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Abigail Matijevic

1315

Bold Points

1x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

Bio

Hi! My name is Abigail Matijevic (but you can call me Abby) I am a freshman at Mississippi State University and I am majoring in Secondary Education with a concentration in History. I am hoping to one day be a High School history teacher and hope to receive my masters in educational psychology. I hope to one day study abroad in Australia or Spain! My hobbies include spending time with friends and family, journaling, enjoying time outside, and babysitting:)

Education

Mississippi State University

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Education, Other
  • Minors:
    • History

Dundee-Crown High School

High School
2017 - 2021

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

    • Secondary Education and Teaching
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Education

    • Dream career goals:

      History Teacher

    • Swim Instructor

      Dundee Township Park District
      2018 – Present6 years
    • Lifeguard

      Dundee Township Park District
      2017 – Present7 years

    Sports

    Volleyball

    Club
    2017 – 20181 year

    Research

    • Science Fair

      Independent — Research Intern
      2017 – 2018

    Arts

    • Dundee Crown Drama Department

      Theatre
      "Mamma Mia"
      2018 – 2019

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Youth Parish summer camp counselor — Camp Counselor
      2017 – 2019
    • Volunteering

      Mission Trip — volunteer
      2017 – 2019

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Bold Future of Education Scholarship
    I believe that the number one change that would make education better would be the increase in mental health classes. Within my own personal life I have met two different types of teachers; teachers that are just there for a check and don't even really like kids and teachers that genuinely want to see their students succeed and want the best for them. Being someone that went to a private Catholic school and dealing with the negative side of teachers for most of my life, my mentality behind school from a young age was quite damaged. My teachers would constantly tell me that I was not smart enough to get by in college and that I would not make it anywhere in life. Explaining things to me came to a dead end because my teachers would just give up and move on. I believed that I was the issue when I was very young. When I moved into public school and experienced what it was like having teachers actually care about me and see me succeed I understood that I was never the issue, it was my past teachers. Because of my tainted idea of school I didn't try as hard as I could have or even want to be at school at all because I thought that there was no bother. However, when my teachers in high school pushed me to do my best and try my hardest I saw dramatic changes in my grades and my mental health. Teachers need to understand that certain students do not look forward to or try in school due to their home lives, and when that same negative environment in their home lives is also reciprocated at school it creates an environment where no one is able to learn. If teachers are educated on the importance of mental health and the importance of trying their hardest to make their learning environment the best for their students then the students will walk into the classroom calm, ready to work, but most importantly they will feel like they are safe. I find myself doing so much better in a class when my teacher makes it very clear from the beginning of the year that they are there for me as a student. At the end of the day, a struggling kid just wants someone to hear them out. I feel that as a requirement, each teacher should experience some sort of class to educate them about how to acknowledge a teenagers feelings and ways to make their classroom feel like a safe space for all. I believe that then, students will succeed more and begin to look forward to school rather than see it as a burden.
    Susy Ruiz Superhero Scholarship
    My sophomore English teacher Ms. Leja will always be my favorite teacher for multiple reasons. She has a very overwhelmingly positive personality but in the best way possible. English is not my favorite subject and while I enjoyed having Ms. Leja as my English teacher because she taught me so much about writing essays and literature, that is not why she is my favorite teacher. Ms. Leja is an overall super genuine person who really prioritizes mental health in her classroom. She makes sure that every student understands that they have the resources to receive help if they need it and she is always willing to listen to someone who has to get anything off of their chest. As a sophomore, Ms. Leja made me feel safe and cared about in her classroom. I was able to connect with her more as a friend rather than a student talking to a teacher. Ms. Leja is my number one role model and the reason I want to be a teacher in the future. She would constantly tell me that students are more productive when they look forward to class and have a bond with their teacher. I wish to prioritize mental health in my classroom as much as Ms. Leja does. I wish to be like Ms. Leja in the circumstance that I want to show my future students that they matter and that they are smart. School does not have to be as overwhelming and stressful as it is. I have noticed that because I do better in