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United Way of Buffalo

2018

Meet Olivia Keller Northtowns Youth of The Year

 

 

Olivia:

My mom adopted me as a single parent when I was eight months old and living in an orphanage in China.  From day one, my mom has never stopped supporting me in my personal decisions.  My teachers at school are very supportive and will answer any questions I have, along with understanding that I am involved in many activities. Lastly, all of my friends and family are there ready to help me if I ask for it and challenge me when I should be.

 

Tell us about some or your accompolishments:

 

Olivia:

 I am a good public speaker- I have experience presenting the morning announcements at school on the P.A. system, and live on the television circuit there.  Also, as a DECA member, I have worked on my public speaking skills.  I have attended two regional DECA competitions, where I presented myself and my ideas in a role play competition.

 

Strong People Skills- As a member of the F.L.I.T. (Future Leaders In Training) program, at the Northtowns Boys & Girls Clubs summer camp, Camp Spirit, I have daily interaction with many different age groups.  During the day I may have to solve minor disputes between campers as well as get a group of kids together to play a game. Throughout the summers, I developed different skills to address different situations, and learned how to read body language.

Provide three examples of your academic excellence, including advanced courses taken, extracurricular academic activities and awards.

 

Extracurricular Activities- In my freshman year, I joined the Yearbook Committee, Camera Club, DECA, and the Track and Field Team.  Currently, as a sophomore in High School, I am the Co-Editor-In-Chief of the yearbook committee.  I have also competed twice, in regional competitions for DECA, as well as community work and fundraising activities.  In addition to these two clubs, I have joined Model UN, where I will be going to a conference at the University of Buffalo representing Albania in Eco-Finances.  I have also joined the Outdoor Awareness Club where we actively learn about nature and pollution issues. The club goes on annual white water rafting trips in the fall, along with a camping trip in the spring.  Lastly, this is my second year on the Track and Field Team, where I have gained endurance along with competing in events such as the 600m, 800m, 4x800m, 1000m, and 2 mile races.

 

Advanced Courses- In elementary school, starting in third grade, I was placed in The Gifted and Talented Program.  During the daily 35 minute sessions, participants received different challenges.  In Middle School, I was placed in advanced math and science classes, which then proceeded into eighth grad.  Transitioning in to High School,  I am one year ahead of schedule ts in my math and science classes.  I plan to graduate in the year 2017 with more than 22 credits and four or more AP class credits.

 

Academic Awards- In 6th grade, I received the New York State Comptroller’s Student Achievement Award.  I also received several music awards for being involved in all three ensembles available, chorus, orchestra, and band.  In middle school I was awarded Student of the Month.  I was also inducted into the National Junior Honor Society in eighth grade, maintaining a 95% grade point average.  In high school, I have been awarded student of the month in both 9th and 10th grade and the scholar athlete award for keeping my grade average above a 90% as I actively participate in Track and Field.  Lastly, in January 2015, I was named 1st Runner Up for the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Award.

 

Provide three examples of your service, including community service projects, service learning projects, volunteerism, and activism.

 

Olivia:

Teacher Assistant- I have been a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church since I was adopted from China at eight months.  I attend Sunday school and am now working towards my confirmation.  Every other Sunday I am a teacher assistant for grades Kindergarten and first grade.  As an assistant, I gather supplies for crafts, clean the room when needed, and help teach the multiple lessons given.

 

Community Service/Service Learning- In recent years, I have taken part in many community projects.  As a National Junior Society Member, I have made tie blankets for the patients at a local nursing home, along with raising money for many different causes.  As a DECA member, I organized a fundraising 5K race for Cure NT and Leah Manth, a student at our High School who has NF.  Also, I will soon be involved with Amnesty International Club, where we have donated articles of clothing such as T-Shirts and sweaters to the less fortunate families during the holidays.

 

Volunteerism- I have been a member of the Boys & Girls Club since first grade.  As I progressed through the years, I became a Junior Staff and F.L.I.T. (Future Leader In Training).  In the Afterschool program I attended every day, and helped serve dinner, assisted younger kids with their homework, and played games or started activities with the kids.  At the Afterschool Program, every Wednesday, during the school year, I was a part of a group of members that would go to Bishop Gibbons, a local senior citizens home, and took their garbage and recycling to the dumpsters.  This is decreased the risk of someone falling on the ice in the winter.

Provide three examples of your commitment to healthy lifestyles, including sports, fitness, nutrition, and attitude towards drugs.

  • At the end of eighth grade, I joined the local gym.  I usually work out at least every other day when I am not involved in the Track and Field Team.  MY workout consists of an hour of cardio, thirty minutes on my “core” and twenty minutes lifting various weights.  Throughout my busy schedule, I always pick a fruit or healthy alternative to fatty snacks, and drink as much water as possible.

  • In ninth grade, I joined the Track and Field team.  From the end of November to the end of May, I run several miles per day working on my speed and endurance.  I also increase my muscle mass by going to the required weight lifting days during the week.  Since I was toddler, I have been going to three dance classes weekly at Tonawanda Dance arts.  

  • Although, I strongly disagree with any use of drugs and alcohol, there are exceptions to using them such as aspirin for pain.  I think that the substance itself does not present itself as harmful or deadly, but it is how the person uses it and how often.  In my opinion, many substance abuse problems may be a combination of being hereditary and environmental.

 

Provide three examples of what you hope to accomplish as Youth of the Year.

 

Olivia:

  • Equality for women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields.

  • Female Empowerment nationwide

  • To spread the message that being a positive role model and living a healthy lifestyle is beneficial to you and the people you are exposed to.