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Isabella Smith

5905

Bold Points

5x

Nominee

1x

Finalist

Bio

Hi! I am Bella, a senior at Gilbert Classical Academy, a competitive high school. It is a small school filled with students with big dreams. I come from a single-parent home. My immigrant mother has taught me and my sister the ethics of hard work at an early age. This year, I have prioritized my mental health to achieve a more balanced lifestyle. I have become an advocate for myself and other students in my school. I am engaged in our student life. I am the president of Model U.N. I am passionate about drafting papers and arguing ideas. I also joined the Dead Poet Society club. Poetry has been an outlet for me to express myself without feeling judged. Sports have played an immense role in my mental health journey. I have done track and field, and swimming and I am taking a weight training class. I intend to continue sports in college. Volunteering has helped me in my journey. I volunteered for animal shelters, food banks, and at a French school as a tutor. I feel fulfilled when helping others. My passion for animals defines me the best. Animals bring me comfort when no one else does. I have always struggled with making friends due to my insecurities caused by my childhood trauma. Animals have been the constant reassuring presence in my life. That is why I want to pursue a career in zoology and animal biology to dedicate my life to animals. I want to contribute to the conservation of animals and protect our planet for future generations. I want to be able to give animals a voice and become an advocate for changes in worldwide conservation movements.

Education

Gilbert Classical Academy High School

High School
2020 - 2024

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Majors of interest:

    • Zoology/Animal Biology
    • Sustainability Studies
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      zoology

    • Dream career goals:

    • teacher assistant

      Frencham
      2023 – Present1 year
    • Tutor

      Kumon
      2023 – Present1 year

    Sports

    Swimming

    Club
    2023 – Present1 year

    Track & Field

    Junior Varsity
    2022 – Present2 years

    Research

    • Microbiological Sciences and Immunology

      Gilbert Classical Academy — leader
      2022 – 2023

    Arts

    • Gilbert Classical Academy

      Music
      School performances
      2021 – 2023

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Gilbert Classical Academy — helping students who are struggling with English and Math
      2023 – Present
    • Volunteering

