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Rachel Hathcock

2415

Bold Points

1x

Finalist

Bio

I am a student journalist who has a passion in writing for communities and the little things in life that doesn't get covered often. Although, I also enjoy website multimedia content, as I currently oversee it in my student publications at FHNtoday.com. I am a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, and I plan to be the representation that I needed when I was younger.

Education

Francis Howell North High

High School
2020 - 2024
  • GPA:
    3.8

Miscellaneous

  • Desired degree level:

    Bachelor's degree program

  • Majors of interest:

    • Journalism
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Newspapers

    • Dream career goals:

    • Sub Custodian

      Francis Howell School District
      2022 – Present2 years

    Sports

    Cross-Country Running

    Junior Varsity
    2010 – 202212 years

    Research

    • Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Other

      FHNtoday — Editor
      2022 – 2024

    Arts

    • Francis Howell North

      Theatre
      2022 – 2024

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Francis Howell School District — General
      2021 – 2024
    John Young 'Pursue Your Passion' Scholarship
    My legal name is Rachel, but I am known in my community as River. I am a "go with the flow" type of spirit who has a dream of being a local feature writer. I love people, and every person has a story. Every place, everything. I have had official experience in community service with helping box food for people who receive them through food stamps, but I will always attempt to make an effort into helping people any chance I get. Whether it be the everyday politeness or cleanup projects I happen to come across. These things are stories in my mind. The simple stories, sometimes that's more interesting to people than the traditional news. Most people think of journalism as news or the weekly gossip of celebrities, I want to change that. I would like to show people that there is so much going on in the community. My biggest hope is that through strictly writing for a local small town that I would not only be trusted by the locals to help get more powerful stories, but to have others become impacted by them. For example, if there was a person close to you that has started a small business for life changing prosthetics for your rare disability, it could assist you in your day to day life. And it would be a win-win, the business receives more traction, and the person receives medical aid. Of course, this is a large example, but it has potential. This is the type of positive impact I believe works the best. I genuinely love people, and they could feel that. These stories I have such an interest in, because of everyone's unique experience. No two people have undergone the exact same experience, they always have different thoughts going on. Different feelings. The feelings are the things that have made my stories and journalistic multimedia projects award winning. Emotions are human, emotions are much of life. A story that I am most proud of was posted on my old high school publication known as FHNtoday. I wrote a feature story about an organization called TransParent, who helps provide support to parents of transgender people while their child undergoes whatever journey they go through. Kim Hutton, the Founder, happened to be my old friend's mother. In https://fhntoday.com/2021/12/17/transparent-organization-supports-families-of-transgender-children/ this story, there were different types of people in the community that have been impacted by this organization in different ways. Journalism is my act of love to the world. I am an honest and kind person, and I hope that those aspects spread through my stories onto all who read my features.
    Schmid Memorial Scholarship
    My legal name is Rachel, but I am known in my community as River. I am a "go with the flow" type of spirit who has a dream of being a local feature writer. I love people, and every person has a story. Every place, everything. I have had official experience in community service with helping box food for people who receive them through food stamps, but I will always attempt to make an effort into helping people any chance I get. Whether it be the everyday politeness or cleanup projects I happen to come across. These things are stories in my mind. The simple stories, sometimes that's more interesting to people than the traditional news. Most people think of journalism as news or the weekly gossip of celebrities, I want to change that. I would like to show people that there is so much going on in the community. My biggest hope is that through strictly writing for a local small town that I would not only be trusted by the locals to help get more powerful stories, but to have others become impacted by them. For example, if there was a person close to you that has started a small business for life changing prosthetics for your rare disability, it could assist you in your day to day life. And it would be a win-win, the business receives more traction, and the person receives medical aid. Of course, this is a large example, but it has potential. This is the type of positive impact I believe works the best. I genuinely love people, and they could feel that. These stories I have such an interest in, because of everyone's unique experience. No two people have undergone the exact same experience, they always have different thoughts going on. Different feelings. The feelings are the things that have made my stories and journalistic multimedia projects award winning. Emotions are human, emotions are much of life. A story that I am most proud of was posted on my old high school publication known as FHNtoday. I wrote a feature story about an organization called TransParent, who helps provide support to parents of transgender people while their child undergoes whatever journey they go through. Kim Hutton, the Founder, happened to be my old friend's mother. In https://fhntoday.com/2021/12/17/transparent-organization-supports-families-of-transgender-children/ this story, there were different types of people in the community that have been impacted by this organization in different ways. Journalism is my act of love to the world. I am an honest and kind person, and I hope that those aspects spread through my stories onto all who read my features.
