Categories
Scholars

Brittany Wiafe

Like Mother, Like Daughter

By Veronica Kim

With her mother as a role model, Brittany Wiafe is learning the strength required to be a woman of Ghanaian heritage and American future.

From a young age, she has enjoyed volunteering, helping out at church day care and vacation Bible school, but now is realizing why that is so important to her.

“My family hasn’t always been well off, but friends and family have helped us when we needed help, and I can’t take all that for granted. I want to give back,” said Wiafe. It is this desire to give back, instilled in her by her mother, that is now fostering Wiafe’s own interest in social justice.

Wiafe recalls that she and her mother shed tears upon seeing the video of a Texas police officer holding down an African-American teenager at a pool party this summer. “It doesn’t make sense to me that that much hatred can still exist,” she said.

Wiafe plans to fight this hatred one day, having recently discovered a love for public health. Combined with her passion for community service and writing, she hopes to spread the word about this “underlying tension of race issues in America.”

However, she will not stop there. “My parents are from Ghana, and I grew up in two cultures. I’m Americanized, but I know my Ghanaian culture has affected the way I view America,” she said.

Her ancestry has not only affected her present, but her future plans as well. One of her dream jobs is to open a pediatric office in Ghana.

For now, though, her mother’s selflessness toward her family and community continue to inspire Wiafe every day. “My mom’s just amazing. She has raised our whole entire family by herself,” Wiafe said. “She came to America from Ghana when she was 17… The strength and independence to do that, to become successful in another country, is incredible.”

On June 28, Wiafe’s mother turned 52. Despite the limits posed by her family’s monthly allotment of food stamps, she invited some friends to her home to eat dinner and to celebrate.

Wiafe knew that her family needed the leftovers and confronted her mother, who simply told her, “God will return it to us.”

It is a lesson that Wiafe is beginning to understand.

Categories
Scholars

Jared Weber

Jared Weber: Living In His Own Newsroom

By: Brandon Callender

If you’re looking to find Jared Weber, a 17-year-old at Chapel Hill High, you can usually find him in the Proconian’s office.

In his junior year, Weber was the editor of the arts and entertainment section of his school’s award-winning paper, as well as a sports reporter. In his upcoming senior year, Weber will inherit the title of editor-in-chief.

Similar to how Weber edits the arts section of his school’s paper, an entire arts section could reflect Weber’s life. Music plays a large role in his life because both his mother and older brother are pianists. Following in their footsteps, Weber was expected to pick up an instrument.
Being given the freedom to select whatever instrument he desired, Weber chose the violin. When asked why he chose this instrument, Weber said, “I thought of the violin as an instrument with potential.” Expanding on this idea, Weber brings up how the violin can easily crossover genres, with it going from the orchestrated pieces of the 17th and 18th centuries and then being used as a fiddle in the rock bands of today.

He says that this early interest in music really got his “creative juices flowing.” In addition to instrumental music, Weber began singing in the eighth-grade after one of his friends began an a cappella group, called Beau Brummels.

Weber says his hectic schedule, prevents him from being bored, which he describes as the “worst possible feeling [thing].”

Being involved in music and other activities grants Weber access to a myriad of people. Weber describes himself as willing to go out and make friends with those who have similar interests to hims. In contrast, Weber paints a picture of his best friends, depicting them both as “hardworking but with different goals.”

A ‘people’ section about Weber’s life would fill pages with stories about the people he has met.

Of course, the people who are apart of Weber’s daily life the most is his family. Weber cares greatly about family, saying the following about his mother: “My mother […] is the best possible person to become.” Weber cites his multicultural household for being the cause for his strives at greatness. Weber says he receives his sense of family and drive for success from his mother’s Puerto Rican and Chinese heritage respectively.

Weber’s drive for success is not limited to music. Weber started playing tennis as a child, which he attributes to his mother’s high school tennis career. His passion for the game however, he attributes to his father’s Weber’s experience on the tennis court allows him to better convey the emotion of an intense game when writing.

Weber says that he’s always “working,” constantly staying involved in extracurriculars. He knows his problem with this attitude is simply that “I worry that I cannot give my own best effort.”

To keep his head on when cornered by the mass murderer that terrorizes all of high school education, formerly known as “deadlines,” Weber finds himself focusing on what he finds most important to him. Weber puts his schoolwork before anything else, completing that before starting any other projects.

