We put out an “open call” this spring, asking Maine girls to share their thoughts and artistic talents for this inaugural issue, and we were blown away by the response. Thank you to all the girls who shared their artwork, photography and writing. We’re so unbelievably impressed by your thoughtfulness, creativity and passion.
What change would you like to see in the world?
⇓ ALLY HANSEN
“I don’t think I want to see change in the world as much as I would like to us humans change. Let’s just think about it: If we change, the world will, too. Change isn’t a bad thing—I often think we need it. I’m not saying all of us need to switch our lives around and start on a fresh page, but changing our simple actions, how we speak and how we treat people will simply be enough to change our world. I’m sure you’ve all heard this, but day by day we grow stronger and we learn new things about how to get through life, so use the new ideas and use the strength we get, to change. Make yourself the happiest, change your thinking to make you happy. Don’t change the outside of you, you’re put on this earth that way so don’t worry about that stuff, worry about the outside world and the things happening right now.”
Ally Hansen is 13, lives in southern Maine and is part of an inspiring group called Hardy Girls Healthy Women at her school. She was born in Maine and soon after moved to the U.S. Virgin Islands. With all the sunny days, with a mix of rain, it gave her something she today calls home. She moved back to Maine and now lives with sun and snow.
⇓ KIELY CALLAHAN
“One change I would make in this world is the amount of poverty there is that’s everywhere. In Portland, many people beg on the streets and have no place they can call home. I have volunteered with my school at the local soup kitchen a couple times for the breakfast shifts, and it is so sad to me how many people come in and don’t know where their next meal is coming from. I would love to figure something out that helps people find jobs easily and help them get off the streets.”
Kiely Callahan is 15 years old and a freshman at Waynflete School in Portland. She loves playing team sports like soccer, basketball and lacrosse, and she also likes to surf, ski and sail.
⇓ MADELINE SMITH
“I would like people to stop judging women and girls for their looks and clothing. I would like women and girls to be valued for who they really are, like their personality, their talents and smarts.”
Madeline Smith is 9 years old and a fourth-grader at Sea Road School in Kennebunk and she loves to sing! She most recently performed with seven-time Grammy award winner Paul Winter and Voices In Harmony Children’s Choir at St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland. When she’s not singing she enjoys playing lacrosse, taking her dog Gracie for walks and riding her bike with her friends. Her dream is to be on Broadway.
⇓ KATIA HRYCAY
“Here in Scarborough there’s a lot of debate over what type of grading system is best, but few seem to question whether a grading system is beneficial at all. One of the reasons that I choose to homeschool is that I think grades get in the way of learning and make people competitive. Teachers say that grades and tests are a good way to measure what gaps a student has. But what is the purpose of looking for gaps if you are not going to fill them before new material is expected to be built upon it? Last summer a new house was built next to our apartment. After they completed a step, the workers would inspect their work. Their work needed to be 100 percent before they would go on. What if the house was inspected and wasn’t quite right, and they kept going? Eventually no more could be built without it falling apart, and I believe it’s the same for students. If it seems illogical to build a house in this way, why do we think it acceptable to be educated in this way?”
Katia Hrycay is a 17-year-old homeschooler who wants to be a teacher has been taking American Sign Language at the University of Southern Maine. She has been figure skating since she was 7.
⇓ JESSIE WALKER
“I did my first lockdown drill before I learned how to tie my shoelaces.
Fear of gun violence in American schools has been prevalent for many years, but for the post-Columbine generation this fear is an integral part of our education. We have come to understand mass shootings as something we prepare for, a reality that comes with being a student in America today. Our nation has seen over 130 school shootings since Columbine, and yet we have had few pieces of constructive legislature from our elected officials proposed to combat this epidemic.
For many of us, we simply want our politicians to have our best interests in mind and to hold our safety as their priority.
However, despite the horrific acts of violence we have witnessed over the past 18 years, I maintain hope. I am inspired by the countless scores of young people I see organizing walkouts, leading marches, and standing up against gun violence. Our future will be one without fear because we are the individuals at the forefront of this movement. This is our time to stand up, speak out, and be heard. We will enact the change we wish to see.”
Jessie Walker, 18, is a senior at Orono High School in Orono, Maine. In the fall she will be attending Syracuse University where she will be pursuing her B.F.A. in Acting. She was one of the organizers of the Orono High School Walkout Against Gun Violence, and is a member of the Bangor-area chapter of Students Demand Action.