    Robert F. Lawson Fund for Careers that Care
    My legal name is Rachel, but I am known in my community as River. I am a "go with the flow" type of spirit who has a dream of being a local feature writer. I love people, and every person has a story. Every place, everything. I have had official experience in community service with helping box food for people who receive them through food stamps, but I will always attempt to make an effort into helping people any chance I get. Whether it be the everyday politeness or cleanup projects I happen to come across. These things are stories in my mind. The simple stories, sometimes that's more interesting to people than the traditional news. Most people think of journalism as news or the weekly gossip of celebrities, I want to change that. I would like to show people that there is so much going on in the community. My biggest hope is that through strictly writing for a local small town that I would not only be trusted by the locals to help get more powerful stories, but to have others become impacted by them. For example, if there was a person close to you that has started a small business for life changing prosthetics for your rare disability, it could assist you in your day to day life. And it would be a win-win, the business receives more traction, and the person receives medical aid. Of course, this is a large example, but it has potential. This is the type of positive impact I believe works the best. I genuinely love people, and they could feel that. These stories I have such an interest in, because of everyone's unique experience. No two people have undergone the exact same experience, they always have different thoughts going on. Different feelings. The feelings are the things that have made my stories and journalistic multimedia projects award winning. Emotions are human, emotions are much of life. A story that I am most proud of was posted on my old high school publication known as FHNtoday. I wrote a feature story about an organization called TransParent, who helps provide support to parents of transgender people while their child undergoes whatever journey they go through. Kim Hutton, the Founder, happened to be my old friend's mother. In https://fhntoday.com/2021/12/17/transparent-organization-supports-families-of-transgender-children/ this story, there were different types of people in the community that have been impacted by this organization in different ways. Journalism is my act of love to the world. I am an honest and kind person, and I hope that those aspects spread through my stories onto all who read my features.
    Janie Mae "Loving You to Wholeness" Scholarship
    My legal name is Rachel, but I am known in my community as River. I am a "go with the flow" type of spirit who has a dream of being a local feature writer. I love people, and every person has a story. Every place, everything. I have had official experience in community service with helping box food for people who receive them through food stamps, but I will always attempt to make an effort into helping people any chance I get. Whether it be the everyday politeness or cleanup projects I happen to come across. These things are stories in my mind. The simple stories, sometimes that's more interesting to people than the traditional news. Most people think of journalism as news or the weekly gossip of celebrities, I want to change that. I would like to show people that there is so much going on in the community. My biggest hope is that through strictly writing for a local small town that I would not only be trusted by the locals to help get more powerful stories, but to have others become impacted by them. For example, if there was a person close to you that has started a small business for life changing prosthetics for your rare disability, it could assist you in your day to day life. And it would be a win-win, the business receives more traction, and the person receives medical aid. Of course, this is a large example, but it has potential. This is the type of positive impact I believe works the best. I genuinely love people, and they could feel that. These stories I have such an interest in, because of everyone's unique experience. No two people have undergone the exact same experience, they always have different thoughts going on. Different feelings. The feelings are the things that have made my stories and journalistic multimedia projects award winning. Emotions are human, emotions are much of life. A story that I am most proud of was posted on my old high school publication known as FHNtoday. I wrote a feature story about an organization called TransParent, who helps provide support to parents of transgender people while their child undergoes whatever journey they go through. Kim Hutton, the Founder, happened to be my old friend's mother. In https://fhntoday.com/2021/12/17/transparent-organization-supports-families-of-transgender-children/ this story, there were different types of people in the community that have been impacted by this organization in different ways. Journalism is my act of love to the world. I am an honest and kind person, and I hope that those aspects spread through my stories onto all who read my features.
    Brian J Boley Memorial Scholarship
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat some of the boys in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time that I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that prior to my research on transgender. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. It hurt. So bad. All I wanted was to be a boy. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had very much needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love themselves and be loved.
    Mental Health Empowerment Scholarship
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat some of the boys in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time that I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that prior to my research on transgender. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. It hurt. So bad. All I wanted was to be a boy. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had very much needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love themselves and be loved.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat some of the boys in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time that I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that prior to my research on transgender. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. It hurt. So bad. All I wanted was to be a boy. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had very much needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love themselves and be loved.
