Listed below are the last five finalists in our 2014 Super Teens contest. These five teens join the other finalists that were already announced on the Super Teens page. You will be able to vote for your favorite Super Teen beginning on May 1st. One teen with the most votes will win the $1,000 scholarship for college expenses.
Congratulations to our finalists!
“My classes and projects in Future Farmers of America (FFA) are my passion. I raise and show beef cows.” He remembers what it was like trying to find a place in the FFA. “I am most proud of mentoring a fellow rookie cattle showman this past year,” he remembers. “I took all of my experience and taught her everything I knew.” She ended up finishing just after Cody in the competitions.
This love of working with animals will not stop after graduation. Cody plans on attending Texas A&M University to study Wildlife Biology. He can continue to do what he loves and most likely will find a way to be a mentor to even more people. When he was asked to advise other high school students, Cody said they had three options in life: “They can give up, give in or give it all they got.”
Sydney Maki has already traveled to Africa and plans to return after she finishes her senior year. Of course, what else would you expect from someone who says “No matter how many people come against you, keep pushing.”
She is the founder of Ekitangaala Ministries, an organization that provides education, food and medical services to children orphaned by AIDS. “Having the opportunity to change the lives of children in Africa is the biggest blessing in my life,” Sydney explains.
According to her future career plans, this is a blessing that keeps on giving. Sydney’s favorite subject is biology, which will come in handy when she trains to be a midwife. After graduation, she plans on spending six months in Uganda in order to get to know the children there. When she returns home, she will begin her Midwifery education. “There is a huge lack in qualified midwives and birth attendants in Uganda, resulting in maternal and infant deaths,” she explains. “Being a qualified midwife in Uganda will be a big help.”
Connor has used motivation to do his best in high school and to partake in every available opportunity. He has continuously improved his tennis game and has been on the varsity team for three years. In addition, he excels in art classes and designed his own independent study course focusing on watercolor paintings and architectural design. Connor also traveled to Costa Rica after raising money with his classmates.
He plans on attending Roger Williams University to study architecture. “I want to design houses and commercial buildings,” he describes. “It’s something I feel very passionately about.” Although he is humble about his achievements, there is no doubt that Connor is an exemplary high school student and will do even better in college.
“Life isn’t just about success,” he claims. “It’s about having fun and being yourself as well.”
Nitya Rayapati, a high school junior from Texas, mentors freshman students and she is the Co-Committee Chair of the Drugs, Alcohol, Safety and Health Student Council. “I have helped raise awareness about these issues,” she explains of her position as co-chair, “[I attack] the problem not just in my own life, but on a school-wide scale.”
Rayapati finds joy in her science courses, namely biology. Her passion for science has encouraged her to get involved in creating her own experiments, including engineering a novel passive solar tracker that she developed with a friend. This device intends to improve methods of harnessing energy from the sun and it earned her and her friend 1st place at their regional science fair.
Rayapati intends to major in biology or biomedical engineering and eventually hopes to become a physician or to work in a lab. No matter what she pursues though, Rayapati always keeps this advice in mind: “Do not let disappointment define you. Let the way you react to setback, with determination and strength, compose your character instead.”
“Everything has two sides. With fear comes joy; with every doubt comes certainty.” This is the mantra that Vivian Yu, a junior at Longmeadow High School in Longmeadow, Mass., lives by. After being diagnosed with scoliosis and terrified at the thought of surgery, Yu decided to turn her fear into something positive. “I saw kids my age who had so much more to worry about than I did,” she recalls, “I realized then that Shriners [Hospital] had given me…a purpose, a dream. I wanted to help Shriners [and] those kids.”
It was then that Yu developed her passion for science — and for giving back to others. She plans on going to college for biomedical engineering and, one day, to develop new prostheses that are better functioning for future patients. As a member of her local Vex Robotics team, she is well on her way to achieving that goal. “The best part of being in robotics is simply seeing what I have created,” Yu explains, “If today I can change a pile of metal parts to a machine…who knows what I will be able to build in the future?”
> Read the full bios from these five finalists and more at NextStepU.com/SuperTeens.