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After experiencing bullying in middle school, Elisa chose to take hurtful words and build a sense of strength from them. She focused on encouraging positivity through her friends’ actions, group projects and her entire school. When Waukegan’s two high schools rearranged the student populations, negativity spread like wild fire. Elisa’s new school, which had once been known for its colorful walls and school spirit, was now a drab gray that fueled a negative atmosphere. Elisa took it upon herself to create positive energy by creating the Wall of Positivity. The spirit of the school immediately began to change, so much so the principal asked Elisa to expand the Wall of Positivity to every floor of the building. Elisa plans to study psychology at Denison University.

Her reference states: “she believes that everyone, regardless of their circumstances can defy expectations and become exceptional.”