Nominated by Jakye Nunley
“Rachael is an amazing leader in her community. She takes on various leadership roles as she holds the student advocacy director position on student council and she is also a English tutor. Her efforts are greatly appreciated, as I’ve also observed her many talents such as singing & drawing. She is way above average in both categories! Also she is graduating early and setting her self up for success by finding her life-work balance before she gets out of high school! Overall the girl is extremely talented and well rounded.”
My Black Colorado Interview
What school do you attend and how old are you?
I’m 16 years old. I am currently enrolled at Eaglecrest High School. I just finished a class through Smoky Hill, and I’m also enrolled at Brigham Young University. I am an 11th grader, but I will be graduating in May.
What do you think others would say that they like about you or value about you the most?
I think what people value about me the most is my heart. I consider myself an empathetic person and somebody who’s always looking to make the world a better place for other people and I think that people see that they may not always say it. Still, I believe that when people are around me or interact with me, they feel emotionally safe, which is something important to me and just as they belong overall.
When you’re not in a class, what are things you like to enjoy being involved with?
Well, I was earlier this year inducted into the Thespian Society. So I enjoy acting, singing, and Performing Arts. I am a super creative person, so I like to do hair in general, crochet and knit. I’m not a Super great painter, but I want to learn to paint and draw. I’m also a writer, so sometimes I write songs, poetry, and all that creative stuff.
Are you involved in anything in school?
I’m on the student council this year. I’m the director of student advocacy and my responsibility is to make sure that we’re making sure all of our decisions are serving students. At the same time, we’re making sure that we’re incorporating each students’ voice and producing something that fits them well.
What do you like about that school?
I like that there are just so many perspectives because when you’re focusing on one. Everyone else’s perspective comes about and just realizing that everybody’s coming from a different position, the other place, a different set of circumstances, and just making sure that you’re addressing those needs of different people. I like that aspect of it.
What would you say is the best advice someone has given you recently?
Actually, it came from Jake Nunley, which is funny, but he said, “Don’t make it known if you can’t make it grow.” I think that’s super important because you know, a lot of people boast about how they make this much money, or I’m doing this and I blah blah blah, but what are you doing with it? Are you expanding it? Are you expanding your reach, or are you settling for mediocre work, or are you just living in it? You know, I think that’s something that I try to apply to my life now ever since he told me.
What do you think is one area that you want to get better in?
I’ve been working on drawing boundaries for myself and realizing my self-worth because I do a lot for others. Sometimes that can be super exhausting when you’re not taking care of yourself and letting people know, “Hey, I don’t like this,” or “I’m not going to do this,” and “you can’t treat me that way!” That’s something that I want to improve on being courageous enough to draw those boundaries with people.
What do you think is one piece of advice that adults need to hear to better connect with the younger generation?
I think that something adults could try to work on with today’s youth is caring for them as people. Often, we get so caught up in titles: I’m a student, I’m your child, etc., but I’m also a person. People can start to break that mold because it’s a new age and it’s a new day. Kids go through a whole set of recent struggles, but just realizing that we’re all people and we’re learning at the end of the day and we should be treated just like adults. I think that would help to connect generations.
What accomplishments or awards are you most proud of and why?
A few years ago I was being nominated by my teachers and a few community members for the Especially Me award. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with that, but it’s another group that recognizes young black girls specifically. And I was just really touched by that because all the people that they could have chosen and they chose me — I’m the one who’s representing us and I just thought that was so amazing. In that room, surrounded by other young girls like me, who are high achievers, who are creative, and who are talented, it was so great to be a part of that. So I’m proud of that, and then my academic achievements I’ve been on the honor roll for as long as I can remember. The things that I work on the most at school — is being able to have that like relief that I’m doing well, that I’m always aiming high and achieving high even when school is crazy. I’m also proving black girls can make it in education. Especially in my classes, there’s only a handful of us and even less black men. Just being able to represent ultimately makes me proud.
What do you think you want to do for a career and why?
I want to do everything! I like to keep myself open, not confine myself to a box, but I wanted to get into medicine for as long as I can remember. I want to be a neonatologist. Babies deserve a fighting chance and I want to be a part of that work. More recently, I started to grow into my passion for music, so I want to expand that in some way, whether it be singing, songwriting, or producing. I also want to have my own business. I’m working on something right now in my clothing line, so I’m super excited about it, but I want to be able to do everything.
What role have your parents played in helping you mature and grow?
I think it’s kind of like two hands. On the one hand, they’ve been super supportive in the best way they know how to be and I appreciate them for that because I don’t think I would be in the place that I’m at without the support of my parents. On the other hand, when they weren’t able to give me the support that I thought I needed, I could lean on my chosen family like my friends and extended family even. So I feel like there’s always been that underlying support, whether it was from them or my chosen family.
What advice would you give to other young women or men your age?
Often, we don’t know what we need to get into the field we want to go into. Maybe there aren’t people who look like us or even look like us. If you’re ever in that position, plenty of other people were too. So if you needed to see a black astronaut, you be a black astronaut so that somebody else could see it! Be what you want to see!