Categories
Scholars

Jasmine Rouse

Rouse Has Found Her Voice Through Dance

By Stephanie Edmonds

The ground seemed to tremble beneath her feet, her heart beat like a thousand drums, the spotlight was blinding and all that she could hear was the sound of her own breath… there was no turning back now.

Jasmine Rouse sashayed on stage with her fellow company members in The Pointe! Studio of Dance Company’s production of The Wiz, an adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

“Dance has given me the opportunity to understand what kind of lifestyle I want to live and really who I want to be,” she said. “The experiences that I have received from performing have opened so many doors for me.”

For some people ballet is an evening out or a pleasure-filled pastime, but to Rouse it’s a lifestyle. Many of her most valuable relationships and opportunities have been a direct result of her 14-year dance career.

Her mother started her in classes at age 2 because “she thought that every little girl would want to dance.” Very quickly people began to realize that Rouse wasn’t just “every little girl.” At age 8 she was featured in an independent film called Boone Creek and since then has participated in multiple ballet programs nationwide, some of which included trips to New York to perform with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Dance Theater of Harlem.

She said: “The passion of dance is what keeps me going throughout life, and I need it is a constant. There have been times when I thought that dance might get in the way of me pursuing other things. I soon realized that it’s something I could never give up.”

Asked who her role model is, Rouse exclaimed without hesitation, “prima ballerina and soloist Misty Copeland!” Copeland has been an inspiration to Rouse especially because “you don’t see many African American ballerinas play lead roles due to the fact that producers are so specific about what kind of look that they want in a show.”

Rouse explained that, by nature, she has always been an introverted person and that dance has been an outlet for her to express herself and display her diversity in a very rare, intimate and independent way. Ballet inspired her to break out her comfort zone and also allowed her to delve into the realm of journalism.

She loves the idea of moving to a big city and running around to conduct one-person interviews to gather public opinion on issues prevalent in today’s society.

Rouse believes that “everyone has a story which needs to be told.” She also feels strongly about raising awareness on a wide range of social and cultural issues so that others’ eyes will be opened to the world around them.

When she isn’t writing or dancing she volunteers as an Algebra ESL tutor for Latino students or participates in Dancers Against Cancer. She is an avid member of Northern High School’s Spanish Honors Society and a mentor for Girl Hub.

Categories
Scholars

Celita Summa

Sharing the Stories of History

By Caroline Wolfe

Celita Summa visits nursing homes, not to see elderly relatives, but to collect stories for posterity.

Summa, 17, has been collecting personal stories for a year and a half, gathering information from sources as diverse as Holocaust survivors and Peace Corps workers.

“One of the most emotional moments was when one of the Holocaust survivors was talking to us. Even though she came from a position of privilege, she had to undergo many hardships, including starvation,” Summa said.

This woman shared a story from her childhood. Everyone was starving, so she broke into an old school with some of her friends. They found expired food in the cafeteria and started grabbing bags to take home.

But when she returned home, excited by her discovery, her father instructed her to return the food. For him, it was more important to be honest than to be nourished.

Summa collects these stories not just for her own benefit, but also for local teachers so that they can use these real-life experiences to enrich their students’ education.

“When you read a history textbook,” Summa said, “you don’t think about it in terms of actual people.” Her goal is to make history come to life instead of remaining static on the page.

Summa is also passionate about building strong, healthy communities. Through her involvement in Key Club, a student community service club, she is working with other students to eliminate Maternal/Neonatal Tetanus (MNT) through fundraising.

Every January, her division of Key Club hosts a “Night to Eliminate,” which is a student-run fundraising banquet, raising money for preventive vaccinations against MNT. Then Key Club sends the proceeds to UNICEF, which uses the money in countries that need assistance.

But for Summa, the best part about Key Club is being able to learn from and relate to other communities in Florida as they work together to eliminate disease.

“Everyone’s very different, but all of those differences are valuable, and when it comes to accomplishing a goal, what sets you apart can also bring you together.”

Summa’s regard for community even spills over into her choice of career. She dreams of becoming an urban planner and pursuing further studies in mathematics or architecture. Asked why she is interested in urban planning, Summa said: “As communities change and grow, so do the people inside them. It’s amazing to see the growth of people over time reflected in their communities.”

Categories
Scholars

Veronica Kim

For Veronica Kim words bridge the divide

By Brittany Wiafe

Veronica Kim, 17, reminisced on a confrontation about her native Korean culture and her learned American culture with her mother.

“Mom, I want to eat sandwiches for lunch,” Kim said.

