Make a difference. My freshman year these three words were simply the name of a club I was a part of. We volunteered at events, donated Christmas presents for those in need, and simply aimed to improve our community. On October 9, 2015, those three words transformed completely and will forever remind me of my mentor and her mission.
I became president of Make a Difference club sophomore year, adding a load of stress to my already hectic life. To be quite honest, I only wished to be president because I knew it would look good for college applications. As my time in office lengthened, my relationship with the club advisor deepened. We constantly put our heads together and forming potential ideas for the club. Her continuous efforts to create a safe and harmonious environment stunned me every meeting we had. My advisor planned to host an event called “Empty Bowls” that raised money that would be donated to charity. Ceramics was one of her passions, as well as giving, therefore she was especially excited for this event. Our meetings for weeks were discussing the logistics of Empty Bowls.
On a Friday night, I received a call from a friend, asking if I heard about my advisor. At first I did not think anything of it, for I was only with her a few short hours ago. Hearing the word “died,” altered my perspective on life immediately. The next few days were a blur. Her memorial service was not an easy service to attend; however, seeing the impact she made on everyone further validated her worth.
I have always been one to volunteer and help others; however, the power of my advisor’s passion and personality stuck with me, and is still here to this day. The Make A Difference club is still running, with everything being done in honor of my advisor. My three years in Make a Difference, and two with Mrs. Reilly, have shaped me as the person I am today. I no longer look at those who suffer and feel sorrow, I immediately contemplate ways I can help them. I know now the power an act of kindness can forever change a person’s life, just like how my advisor changed mine. Before her, I believed we were all just on earth living, just roaming with no purpose. Now, as I am in the college application process, I know my purpose is to become a teacher and change the world.
Although Empty Bowls never made it to the final stages of planning, the simple thought of ceramic bowls reminds me of my advisor and her selfless ways. My high school is a school with socioeconomic, cultural, and racial diversity; however, my advisor treated all of her students one way: with kindness and a sense of humor. She was never unfair and offered help when it was needed.
Life is about experiences and what you make of them. To quote my advisor, “Just make a difference.”