Although Arnold is deaf, he attends school every day ready to advocate for himself. In addition to taking college courses and maintaining a 3.5 GPA, Arnold keeps a positive attitude and exemplifies steadfastness despite his physical challenges. He was also the first Columbus Downtown High School deaf student to ever be hired as a summer intern at Nationwide. At Nationwide, Arnold was an Information Technology intern, and for an end of the year project he put together a presentation to assist deaf people, people with disabilities, color blindness, and ADHD with Information Technology. His work was shared during a work fair and he aced it. He challenges himself and motivates himself to succeed. Arnold would like to work as a software engineer or computer scientist and has a goal to edit closed captioning to use better grammar and make the captions shorter.
Makenzie was born to a teenage mother and is determined to break this cycle, overcoming every challenge the world has placed in front of her. She is a 2019 graduate of Walnut Ridge High School and is committed to making the world a better place. She has worked with her peers to label bars of soap for human trafficking prevention, made thousands of decorations for Ronald McDonald House, started her own catering business, been an activist for social justice, and even bought a new pair of shoes for a struggling classmate. Her desire to become a midwife is an example of her passion to help others.
When asked what Makenzie is most proud of, she shared “I am most proud of myself for graduating high school. Throughout my 3 years of high school I was always told that my senior year would be the worst year and it would be very difficult to pass. I was intimidated by what people told me. I began with a mindset that school was going to be a struggle; however, I eventually got the hang of it. Looking back, senior year wasn’t hard at all. I learned that you can’t always listen to what other people tell you. It’s up to you to create your own opinion, especially because everyone’s situation is different”