Kim said that to her mother when she was entering middle school who has packed lunches since Kim began school. In elementary school, Kim would open her lunchbox to unveil chopsticks, rice and kimchi, a traditional Korean dish. Immediately Kim realized her lunch did not match the sandwiches and juice boxes her classmates were eating.

As Kim advanced in school she began to feel alienated by her exotic food and by being confronted with questions during lunch each day. Her peers would ask what she was eating and why it smelled so different.

“It was embarrassing because every kid wants to fit in, you don’t want to be different,” Kim said.

Her mother understood her need to fit in as a preteen growing up in a place where it is important that you don’t stand out. She began packing her sandwiches instead of rice and forks instead of chopsticks. Kim appreciated that her mother humored her, but she soon grew tired of sandwiches.

“The way she handled my decision was reflected on how she teaches me to lead my life,” Kim said.

Kim identifies as a Korean-American. Korean was the first language, but she identifies English as her first language. Korean food is present in her life through cooking at home, Korean markets and bakeries. She also has worn traditional Korean clothes and hears the Korean language through her parents.

Her heritage has left Kim target to stereotypes, especially in academics. Kim first felt stereotyped academically because of her Asian heritage in fourth grade when she entered an advanced learning program.

“That’s when I noticed there were stereotypes with Asian people,” she said. “We are supposed to be smart and hard working.”

When comparing herself to traditional Asian stereotypes, Kim realized she does align with many of them. She does work hard in school and get good grades in math, but she also defies many generalizations about her race.

Kim said a stereotype against Asians is that they are socially awkward but she is outgoing. She is involved in many clubs, including an a cappella group.

“People that know me know not to stereotype me,” she said. “I don’t want to know the people that stereotype me and don’t know me.”

Kim’s academic premise follows her past school into her home life with her love of writing.

“I have always been obsessed with people making words sound absolutely beautiful,” Kim said.

Kim’s first piece of writing came early in her life. In first grade she wrote a 10-page book that she brought to school for show and tell. Her fear of reading her story to her class that day never dulled her writing pursuits.

Early in her writing career she won awards for her poetic works. Kim now pursues spoken word as a way to accept herself. Kim said her confidence comes from the process of writing, thinking about her writing and reading over her writing to accept things about herself.

Categories
Scholars

Hannah Isley

A quiet voice with passion that speak volumes

By Sydney Felder

Hannah Isley is an introverted social humanitarian with a mission to “express her voice” while simultaneously combating her reserved nature and preserving her devout Christian values.

Hailing from the traditional and close- knit town of Stokesdale, North Carolina, Isley proudly but humbly participates in selfless acts ranging from volunteer work at Morehead Hospital in Eden to reporting for her school’s newspaper, the Phoenix Scope.

Hannah’s demeanor is calm; she speaks with subtle smiles and soft speech. However, her shyness quickly disappears when she discusses, very passionately, her love for helping others. Isley’s zeal for helping others can best be described as a “do unto others” attitude, characteristic of her Christian devotion. She opts to “treat people kindly” because she would “want the same in return”. Isley invests herself in each of her tasks whether it be “reading books every third Sunday” to children in her church’s nursery or “filing” and “helping the elderly” at the hospital. She even goes as far as to say the world would be a “disaster” without charity work. She said the main goal of her efforts is to “influence others to help”.

Hannah’s fervor for journalism has acted as a way to for Hannah to immerse herself in her small community and even smaller high school. Though unsure of the origins of her love for journalism and writing, Isley confidently and simply states, “I am writer”, affectionately coined a “Yerd” at her school for her participation on yearbook staff. In addition to having a passion for writing, journalism has also acted as a counselor for Isley. She says, “I have come out of my shell more… Journalism helped.”

Isley’s interests in hobbies traditionally associated with extroverted personalities contrasts greatly with her introverted nature. When asked how she deals with this conflict, she carefully described how she is “shy at first” and chooses rather to “ease in” and “adjust” to her surroundings. Isley said, “school in general” is where this side of her is seen. She chooses to “get a feel of the class and the teacher” and allow herself time to “get comfortable” with surroundings.

Hannah is a Christian girl from a small, southern town in which she says there is “little diversity.” Contrary to what may be assumed of her from this description she has a deep desire for diversity. The most prevalent current event to her is the Charleston shooting in South Carolina. When asked about her views on the subsequent uproar towards her region’s devotion to the rebel flag, she produced a simple and honest answer. Isley rejects the flag. She attributes this belief to her faith and knowledge of the Bible disallowing offense and promoting kindness and compassion. “It’s just not right”, she said.