classes with teachers like Ms. Leja. If a classroom has a positive environment with a patient and kind teacher, the students will enjoy the class and turn the teacher's positivity into their own form of positivity which reflects in their school work. Many times throughout high school, I felt like I was not working hard enough or that I was not smart enough to get into college. Ms. Leja, and many of my other teachers, constantly reassured me that I was so much smarter than I was telling myself I was. I never thought that there was such a thing as confidence in the classroom, but as Ms. Leja continued to support me the more I began to develop confidence in the classroom. I began to develop a sense of self-appreciation and self-worth because Ms. Leja genuinely cares about me and wanted to see my future success. Even now as a senior in high school about to graduate and leave for college, I still reach out to Ms. Leja if I ever need anything. Whether it is personal or school-related, Ms. Leja is there for me and every single one of her students. I hope that one day I am even a quarter as good of a teacher as Ms. Leja. I hope that I can influence students the way she has influenced me, and I hope I can inspire other students to be teachers in the future.
    Nikhil Desai "Favorite Film" Scholarship
    My all-time favorite movie is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The basic premise of the movie is that the main character, Harry Potter, is a twelve-year-old boy who lives with his awful uncle, aunt, and cousin because his parents died when he was very young. His life seems awful but on his twelve birthday Harry finds out that he is a wizard and has never known it until that moment. He has been accepted to a wizarding school and becomes immersed in the new life that he belongs to. He makes important friends and throughout the eight movies, Harry learns the dark side of the wizarding world and the secrets behind his past and his parent's death. My mother introduced the Harry Potter movie series to me at a very young age, maybe 5 or 6. I have always been fascinated by the idea of going to a magical school and having magical powers. By being immersed in that environment at such a young age I was able to develop an elaborate and creative imagination. Then when I was twelve I remember re-watching all 8 movies and feeling like I was growing up with the characters because in the first movie the characters were also twelve years old. I hoped and waited for my Hogwarts letter in the mail and I still obsess over the books and movies now as a seventeen-year-old. I was able to go to Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida back in 2018 and I was completely geeking out and over the moon at all of the Harry Potter paraphernalia. I have read all of the books multiple times and have seen the movies so many times I can read the lines of the characters as they say them.
    Charles R. Ullman & Associates Educational Support Scholarship
    I feel that it is important to be involved in one's community because giving back and prioritizing something else other than oneself can teach people how to be humble and how to be selfless. Understanding that some people are more privileged than others and can help people in need is super eye-opening and an important life skill. I am involved in my community because I have participated in multiple mission trips throughout my high school career. Each time I have gone on a mission trip it was really special to me because I got to get to know the people we were helping first hand. For example, in my first year on a mission trip, my group was assigned to a woman named Gloria who was living in a very beat-up home and was confined to a wheelchair. We repainted her house and planted new flowers outside her house. We also built a ramp outside her house to make it easier for her to enter and exit her house. It was really heartwarming to help out Gloria because she was talking to all of us about her life and how she grew up. She constantly told us how grateful she was for our help. In my second year of the mission trip, I worked with a 'habitat for humanity' store and I got to meet the people of the town of Waukesha, Wisconsin that was in a lower-income community. They were all very kind and welcoming. I was able to help people pick out used furniture that they wanted to purchase and I also was able to clean up older furniture being donated. Moments like these are very important to me because it teaches me compassion and kindness but also openness to hear out other people's life stories. I get to understand firsthand that not everyone has the luxuries that I am so grateful to have. I want to be a teacher in my future career. The way I can give back to my community as an educator is to be kind and compassionate to any students that are struggling at home and to be that light of positivity for them in the classroom. I feel that not a lot of teachers focus on the genuine wellbeing of their students and I want to strive to be that anchor that students can depend on for help.
    Simple Studies Scholarship