      French school — teacher's assistant
      2022 – 2023
    • Volunteering

      midwest food bank — warehouse worker and volunteer
      2021 – Present

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Eden Alaine Memorial Scholarship
    The year 2020 was marked by numerous challenges, but nothing had prepared me for the loss that I suffered on July 7, 2020. Someone rang our doorbell, I heard a scream and opened my bedroom door to find my mother on her knees at the bottom of the stairs. In the doorway was a man with a badge at his waist. My heart sank. My father had been in the ICU for several days on a ventilator as he had contracted COVID a few days earlier. I had not spoken to my dad for several weeks. My sister came out of her room as I was proceeding down the stairs still trying to make sense of what was happening. My mom turned around and said, "It is Pappy. He was found dead". "Pappy" is what we called my maternal grandfather, as he was from France. I ran to my mother and hugged her. I started to feel my knees going weak. I sat on the couch lightheaded. How could this be? I could barely make sense of what the detective was saying. He was found in his backyard by the pool man. They did not know if there was foul play or not. The detective left his business card on the TV stand with the case number for the autopsy. He kept saying that he was sorry. Then he was gone. My heart sank. I felt empty. Pappy and I had this special bond. When I was sad, he knew right away just by looking at me. He would always try to make me feel better and comfort me. He would distract me by playing chess games and talking about galaxies. I always enjoyed going to his house on Sundays. He had a big house and my sister and I would play hide and seek for hours. My grandfather was born during World War II while his village was occupied by the Germans. He told incredible stories about his childhood living in a little village in France. Despite growing up during the German occupation, and having witnessed the horrors of the war, he always had a positive outlook on life. There is one thing that my grandfather valued more than anything, and that was education. He came from a poor family. His parents did not even have a high school diploma. His father started working at the age of 15 and his mother always worked at her family's restaurant. My grandfather always excelled in school. He ultimately became a medical doctor. He had his own family practice in a small town in France. His patients adored him. He ultimately retired and moved to the U.S. His most vivid childhood memory was having the U.S. troops free his village. He had a deep and sincere admiration for Americans. Being able to become a US citizen was for him the ultimate realization of a childhood dream. I felt inspired by his stories and I always wanted to achieve greatness to emulate him. My grandfather was there when my father was absent. He would help me with my homework, displaying patience. He explained things in a manner that was clear to me. Now I understand that he was consciously the father figure I was craving. He made me the determined and unstoppable woman who I am today. He is watching over me now. I wish I could have told him how much he meant to me and how grateful I am for all his teachings. The most valuable lesson he taught me was forgiveness, which allowed me to become closer to my father.
    Mental Health Scholarship for Women
    My life circumstances have forced me to address my mental health at an early age. When I was only five years old, my father left me all by myself in the middle of the night and I found myself wandering the streets. I was fortunate enough that a neighbor called the police. I was physically unharmed, however, I developed obsessive-compulsive disorder. I will later understand through therapy that it was a way for me to control my environment as a child. From the age of 5 until the age of 14 years old, I was seeing a therapist weekly. At the age of 7, I had suicidal ideation and around the age of 12, I started to self-harm to calm the pain inside and I had to deal with anorexia. I was later diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I attended individual and group therapy. I participated in DBT therapy and learned new skills to deal with my feelings and emotions in a healthy way. I was also seeing a psychiatrist in conjunction with my therapy treatment. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression as well as mild autism. At the time I did not really understand the labels that I was given and sometimes it was too overwhelming. While I was repairing myself, I also had to repair my relationship with my father. My school performance started to decline when I was in 8th grade. My behavior of self-harming was frowned upon by my school and I was a liability to them. My mother was the greatest advocate and made sure to assert my rights within the school district. I felt validated and it gave me room to heal and perform better. Sport is a great way to release my anxiety. I joined track and field last semester. This semester, I am on the swim team and I am also taking a weightlifting class. I also found that others could be a source of healing. That is why I decided to join several clubs. This year I am the President of the Model UN club and it has given me confidence. Keeping my mind and body occupied certainly has helped me cope with my past trauma. I also enjoy being in nature a lot and going for hikes brings me peace and serenity while exerting my body. When I was looking at colleges, I kept in my mind my mental health. I want to go to a college where mental health is an important aspect of the campus philosophy. I recently visited Northern Arizona University (NAU). The campus itself sits at the foot of San Francisco Peaks, which is the highest peak in Arizona. The scenery offers this quiet and calming atmosphere. I also noticed several pamphlets about mental health in the student services office while we were waiting for the tour to start. The university offers many options for students to have a balanced life on campus. They have many clubs and sports activities that are being offered. As I was walking around I got this feeling of belonging and I knew that it was where I wanted to go. I have learned since I was little how important mental is and I was given the tools to cope with my own mental health in therapy. The most important however for me is to continue my journey by recognizing that my mental health takes priority and that it is ok to fail. I keep learning and I keep finding new ways to have a balanced and healthy lifestyle and just be kind to myself and others.
    Trever David Clark Memorial Scholarship
