Alexis Starks is a rising senior at Normal Community High School in Normal, Illinois. She originally learned about ACT-SO from friends who had previously participated in the program and had a great experience with it. She was also attracted to the fact that this is an opportunity to for her to compete against other talented students and showcase her work. Alexis competed in two categories of the 2017 local Bloomington-Normal ACT-SO branch competition: Photography and Medicine & Health. She received a gold medal for her photograph titled, Friendship is Two, and another gold medal for her Medicine & Health project titled, Mental Disorders and Therapy.
Due to her accomplishments at the local competition, Alexis has advanced to compete at the national competition in Baltimore, Maryland this upcoming July!
Alexis is a seasoned national competitor as she has competed in the 2015 and 2016 national ACT-SO competitions in Philadelphia and Cincinnati. At the 2015 national competition, she competed in the Photography category with her piece titled, Shapes and Shades. Although she did not receive a medal that year, at the 2016 national competition, Alexis placed as a silver medalist in the Photography category for her piece, My Generation: The Future Reflected in the Past.
Three Words to Describe Feelings About National Competition
Nervous, excited and accomplished. This year, Alexis feels nervous because she is going to be competing in a new category, Medicine & Health. In previous years, she only competed in the Photography category, so competing in the Medicine & Health category will be a new experience for her. She is excited because she is ready to showcase her work and socialize with the other participants. Lastly, she feels accomplished because she has worked extremely hard to perfect her craft and is proud to have been chosen to advance to nationals for the third year in a row.
Nerves & Excitement
Going into the national competition this year, Alexis feels much more prepared than she did her first time competing, since she did not know what to expect. Although she has been here before, she is still nervous about presenting her Medicine & Health project, because this is the first time that she has ever competed in two categories. She is presenting a brand new photography project this year that she is anxious about as well. Anticipation will be high now that she is involved in not one, but two different competition categories. Alexis is looking forward to the award ceremony and meeting new ACT-SO participants. She cherishes her friendships made through ACT-SO. She even maintains contact with a friend who lives in another city that she met during her first national ACT-SO competition: “She and I are always anxiously awaiting results and support one another each year. Fortunately, we have both made it to nationals year after year.” Alexis also hopes to gain confidence and networking skills from competing in the national competition.
Thank You ACT-SO
Alexis is very grateful to have ACT-SO in her community. She believes that it gives students the opportunity to compete and showcase their talents in multiple categories outside of sports. She has grown culturally as a young woman and has been enriched by her ACT-SO experience. Alexis also finds the mentors and adults who work in the program to be very supportive, and she is happy to learn from so many people.
“Work hard, have fun and also compete in a category that you enjoy.” – Alexis Starks
We wish you the best of luck, Alexis, in the 2017 national competition!