Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Student Spotlight: Melissa Young

Melissa Young (left) is a junior at Josephinum Academy. Since grammar school, she had always been a C student, but now she has a B average. She tells me, “I found a way to make it easier… by studying more, doing my homework, and going up to teachers before school, during lunch, and after school.” Melissa’s tip for 7th & 8th graders who will soon be in high school is: “Make sure your teachers know your name. Be the outside student instead of falling in the crowd.”

She says she was inspired to improve her grades after learning about how colleges look closely at your junior year. As long as she can show improvement over her four years, Melissa believes she can get into a good college or university. Her dream schools are Columbia College, Northwestern University, and DePaul University.

Despite the rise in grades, Melissa is still nervous about the ACT test, which she will take next year. She does plan to take part in ACT prep sessions to be offered at Cabrini Connections next quarter and she and her mentor, Elena Lugo, are already practicing a bit each Thursday. Melissa and Elena are in their fourth year together. Melissa likes Elena because she provides a good balance between seriousness and fun. “She plays around, but she also expects me to do well.”

As a career, Melissa hopes to work with videos and graphics. She likes the feeling of being able to take a camera, shoot anything, and make it into a story. To foster this interest, Melissa joined the upstart Video & Filmmakers Club in August 2009. Since then she has created several videos including a recap of the 2010 Art Festival and a music video for the song “Lip Gloss.”

Melissa’s favorite parts of the filmmaking process are shooting and editing. She likes shooting because it is a challenge to get everything in place and she likes editing, similarly, because it is a challenge to figure out where the pieces go. Her dream is to make a movie that blends all genres into one – “different than any other movie.”

In addition to being a part of the Video Club, Melissa also organized the Halloween Bake Sale for the second year in a row and is a recently elected member of the Youth Leadership Council. Last year she asked EL, jokingly, “Why don’t we have an event for Halloween?” He told her anyone can start an event, and she did! In two years she has raised more than $500.

As for the Youth Leadership Council, because of her track record of good ideas and her recognition that people on the council can change things, Melissa saw fit to run and was indeed elected. Congratulations! Melissa admits that she was “super shy” when she first started at Cabrini Connections, but after coming on field trips, to events, and joining a club, she has gotten to know more people and feels very comfortable. We are glad. Thank you, Melissa!

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