    My life circumstances have forced me to address my mental health at an early age. When I was only five years old, my father left me all by myself in the middle of the night and I found myself wandering the streets looking for him in a high neighborhood. I was fortunate enough that a neighbor found me at 4:00 a.m. and called the police. I was physically unharmed, however, mentally in many pieces. From the age of 5 until the age of 14 years old, I was seeing a therapist weekly. At the age of 7, I had suicidal ideation and around the age of 12, I started to self-harm to calm the pain inside and I had to deal with anorexia. I was later diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I attended individual and group therapy. I participated in DBT therapy and learned new skills to deal with my feelings and emotions in a healthy way. I was also seeing a psychiatrist in conjunction with my therapy treatment. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression as well as mild autism. At the time, I did not understand the labels that I was given, and sometimes it was too overwhelming. by the age of 12, I had seen so many therapists and doctors. After a while, I rejected all forms of therapy as I felt like I was being forced into something that I did not want. The psychiatrist gave me medication for sleep and medication for anxiety. The medication made me feel weird and I felt like a zombie half the time. I did not want to take the medication anymore. I decided to start journaling and self-care instead of taking pills. Also, the temptation of just taking all those pills at once was far too great. the "what if" I swallowed all those pills, then I would need to deal with all of this. I am glad I did not succumb to the temptation like many other kids like me who think that the perspective of another day is too much to bear. In school, I often find myself isolated and I try to find new ways to make friends. I always gravitate toward the students who are broken inside like me. I wanted to help them understand that they are not alone. We have a club at my school called "the Dead Poets Society". I love poetry and for me it is a form of expression that helps me channel my darkest emotions. I am always labeled as being too sensitive and emotional by most. In this club, I don't feel judge. I feel like my sensitivity and emotions are valued and cherished. Animals have also been a big part of my life and have helped me with my mental health in ways that no humans could. That is why I have decided to study animal biology and help in the conservation of endangered species. The connection I have with animals and nature has become my passion and I want to be able to help animals get a voice. I decided to go to Northern Arizona University (NAU) where mental health is valued and integrated as part of the student life. I will continue to advocate for students with mental issues. The most important however for me is to continue my journey by recognizing that my mental health takes priority and that it is ok to fail. I keep learning and I keep finding new ways to have a balanced and healthy lifestyle and just be kind to myself and others.
    Mental Health Importance Scholarship
    My life circumstances have forced me to address my mental health at an early age. When I was only five years old, my father left me all by myself in the middle of the night and I found myself wandering the streets. I was fortunate enough that a neighbor called the police. I was physically unharmed, however, I developed obsessive-compulsive disorder. I will later understand through therapy that it was a way for me to control my environment as a child. From the age of 5 until the age of 14 years old, I was seeing a therapist weekly. At the age of 7, I had suicidal ideation and around the age of 12, I started to self-harm to calm the pain inside and I had to deal with anorexia. I was later diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I attended individual and group therapy. I participated in DBT therapy and learned new skills to deal with my feelings and emotions in a healthy way. I was also seeing a psychiatrist in conjunction with my therapy treatment. I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression as well as mild autism. At the time I did not really understand the labels that I was given and sometimes it was too overwhelming. While I was repairing myself, I also had to repair my relationship with my father. I started to look for other outlets to make me feel good. I found that sports were a great way to release my anxiety. I joined track and field last semester. This semester, I am on the swim team and I am also taking a weightlifting class. I also found that others could be a source of healing. That is why I decided to join several clubs. This year I am the President of the Model UN club and it has given me confidence. Keeping my mind and body occupied certainly has helped me cope with my past trauma. I also enjoy being in nature a lot and going for hikes brings me peace and serenity while exerting my body. When I was looking at various colleges, I kept in my mind my mental health. I wanted to make sure that I would go to a college where mental health was an important aspect of the campus philosophy. The curriculum offered is an important factor but ultimately I am looking for a place where I can be myself. I recently visited the Northern University of Arizona (NAU). The campus itself sits at the foot of San Franciso Peak which is the highest peak in Arizona. The scenery offers this quiet and calming atmosphere. I also noticed several pamphlets about mental health in the student services office while we were waiting for the tour to start. The university offers many options for students to have a balanced life on campus. They have many clubs and sports activities that are being offered. As I was walking around I got this feeling of belonging and I knew that it was where I wanted to go. I have learned since I was little how important mental is and I was given the tools to cope with my own mental health in therapy. The most important however for me is to continue my journey by recognizing that my mental health takes priority and that it is ok to go to fail. I keep learning and I keep finding new ways to have a balanced and healthy lifestyle and just be kind to myself and others.
    Jeanie A. Memorial Scholarship