    Robert F. Lawson Fund for Careers that Care
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat some of the boys in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time that I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that prior to my research on transgender. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. It hurt. So bad. All I wanted was to be a boy. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had very much needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love themselves and be loved.
    Elizabeth Schalk Memorial Scholarship
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat them in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that prior to my research on transgender. It was just a 'nickname' to them. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. All I wanted was to be a boy. It hurt, so bad. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love and be loved.
    Novitas Diverse Voices Scholarship
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat them in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that prior to my research on transgender. It was just a 'nickname' to them. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. All I wanted was to be a boy. It hurt, so bad. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love and be loved.
    Elijah's Helping Hand Scholarship Award
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat them in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that prior to my research on transgender. It was just a 'nickname' to them. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. All I wanted was to be a boy. It hurt, so bad. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love and be loved.
    PRIDE in Education Award
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat them in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that prior to my research on transgender. It was just a 'nickname' to them. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. All I wanted was to be a boy. It hurt, so bad. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love and be loved.
    VNutrition & Wellness’ Annual LGBTQ+ Vitality Scholarship
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat them in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that many years prior to my research on transgender. It was just a 'nickname' to them. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. All I wanted was to be a boy. It hurt. so bad. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love and be loved.
    LGBTQ+ Wellness in Action Scholarship
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat them in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that many years prior to my research on transgender. It's just a 'nickname' for everyone else. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. All I wanted was to be a boy. It hurt. So bad. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love and be loved.
    Janean D. Watkins Overcoming Adversity Scholarship
    All my life, I had felt as though something was wrong. I thought that it was something that I did, but I would increasingly get more uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but wonder why. Until it clicked. I used to fantasize about how the male version of myself would be, how I would be more able to beat them in arm wrestling contests or a race around the track. I thought I had crushes on them. It turns out, I just wanted to be them. Though I didn’t understand that until I was around 12 years old. Ever since hitting puberty, the sense of feeling ‘wrong’ had really started to take a toll on my mental health. Though in middle school, I saw my first explanation of the word ‘Transgender’ on Instagram, explained by a Transgender person. I felt warm chills along my body. This was the first time I had actually felt that sense of ‘wrong’ into ‘right’. I didn’t know that it was even a possibility, let alone welcomed by many around the world. The next day at my seventh grade lunch table, I talked to my group of friends about shortening my name from Rachel to Ray. It’s just a few letters difference, and my family had called me that prior to my research on transgender. My friends have been there every step of the way with this experience, and for that I am still grateful for. I had also learned that it felt worse when they know my reasoning and precedes to call me that name. I physically ached at this point, though. All I wanted was to be a boy. During high school, I had become publicly ‘out’ as transgender, and became decreasingly interested in how people viewed me. I started dressing as androgynous as I can, because that’s what best physically fit me. It was a very gender euphoric feeling whenever I have found comfort in the simplest things, like my sense of style. I have been called slurs and screamed at for what I am, who I am. Even through all of this, I have received compliments and encouragement. I have realized that I am the representation that I had needed when I was younger. I had always known who I am, but without the words to describe it. I wish to help the world little by little, and loving myself for who I am shows others that they can love and be loved.
    Pleasant Hill Outlook Scholarship
    Success, for my life, is not about the money. Nor about any of the material items that could be attained. To me, it's about the feeling of achievement of something that that I have felt passionate about. It's being able to be satisfied with the knowledge that I am being true to myself. Success may come in little bits in pieces, and that's what keeps me going. Knowing that I am doing something beneficial to at least someone out there, is something that I strive for. I often think about the phrase 'You can change the world by one step at a time'. Which this phrase is how I better myself in situations that I could be successful in.