    I want to study education in college because I want to be the teacher that I never had. I grew up going to a private catholic school that was very competitive and the teachers were very hard on us. I was always told by my teachers growing up that I was never working hard enough and they made the students think that they were not smart if they did not have straight As. I was never a straight A student so I just thought I would never be considered a smart kid. My whole mindset of school in general was a very negative one until I went to high school. My teachers were so supportive of my education and mental health in high school, it was nothing I had never experienced before. I was succeeding expontentially in all of my classes and when I was a junior in high school I took my first ever AP class. I also ended up taking dual enrollment classes at my local commnity college. I want to be a teacher because I want to prioritize mental health in the classroom. Personally, I have noticed that students are more successful in a class that they have with a kind and plesant teacher. They learn to enjoy that class if it is in a positive enviornment. I am enrolled in a high school that is located in a lower class town with a lot of kids that do not want to be in school at all and it shows. Most of the students are not told that school is important and because they have a negative home life, they bring that mindset into school. I feel like some teachers do not put in the extra effort to understand the stories of other students. I want to be a teacher because I want my classroom to be that safespace for the students who come into school with a negative mindset. I know that I am only one person, but I want to influence these young adults lives in a way that makes them see school differently.
    AMPLIFY Mental Health Scholarship
    As a 17-year-old who is about to go into college, I have dealt with a large number of mental health issues in my life. In middle school, I always struggled with confidence in both my physical appearance and my school work. I went to a private school for ten years and it was a very strict and overwhelming environment. I was constantly being pushed and pushed to get my work done and get an A in everything. I have always felt like the work that I put into school was never good enough. I used to think that getting one B meant that I was a failure and I wasn't smart at all. When I moved out of that toxic environment and moved to a public high school, I realized that my hard work was more than enough. I never realized how many students are dealing with these issues where they feel the need to be perfect or the top in their class. It is so heartbreaking to listen to my friends talk about how they feel they are stupid when they have a 4.0 and are in the top 10 in their class. Mental health is really important to me and my future because my mental health journey inspired me to be a teacher. I want to be a high school history teacher not only because I love history but also because I want to be surrounded by that specific age of the student because high school is when young teenagers become adults. There are a lot of emotional issues and hormonal issues that come along with becoming an adult that some teenagers do not know how to deal with. The specific high school that I am currently enrolled in is considered a "lower-income" school that has a majority of minority students. The thing I love about my school is that a lot of the teachers are very passionate about helping the students and supporting them. On the other hand, though, I have seen a lot of teachers that just show up to the school to receive a paycheck. I want to be a teacher because I want to be there for students that do not have anyone to talk to. I want to be that outlet for students going through young adulthood and don't know how to live through it by themselves. I want to make sure that mental health is valid in my classroom and even though I will be teaching history. Because of my mental health struggles in the classroom, I want to pay extra special attention to the well-being of my future students because I will be the teacher that I always wish I could have had.
    Mental Health Movement Scholarship
    My name is Abby Matijevic and I have struggled with mental health issues since I was 12 years old. Everyone has their own personal demons to fight and their own mental health issues to deal with. This is my personal story. When I was 12, entering middle school, I was a very happy and outgoing child with no idea what true genuine sadness felt like. Of course, as middle school goes; puberty, liking boys, mean girls, etc, I began to develop a large amount of body conscience issues. I was growing in places I have never grown before while all of my friends were staying skinny. When I learned what body dysmorphia was I did not believe it was a real thing. Until I was at Victoria's Secret with my mother one day and the woman measured my bra size and long story short I was not happy with the size she told me. I ran to the changing room and broke down to the ground crying. I felt fat and disgusting like I would never be able to fit into any clothes. I looked in the mirror and asked my mom "Do I really look like that? Do I really look that big?". Looking back now I was not fat at all in the slightest, but it is crazy to think that I once genuinely thought like that. Now as a seventeen-year-old, I still struggle with my confidence and self-esteem. It is a constant battle of looking in the mirror and seeing an unhealthy, large, ugly person and seeing a beautiful, healthy, happy person. I still have more bad days than good and I still believe have body dysmorphia but I try to embrace my flaws instead of overthinking them. As I have gotten older I am slowly realizing my own self-worth and trying my hardest to love that person I look at in the mirror. I only wish I would have been able to do that when I was 12.
