they have to stand up, reclaim their lives and choose happiness. Those two things define courage to me.
Look for Morgann in issue 50 of Inspiring Teens Magazine!