Hannah Isley is an inspirational character and great contributor, her mantra being: “everybody has a voice and what I do is my way to express my voice”.

Categories
Scholars

Doni Holloway

Doni Holloway: humble and wildly successful

By Choe Gruesbeck

At 17, Doni Holloway is one of the youngest employees at NBC News, has an associate’s degree and is fierce and humble about his accomplishments.

Holloway attended an early college program where he went to high school while earning his associate’s degree of art Magna Cum Laude, often working through the summer to complete his classes.

After his graduation, Holloway moved to Washington, D.C. for a hard-won paid internship at NBC News.

Holloway learned about the internship through the Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media. The foundation has a rigorous application process that includes multiple essays and interviews, one of which includes the vice president of NBC News on Skype.The foundation matched him with NBC, while other corporate sponsors are available. Some include NBC, ABC and the Oprah Winfrey Network.

While many young boys look up to sports athletes, Holloway’s role models include Hoda Kotb and Candy Crowley, both major news anchors. During his internship at NBC News Holloway met Lester Holt, who anchors the weekday edition of NBC Nightly News.

“He was so humble and grateful, and he came in at such a transitional time for NBC News,” Holloway said. “It shows a lot about him as a person to step up and fulfill the role as the first black solo anchor of a nightly news program. I just wanted to congratulate him and share some of my goals and tell him I wanted to be just like him one day.”

As the lead anchor of a network broadcast, Holloway hopes to emulate Holt’s signature reporting style.

“He is a person who everyone can easily connect with,” Holloway said. “If he is talking to someone impacted by a natural disaster or some other event, he will just wrap his arms around them and show that he genuinely cares.”

While some might describe his internship as his most impressive achievement, Holloway actually found teaching a preparatory class to help struggling students the most rewarding.

“It was really gratifying to take the things I have learned and pass it on to help someone who may have not gotten that help at home,” Holloway said. “Not everyone has had the opportunity to have these experiences, and I just want to pay-it-forward, in a way.”

While Holloway acknowledges that he has had a heavy workload during his high school career, he says that he “wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“I don’t regret anything but there has definitely been some sacrifices I have had to make like staying up late,’” Holloway said. “I certainly had to stay focused.”

Holloway will attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the fall and expects to major in journalism.

Categories
Scholars

Chloe Gruesbeck

That’s So Chloe

By Doni Holloway

Chloe Gruesbeck, 17, is a rising senior who participates in a wide array of extracurricular activities.

A native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, her experiences as an avid soccer player initially sparked her interest in journalism and law.

Gruesbeck said that her experiences as a leader on the soccer team sparked her interest in those areas, which she plans to ultimately pursue in college and as a career.

“I’ve played soccer since I was 5 years old. It’s kind of my life. I’ve always been a vocal person on the field and I’ve always assumed the leadership roles. I’m able to call out to my teammates where they need to be. It’s like being a mini coach.”

Excelling academically, she acknowledges that she has to work on managing pressure. In her free time, she watches movies and plays with her dog. She said, “My free time allows me to relieve the stress that builds up and lets you recuperate.”

Asked about the parallel between living up North versus in the South, Gruesbeck said, “We moved my freshman year. We had trimesters at my old school. I was one trimester in and I moved to North Carolina. It was really difficult. I feel like I started high school three times. It was rough.”

Recognizing how personal the South can be, she said, “Up North, you’re expected to be more reserved. If you see someone on the street and you don’t know them, you’re supposed to look at the ground.”

“Looking at them is an invasion of their personal privacy. I never really thought about that, but down here, it’s considered rude to be like that.”

In the fall, Gruesbeck hopes to bring a balance of kindness and warmth to the Northwood High School newspaper team, The Omniscient as the future editor-in-chief. She recognizes the demands of leading a high school newspaper but hopes to fulfill the expectations of her advisors.

The Chuck Stone Program has helped to reaffirm her interest in journalism. As a scholar, she hopes to take the notes and knowledge acquired to improve her journalism class and paper. Asked Chloe to share one word to describe the future vision of her paper, she said, “intuitive.”

Categories
Scholars

Sydney Felder

That’s So Sydney

By Hannah Isley

Sydney Felder spent her childhood not so much playing with toys, but admiring Pulitzer Prize photos in museums.

Felder always has had an interest in photography. She has grown up with a dad who not only loves photography, but is also in the army. Felder is an army brat and moves around frequently. That has had a part in shaping her into the person she is today.