    “Are you ready to say goodbye?” I could not talk. The smell of the chemicals made me dizzy. My eyes filled up with tears as I looked at my mother. I was not ready. In my head, I was pleading for this moment to be suspended in time. God has to grant 9-year-old children’s wishes. He has to. Then I heard my mom whisper: “Go ahead!" I wanted to scream: “Wait!” Instead, tears started falling along my cheeks. Nothing had prepared me for this moment. I was lying on the floor at the veterinarian’s office holding my best friend’s paw in my hands. I slowly moved my head against his and whispered in his ear “it is going to be ok. I will always love you.” I had whispered those words in his ear so many times before. The first time I whispered those words to Duffy was at the Saint Bernard Rescue in North Phoenix. He was lying on a concrete slab in a backyard with overgrown grass. Duffy looked as if he had given up on life. Duffy had been abandoned by his owner, to whom he had been loyal for 7 years. Even at the age of 6, I knew the feeling of abandonment. That unbearable pain in your chest that makes you unable to breathe. When I was 5 years old, my dad left me all by myself in the middle of the night in his apartment. When I woke up in the early morning hours, realizing that he was gone, I felt numbness taking over my body. At first, I thought it was perhaps a game of hide and seek. I was whispering “Daddy?”. After a few minutes, I wandered outside with no shoes on and an oversized shirt that he had given me for a nightgown. I was screaming: “DADDY!” But he never came. It was still dark out, and I could feel the cold pavement on my feet. I was terrified. How could he abandon me? Doesn’t he love me? What did I do wrong? Duffy probably felt the same pain in his heart. I wanted to comfort him and let him know that it was going to be okay. I sat down by his side, and he did not move. I grabbed his paw. He lifted his head to look at me. He sighed in relief. We both knew we were going to be friends forever. What would happen now that my best friend was leaving me? His breathing became shallower, and his heart stopped. I held my breath for a moment. Just like that, my world was changed. Duffy was gone. He had been brave and resilient throughout his short existence. He had taught me so much in such a short period. I always felt a connection with animals early on in my life. My mother was always rescuing various animals. Our house has always been a sanctuary for a variety of pets: frogs, fish, snakes, guinea pigs, dogs, and cats. The connection that I felt with animals was comforting to me and helped me heal. I soon developed a desire to better understand animal behaviors to help and protect them in their natural environment. Choosing a major related to the study of animals was a natural choice for me. I want to do research and study animal behaviors as well as preserve their habitat. It has become my mission to make sure that animals and humans cohabit in harmony. Duffy taught me resilience, forgiveness, and compassion.
    Curtis Holloway Memorial Scholarship
    When I was little it was difficult for me to appreciate everything that my mother was doing for me and my sister. Now that I am older I have a greater appreciation for her sacrifices. I am proud to be her daughter and I am grateful for her pushing me to achieve my best in school. My mother always made school a priority and she has always been supportive. She would take the time to help me if I had homework questions. She would take the time during the weekend to take my sister and me to local museums or shows. She wanted us to be exposed to different experiences to expand our knowledge. My mother taught me to be proud of being a female and not let anyone tell me otherwise. My mother chose to work for the government to give back to the community. Growing up with a single mother certainly was not easy every day, especially when my mother had to work long hours. She taught me perseverance. Things did not come easy to her but she never gave up no matter what obstacle came her way. She did not have any support so, we became each other support. My mother taught me tolerance and acceptance. My mom always treats people the same way no matter where they come from or how much money they make. She taught me to respect people of all ethnicities and religions and embrace their differences. I love to learn about other cultures and traditions. My mother also taught me to give and help others. We volunteered at many food banks together and this summer I started to go by myself, while she was at work. It makes me feel good to help others. Knowing that I was able to do my part and someone in need makes me feel like I have a purpose. My mother taught me to appreciate what we have and be grateful. She also transferred her passion for animals and nature to me. During our hikes, she would take the time to teach me the names of different plants and why it was important to respect nature. We rescued several dogs, cats and even horses throughout the years. I learned how to care for the animals. That is how I started to develop a passion for animals. I developed an interest in the conservation and preservation of wild animals and their habitat. My mother made me confident in who I have become and the choices I have made for college. I know she will support me in my goals.
    Windward Spirit Scholarship
    Some say that history repeats itself. Much like the great depression in the 30s, our generation is facing "a great depression". However, the consequences this time around are more devastating. For example, the complete disregard for our environment, that some of the previous administrations have demonstrated, has been exponentially detrimental to our planet. It is now our the millennials-Gen Z's duty to rectify and reverse the effects of the past generations' mistakes. Studies have shown that the damages can be reversed with time. during the pandemic when the world was forced to shut down, scientists observed the benefit of a world that put on pause on the environment. The millennials and Gen Z were handed a polluted world nearing its end. If our generation wants to pass on a viable environment and a healthy planet, we have to rethink the way that we do things. We are to rethink to way we are living our lives and take steps to conserve our environment. My parents' generations trashed the planet and now we have to clean the mess. That journey starts with education, Education not only of the new generations but also education of the old generations such as our parents and grandparents. Our generations have a completely different view of how our lives should be lived. We do not want to have to be the slaves of capitalism and keep feeding the beast. The system needs to be reformed to offer everyone the ability to have access to education and health care. The new president has already started this trend by doing loan forgiveness for some. Education should not put young adults into debt. Education should be affordable and available to all regardless of their social class, regardless of their race, their religion or their gender. Capitalism is not sustainable