$5000 The Gardner Group
2023 Calais High School
“It is necessary to resist what is clearly hurtful and wrong.”
Eight-year-old Anna came to Maine with no English, and rapidly mastered enough to help in her family’s restaurant as chief translator, house manager, head cashier, and shipments coordinator. Today, she translates and does taxes for her parents. Anna learned how to communicate with different customers in a business setting and fell in love with business.
Early in ninth grade, an adult’s racist comment sent Anna fleeing to the bathroom, hiding in a stall until she calmed down. However, through joining Joy Community, an online nonprofit organization focusing on racism, LGBTQ issues, and body positivity, she learned to actively protest and support anti-racism, gaining confidence and determination.
In her junior year, she filed a complaint letter, triggering a district investigation. School gossip challenged her, and she wondered if it had been a mistake to complain. Ultimately, changes occurred, including the creation of an Affirmative Action position to protect students and employees. Anna now understands that it is possible – even necessary – to resist what is clearly hurtful and wrong. Her commitment to her beliefs and her peers changed her school.
Anna will attend Clark University in the fall.