Felder not only loves photography, but also people. She is a “sucker” for people’s feelings, always trying to fix everyone’s problems. This is just one part of her perfectionist personality.

Felder always has strived to be the best at everything. She often puts everything she has into what she’s doing, allowing her to excel. “Being a perfectionist, I try to be the best, even if I kill myself over it,” Felder said.

The first sport she loved was field hockey, but she currently plays lacrosse because field hockey isn’t common in North Carolina. She loves to be active and doing something productive.

Not only does Felder have a passion for people, but for animals. She often volunteers at a local animal kennel called Blessed Oasis. She has always loved dogs and even though she doesn’t want to be a veterinarian, when she retires, she would love to open up her own kennel.

Felder’s mom calls her an “old soul,” because of her love for older things. She grew up listening to Gospel music and James Taylor, which has had an effect on the kind of music she likes today.

She enjoys music such as Fleetwood Mac and the Bee Gees. She also enjoys going to record stores and thrift shops, which both give off vintage vibes.

Although her school doesn’t offer journalism or a newspaper, she still found a way to compromise. She is joining the yearbook staff at her school this fall. Felder also attended a writing camp at Duke University for 2 different years.

In addition to the Duke camps, she also attended Discover the World in Communications at American University in 2013. Last year she got the opportunity to study abroad with the People Meet People organization.

She studied in Greece, Sicily, and Italy. While traveling, Felder got to see many historical places. “Learning about another culture and seeing the similarities and differences between the host families’ life and to mine was incredible,” she said.

Felder hopes to be a photojournalist when she gets older. She isn’t into capturing people in her photos, instead she likes more artsy subjects. She is into shapes and objects that she can twist and turn to make the perfect picture.

As for her senior year, Felder has strong emotion toward it. She already has decided that she wants to stress less, stay focused and have a great ending to her high school career.

As for her senior trip, her parents have simply told her to pick a place. She is trying to decide on either France or Sydney, Australia. She is also excited to get out of Fayetteville and go to college.

Categories
Scholars

Stephanie Edmonds

Stephanie’s Calling to God’s work

By: Jasmine Rouse

Stephanie Edmonds, 17, believes her true calling in life is to blend her strong Christian beliefs with being a journalist and motivational speaker to young generations.

This sense of duty to minister came four years ago when she participated as a Sunday school teacher volunteer at Westover Church in Greensboro, N.C. This opening in her church gave high school students a chance to serve and minister to the youth through God. Edmonds said it was a “guided light” from God that this door opened for her.

“I can see myself in these kids,” Edmonds stated as she talked about how invested she wants to be in the kids’ lives as a mentor and encourage them to “continue to stay in their walk of faith.” Her experience in Sunday school herself and guidance from her teacher, who could relate to her, also steered her in that same direction.

Along with being a volunteer as a Sunday school teacher, Edmonds has joined numerous school activities that include public speaking class and a member of the yearbook staff that increased her love for writing and journalism. Defining herself as an extroverted, fun-loving person, she feels she can help others break barriers they face as well.

One of her biggest accomplishments was the creation of a fashion blog. This blog not only discussed the haves and the have not’s of today’s fashion trends, but it also promoted the empowerment of inner beauty. Edmonds states in her description about her blog that it is centered on creating a “healthy body, mind, and soul,” while also encompassing her faith, calling each individual “fearfully and wonderfully made by our Savior.”

Edmond’s role models that she has looked up to include her mother and Beth Moore, who have both been strong, encouraging women who have taught her to continue to push in her faith despite hardships. Her mother has taught her to always keep God by her side. She says how much of a blessing it is to have a family that is “invested in your faith.” Beth Moore is a minister who can be seen teaching Bible studies and communicating with women of all denominations about the grace of God.

Growing up in a strong Christian family, she started to realize how much of a routine her Christian faith had become. Around her sophomore year of high school, Edmonds said, “I wished to rid of that habit, take my parents faith, and make it my own.”

Struggling within herself, she began to find exactly where she wanted to fit in life. She finally found her true calling. She sees some of the barriers that young girls face in life and aspired to relinquish them. Being a constant force in young girl’s lives, Stephanie Edmonds would like to advocate about the importance of inner beauty through spoken and written words.

One of her favorite quotes comes from Proverbs 31:30 in the Bible that proclaims, “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Tying that in with her passion for writing, she hopes to become a traveling journalist and motivational speaker.