Perseverance is a defining quality for MaKenna Taylor. Despite dealing with issues of loss in her family life, she always exhibits a positive attitude, genuine care and concern for others and a high level of commitment to her own academic success.
Warsa Beyene has demonstrated a “fierce personal resolve” to overcome language and cultural barriers and successfully balance a rigorous academic load, extracurricular activities, community service and family responsibilities.
Taylor and Beyene were among ten outstanding teenagers honored as “Young Women of Distinction” during the Colorado Girls Elevated 2017 Reach Your Peak Expo, held April 23 at the Arapahoe County Fairgrounds Event Center. The expo featured inspirational speakers and compelling workshops on topics including bullying, cyber safety, healthy body image and career choices.
The Cherry Creek School District hosted an area where students could try their hand at computer science, digital media and 3D programming or try different art activities with art students from Eagelcrest High School. They could also check out a 1964 Ford Falcon 1/4 mile drag race car from Smoky Hill High School. The car represents the automotive classes students can take through the CCSD Career & Technical Education program, which can lead to industry certification and rewarding careers in the automotive industry.
The Young Women of Distinction honorees were selected because they have inspired others by demonstrating leadership, compassion, perseverance and selfless giving, even as they faced their own personal challenges.
That certainly describes MaKenna Taylor, an seventh-grader at Horizon Community Middle School, where she is remains a high-performing student, even as she struggles with difficulty and loss in her personal life. Taylor’s teachers say she has a great attitude and a willingness and eagerness to learn. She strives to challenge herself academically and is successful in her Pre-AP classes, earning high test scores and honor roll status.
But Taylor is equally focused on her fellow students, helping them to be successful in school as well. She has a gentle demeanor and always exhibits kindness toward her fellow students. She is a leader in the classroom and is a master of giving honest and important feedback to her peers and her teachers. Taylor inspires others to be the best version of themselves.
Warsa Beyene is a senior at Cherry Creek High School and will be the first in her family to attend college when she enters the University of Northern Colorado this fall to study math or science. Beyene’s parents emigrated to the U.S. from Eritrea in East Africa, after Beyene was born in Egypt. She has managed language, cultural and educational differences, as well as family responsibilities, with what one of her counselors calls “fierce personal resolve.”
For example, Beyene holds a part-time job to help support her family of six. At the same time, she has improved her grade point average from 2.2 in ninth grade to an impressive 3.1 in 12th grade. She participates in a number of extracurricular activities, including Unified Basketball, where typical and special needs students play together. Beyene also serves on the executive board of the CCHS Diversity Conference and is president of the CCHS African American Leadership Council.
Congratulations to these Young Women of Distinction!