in the long run. It creates inequality, injustice, and distance between people. The Millennials and Gen Z understand that what our parents thought was the "American Dream" is an actual nightmare. our generation will not repeat the mistakes of former generations if we want to leave a better legacy for future generations. I personally have chosen to study animal science and be part of the change. I want to do research and help with the conservation and preservation of animal species. The way that our planet is currently there are so many animal species that are becoming instinct. The disappearance of those animals affects the entire ecosystem. This affects us humans directly as well. We can no longer ignore what is happening and the fragility of our planet. My goal is to educate people to better understand how they can do their part and that in turn will affect our entire planet. I realize that my future role as a scientist will only be one small piece of the puzzle. All the pieces though are interconnected. Capitalism and Greed are negatively impacting our environment and killing our animals. That is why I also want to become involved at the government level to pass reforms and change the laws to protect the environment and stop the cycle. I am hopeful that my generation has understood the assignment and will be able to make long-lasting positive changes for generations to come.
    Doña Lupita Immigrant Scholarship
    When I was little it was difficult for me to appreciate everything that my mother was doing for me and my sister. Now that I am older I have a greater appreciation for her sacrifices. I am proud to be her daughter and I want to be mentally strong like she is. My mother is an immigrant from France. She moved the United States when she was twenty five years old. She just had a high school degree and did not master the English language yet. She moved to Phoenix by herself. She knew no one. She came on a student visa hoping to better her life for herself through higher education. The French education system did not allow for her to go back to school and pursue her dreams. So she decided to move the United States thinking that every here was possible. Ultimately she was able to graduate from law school and she became a lawyer. My mother has taught that education is essential. I have always tried my hardest in school. Education brings knowledge and knowledge opens so many doors. She was the only woman in her family who had a graduate degree and was working. My mother taught me to be proud of being a female and to not let anyone tell me otherwise. My mother chose to work for the government to give back to the community. Growing with a single mother certainly was not easy every day, especially when my mother had to work long hours. She taught me perseverance. Things did not come easy to her but she never gave up no matter what obstacle came her way. She did not have any support so, we became each other support. She taught me how important it is to build yourself a support group to be able to deal with difficult times. My mother taught me tolerance and acceptance. My mom always treats people the same way no matter where they come from or how much money they make. She taught me to respect people of all ethnicities and religions and embrace their differences. I love to learn about other cultures and traditions. My mother also taught me to give and help others. We volunteered to many food banks together and this summer I started to go by myself, while she was at work. It makes me feel good to help others. Knowing that I was able to do my part and someone in need makes me feel like I have a purpose. My mother taught me to appreciate what we have and be grateful. She represents people who do not have money to afford a lawyer and who have been separated from their children. She taught me to cherish us as a family even though some people refer to our family as broken. We are not broken. We are whole and that is thanks to my wonderful mother.
    Marian Haley Memorial Scholarship
    As a woman, education means independence. I was raised in a single-parent household. My mother came from France, where patriarchy is still very much dominant. Her mother and grandmother were forced to quit their education when they got married. They lived a life of frustration because they were never allowed to explore their passions. They were dependent on their husbands' income, which also meant they were at their mercy financially and emotionally. My maternal grandmother had to endure domestic violence and was never able to free herself from my grandfather's tyranny and control. My mother always described her mom as being a bright woman who had immense potential. She however gave up her education to live in the shadow of her husband. My grandfather was a physician and a brilliant man. He would have never considered giving up his education for the sake of marriage but did not have any issues with demanding that from my grandmother. My mother also found herself in an abusive relationship in her first marriage. She had just moved to the United States at the age of 25. Her limited understanding of the language and her status of an immigrant to the country made it more difficult for her to leave her abuser. She never gave up and immersed herself in her education. Ultimately, my mother obtained a juris doctorate and became a prosecutor. She was able to move forward thanks to her education. My mother always taught me and my sister how important education was especially for women to be able to achieve independence. She has inculcated in me the desire to excel academically, to overachieve and to exceed even my expectations. She is my role model and my desire to achieve higher education is also to honor the women in my family who could not do so. Education is a privilege that I want to take full advantage of. My life goals are to be able to pursue my passions and have the freedom to make choices for myself. I am passionate about herpetology. As an undergraduate student, I want to major in biology or animal science. My goal is to get a PhD in wildlife biology. I would love to study and do research on reptiles and amphibians. I want to study animals in their natural habitat to understand their behaviors, their habits, and their reproduction cycles and ultimately educate future generations. My main interest is to help in the conservation and preservation of animals through education. When people understand why animals are an important part of the ecosystem then they are more willing to respect the environment and be part of the effort to preserve our planet. Being able to get an education will allow me to achieve those goals. Education will allow me to mentor others and give back to my community.