I found out some cool news last week! I was picked as one of the ‘8 Coolest Kids’ Scholastic got the chance to meet in 2014. I am so honored! Among the list of eight kids they picked, there are fundraising gardeners, inventors, advocates and more. It is so exciting to be chosen among so many amazing Kids.
It’s exciting because Scholastic is a United States organization with global reach, serving as a great resource to schools all around the globe. They do so much to promote literacy and to excite kids about their own futures. It’s an honor to be recognized by them.
Writer Jane Bianchi of Scholastic interviewed me in January of 2014 for their Choices magazine. In the interview, I was able to talk about my journey so far to Mars, my mentor astronaut Luca Parmitano and the top three things I’ve learned about following my dreams. It was an awesome experience! I was thrilled to know this story was going to be featured in schools across the country. I hope my story has inspired many other kids to Dream Big. Act Big. and Inspire Others!
You can view the article here!
Thank you to Scholastic for this awesome recognition and all the work you do to help kids reach their dreams!
NEW YORK, Dec. 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — The editors of Scholastic News® today announced their list of the 8 Coolest Kids We Met in 2014, a roundup of the most inspiring, courageous, and innovative kids featured in the magazines this year. The classroom magazines that featured these standout kids include: Scholastic News – Grades 5/6, Scholastic Action®, Scope®, Choices®, and Science World®. Scholastic publishes 28 print and digital classroom magazines that reach nearly 25 million readers annually. Learn more at www.scholastic.com/news.
“Our editors meet incredible students each year while developing stories for our magazines—these kids are a profound reminder of the amazing and inspiring things that the next generation of Americans are capable of achieving,” said Hugh Roome, the magazines’ publisher. “We hope that these ‘cool kids’ inspire others to pursue activities and act on issues that are most important to our society.”
The ‘8 Coolest Kids We Met in 2014’ are:
The Astronaut Abby Harrison, a 17-year-old from Minnesota, is reaching for the stars – literally! Abby started working toward her goal of becoming an astronaut when she was in 7th grade by participating in a program that allowed her to build rockets and learn about the history of space exploration, as well as attend space camp. She attended a rocket launch in Florida where she met an astronaut who has now become her mentor. Until she gets her chance to go into orbit, Abby is helping to connect astronauts in space with interested earthlings via social media.
The Super Brother Hunter Gandee, a 15-year-old from Michigan, has a very special bond with younger brother Braden, 7. Braden has cerebral palsy, making it difficult for him to walk. To raise awareness for the condition and encourage conversation about new ways to help those who have it, Hunter completed a 40-mile trek with Braden on his back. The walk took 30 hours, including one overnight stop and a few short breaks, to complete.
The Gardener Chandra Starr, a 14-year-old from Colorado, is bringing together her community and inspiring people to get healthy through gardens. Once homeless and hungry, Chandra’s family relied on food banks for help. Much of the food they received was full of sugar, fat, and salt, and eventually Chandra was diagnosed with early stage diabetes. Soon after, her family got a space at a community garden to grow their own food – the fresh vegetables and the exercise that Chandra got from gardening improved her health radically. Chandra felt that it was her time to give back, and so she started a Million Penny Project to support community gardens in her area. In just 4 months, she raised $19,000 and funded 91 gardens that produce fresh food for food banks and families in need.
The Beat Maker Sierra Roundtree, a 12-year-old from Washington D.C., shares her love of music the best way she knows how: on her turntables. As a young child, Sierra realized that she had a natural talent for picking out beats and blending them together. At the age of six, she began practicing as a DJ, learning how to use turntables to create awesome danceable music. Now Sierra, aka “DJ Beauty and the Beatz,” is the youngest professional DJ in the country. She has DJ’d events for major retailers and fashion designers and has been recognized by a number of veteran DJs for her talent.
The Lifesaver Kenneth Shinozuka, a 16-year-old from New York, was inspired to do something to help Alzheimer’s patients after witnessing the trouble the condition caused in his own family. Kenneth’s grandfather has Alzheimer’s and began wandering in the middle of the night. Despite his family’s best efforts to keep an eye on him, one night he wandered onto the highway and was thankfully found by police and returned home unharmed. Kenneth created SafeWander, a sensor that is placed on an Alzheimer patient’s foot that sends an alert to the caregiver’s phone to wake them when the patient stands up.
The Advocates Madeline Halpert and Eva Rosenfeld, both 17-years-old from Michigan, used the power of journalism to highlight an important teen issue: depression. After discovering that they had both struggled with depression, the girls proposed devoting an entire issue of their school newspaper to personal stories from their peers who were suffering from mental illness. When the school blocked the issue from being published, the girls wrote an essay about the stigma of depression, which ran in The New York Times. After all of their work to bring attention to the topic, Choices magazine gave them the opportunity to finally share their peers’ stories this fall!
The Inventor Shubham Banerjee, a 13-year-old from California, isn’t your average science fair entrant. After learning about the Braille system and the high cost of the special printers (more than $2,000) that produce the raised dots, Shubham set out to create an affordable printer for the blind. Using LEGO blocks, receipt paper, and some superb programming skills, he created a functioning Braille printer which he named Braigo. The new printer costs less than $400 and has won a number of awards. To ensure that the printer is as affordable as possible, Shubham published free instructions online and kept the coding open-source so that others can improve upon it.