    Nikhil Desai "Perspective" Scholarship
    A moment that for sure changed my perspective on life was quarantine and the COVID-19 pandemic. At the beginning of the quarantine (March 2020), I did not follow the rules. I thought masks were stupid and I thought that I had no reason to worry about contracting the infectious disease. I continued to go out to see friends and did not have a care in the world. I thought to myself that this was not going to affect my family or my personal life in the slightest. None of my close friends or family had coronavirus and no one they knew had even been exposed to coronavirus. "I have nothing to worry about," I thought to myself. I thought of the quarantine as a super long summer that I would be able to take advantage of before my senior year of high school. I went on trips with my friends out of the state to Wisconsin and Michigan, I went to my friend's houses as often as I wanted, and I did not worry about my health at all. However, as time went on I was faced with a sad, negative truth. My very close friend, Emma, has a very severe gluten allergy which means she does not have a strong immune system. When she found out that she was exposed to coronavirus and had to get tested I finally understood what all of the fear and caution was for. I worried for my friend to such an extent that I thought she was going to die if she had tested positive. Thankfully, she tested negative but that one moment changed my entire perspective of the pandemic. After that moment, in July, I changed how often I was leaving my house and I was being cautious for the people around me instead of for myself. I work at a pool right next door to an assisted living facility. So most of the people coming to the pool to swim were elderly and very susceptible to contracting coronavirus. I had to think of everyone around me. I wore my mask every day all day at work, and I was very self-aware of my hygiene and respecting other people's comforts. This pandemic has taught me that even if you are young and healthy, living through a pandemic or not, you cannot be selfish. Other people's lives matter just as well as your own. My grandmother is one of the sweetest women that I have ever met. She gets very nervous about COVID-19 so my mother and I buy her groceries from time to time when she needs them. It is the most heartbreaking thing in the world to see my old frail grandmother through her window and not be able to give her a hug. I speak with her on the phone and she talks about how she is so scared and how she wishes all of this was over. My new perception of COVID-19 has shown me how much of a difference I can make within my own family as long as I follow the rules. Now it is December and because of other people that still have the mindset I had at the beginning of quarantine, I do not know if I am going to have normal graduation or senior prom. I am feeling nervous to go back to school in person, which I never thought I would ever feel. I had an entire year of social activities ripped away from me because of the arrogance of other people. I continue to live through the coronavirus experience every day with positivity and hope by following the rules and respecting people's comforts. Although quarantine was very stressful and scary, I honestly would not change it for anything else in the world because without this experience I would not have had a reality check as large as the one I had due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Nikhil Desai Reflect and Learn COVID-19 Scholarship
    COVID-19 has been a whirlwind of emotions to deal with for me. This pandemic has been full of both positives and negatives so at the very least it is easy to say that COVID-19 has affected my life immensely. Mental health has been something I have struggled with my entire life. Not only has depression been something I have dealt with but suicidal thoughts as well. The beginning and middle of quarantine was a very lonely time for me. As a 17-year-old girl who is a senior in high school, I struggled with my friendships and my independence in my schoolwork. I am usually a very outgoing and social person, but not being able to see friends because of the health and safety of their own family members was very difficult. I felt like I had no friends and no one that wanted to be around me. I felt helpless and I felt very unmotivated often and my grades began to suffer because of it. I isolated myself and did not leave my room for days at a time. I was skipping meals and I was losing weight in an unhealthy way. However, the longer I lived through the pandemic, the stronger I became mentally. As the months of quarantine went on and on I realized that this way of life was not going to end any time soon so I had to do something about it. I began to push myself in my schoolwork and I began to succeed again. I am going to college next year so I knew I had to be completely focused on what I needed to complete for my future school. As for my social confidence, I began to understand that my real friends are the people that will make the effort to talk to you. Although it was sad to lose a lot of friends along the journey of the pandemic, I regained a better understanding of my own self-worth. I now understand that I don't need anyone else to be confident, and I can be successful in my school work on my own. 2020 was a stressful, awful, emotional, yet amazing year. Although COVID-19 was an experience like no other, I would not change it for anything else.