KPS Student Exhibits Award-Winning Activism0
It has been a while since we last checked in with a Promise student, so we decided to chat with a Loy Norrix High School senior who demonstrates that you are never too young to be a compassionate community leader.
Having been in Girl Scouts since first grade, Sierra Ward has sold more than 1,500 boxes of cookies, gone on several camping adventures, and participated in mentorship programs at Washington Writer’s Academy. Now a Girl Scout Ambassador, Ward is thankful for the experiences she has gained through her involvement.
“Girl Scouts has provided me with leadership skills and taught me to be persistent,” she explained. “I would like to encourage girls to be a part of Girl Scouts. There is a misconception that Girl Scouts is only for younger girls, but you can participate up through high school.”
In addition to the skills developed and the lessons learned through Girl Scouts, Ward has also made great contributions to her community through service projects. In fact, she earned a Silver Award by sewing and selling more than 100 pillows. The profit for each pillow was in turn donated to the homeless.
After earning her Silver Award, Ward began pursuing the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn, the Gold Award. Initially, she had hoped to hold a conference for girls of all ages and backgrounds that discussed women’s issues. Due to the pandemic, she had to improvise and focus on other needs in her community.
“I turned my focus to Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) seniors graduating in 2020 and elderly folks who were not able to connect with family due to COVID-19,” she said.
Ward created more than 1,700 bookmarks inscribed with inspirational messages and distributed them to graduating seniors at Loy Norrix High School, Kalamazoo Central High School, Phoenix High School, and residents at Friendship Village. As the owner of RJ’s Printing, Ward’s uncle assisted with the production of these bookmarks, while sponsorship support came from Deb Harris of the Loy Norrix Interact Club. Ward is also thankful for the encouragement she received from her parents, both of whom are KPS teachers, and her younger sister Aliah.
In January 2021, Ward’s hard work was recognized by the City of Kalamazoo and she was named as a Social Justice Youth Award recipient. Now more than halfway through her senior year, she has her sights set on what she wants to do after high school.
Using The Kalamazoo Promise (The Promise), Ward plans on attending Western Michigan University to study Public Health with a minor in Business. It is her goal to one day own and fund a hospital for minorities and low-income citizens that would also provide educational classes within the health field.
“I want to promote equity and diversity in the healthcare field using my education in health and business combined,” she revealed. “The Promise is a blessing that has been provided for my family. My plan is to not take out a student loan from now until I start grad school.”
Thank you for telling us your story, Sierra! The leadership and empathy you have demonstrated is appreciated by your fellow citizens and we wish you the best of the luck in your senior year and beyond.