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Indian Hills students share Pursuit of Dreams essays

Posted April 11, 2018 in Uncategorized

Classes work with Iowa Living magazines to get published

By Tammy Pearson

Katie Stahl, Elayna Klinkefus and Jessica Thomas wrote the essay project “She Believed She Could So She Did.” The three are students at Indian Hills Junior High.

Area schools are increasingly partnering with the private sector to anchor assignments in real-world outcomes. A recent partnership between the West Des Moines schools and Iowa Living magazines resulted in students writing and presenting essays for possible publication. The topic was the Pursuit of Dreams.

Students in the eighth grade humanities classes of teachers Tiffany Malcom and Jas Overlin at Indian Hills Junior High worked in groups to complete a group of essays including one on a historic figure, one on a contemporary figure and one on a local person and how each worked toward their own dream. Students were challenged to find a theme that tied the group of essays together.

Iowa Living writers visited with students on three occasions during the course of the project to provide guidelines and feedback and to hear a final oral presentation about the projects.

The top essays have been posted here. The first is the “winning” project. Others are in no particular order. Projects did include photos and graphics, which are not included here.


By: Elayna Klinkefus, Katie Stahl, Jessica Thomas 

The Power of Women

The underestimation in the strength in women has been a huge, difficult subject that people overlook and neglect. But year after year it progresses, women have been coming out and standing up for their rights. Some great women that get underestimated are Sarah Royce, Ellen Degeneres, and Reshonda Young. These amazing women faced many difficulties in there life but they overcome them and they keep dreaming.

A Frontier Lady

By Elayna Klinkefus 

Sarah Royce is one of the few courageous women that was drawn to the sense of adventure and had the dream of striking gold.  According to, in 1849 Sarah and her daughter accompanied her husband on the long unforgettable journey from Iowa to Grass Valley, California.

The journey took five years and led them to many different camps with many different outcomes. Sarah left her humble farm in Iowa with  her two year old daughter, and her husband in hopes of striking it rich in California gold rush.

Little did Sarah know that she would be going from farming every day, to becoming one of the most successful gold miners in the country.

During the journey, the young family had to cross a deadly 40-mile trek with their horse, covered wagon, and did not follow the advice of a fellow traveler; who advised them to where to find water before embarking the massive journey. Therefore they had to turn back. But their aspirations didn’t get them down and they kept moving forward.

Eventually making it to Weaverville California, where they set up their first camp and began to settle.  In their final destination, they made a camp and started mining. This led them into finding the precious gold hat was there. There were all kinds of men already there, trying to mine for their dirty gold.

The young family decided that was going to be the spot that they would build a home. According to they successfully mined for gold in this area for several years and became very profitable. Today the family is passed and their home in Grass Valley California now serves as a library to the public named the Royce Branch. 

The Famous Ellen Degeneres

By: Katie Stahl

Similar to Sarah, Ellen had the largest setback you could possibly imagine. But she picked herself up and is now living the dream. On August 28, 2013, Ellen Degeneres posted on twitter saying “I have a dream that we all choose to be kind to one another”.

Ellen is an American comedian who stars in her own show known as Ellen.  Before she was famous she would perform as a comedian at clubs because she enjoyed making people laugh and smile which was her dream.

According to Ellen’s career started from going to a public speaking event with her comedian brother and was frightened by the crowd. She used funny jokes to get through the experience and found herself with offers to do stand-up comedy. She had her mother’s moral and financial support and started performing in 1981.

Her first appearance was on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. She had a good run for a few years until she was asked to be a starring guest on the Oprah Winfrey show. While she was on the show she risked her social status by coming out and telling the fans that she was a gay woman. This had a huge impact on her dream.

A lot of her fans turned on her and were saying hateful comments on social media about Ellen’s sexuality. At this point, she almost gave up and completely lost her show a year later, therefore not making any money. But Ellen stuck with her gut and kept going.

In 2003 she was finally accepted as a gay women and started a talk show. She hands out gifts to her supporters constantly and donates large amounts of money. Ellen continues to inspire many LGBT supporters and women everyday.

Her show lets women know that they can achieve their dreams no matter how big their it is. As of today Ellen has achieved many other awards and dreams like 3 Grammys and 4 people’s choice awards. She even hosted the Academy Awards, Grammy Awards, and the Primetime Awards according to

Ellen continues to be a model for other women and LGBT activist. “Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others”-Ellen Degeneres.  

The Popcorn Woman

By: Jessica Thomas

Like Ellen, Reshonda Young owner of Popcorn Heaven had many challenges and risks of her own and never fathomed opening a popcorn store. All she wanted was to pursue a business, and as of today that’s exactly what she did.

According to Reshonda, opening the store was a great challenge.

In the process of it all, she had many ideas that followed with setbacks. With local stores, Popcorn Heaven sells a variety of delicious gourmet popcorn. The store was visioned in 2013 and after 6 months officially opened in 2014.

While pursuing to open the store she had a lot of help by her mom and aunt but mostly by a lot of prayer. Even though she had a lot of help she still had some issues.

She opened later than she had anticipated because contractors weren’t able to keep on schedule and she experienced setbacks by going into mall locations. She also had a really big economic issue with opening the store. She said that even though she had half of the money to open the first store, the banks wouldn’t loan her the rest of the money because it was a new business.

Even though she had a lot of blocks in the way she still was inspired to open the store because of her mom and aunt pushing her and supporting her. She was also enticed into opening the store because it was her dream to own and run a business.

Even after accomplishing one of her dreams, still she is set on having fifty stores opened by the year of 2022, including the five stores opened now and a 6th one opening in spring.

Dreaming big is exactly what Reshonda Young did and now she is pursuing her dream, living her life, and is an example of a strong women for other people. Because “a woman is like a tea bag- you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water”- Eleanor roosevelt.


These three amazing women should inspire each and every one of us today and let us know that anything is possible. From crossing the country and striking gold, to making outstanding flavors of popcorn that no one could imagine. Dreams do come true if you work hard enough to achieve them. Ellen almost lost everything and was the biggest joke on social media, but she had an urge to make people laugh and now she’s livin’ the dream.


4 incredible stories about everyday heroes that never gave up

By Quincie Clayton, Tate Larson, Ka’Niya Rochon and Carson Wilkins

Never Give Up

What will your legacy look like? Think about the impact you will have made, the experiences have you had, how much   you have really lived. This article features four personal dreams that changed lives in many ways. This article features citizens of America old and new, from Clara Barton to Shannon Biris. “I was the first person I knew that became an administrator with only a two year degree. I didn’t meet their requirements, and I knew that going into the interview. I was tired of working in a hospital so I worked my butt off and I didn’t give up until they hired me.” says Shannon Biris. This is just one example of many persevering and truly inspiring stories featured in this article.

The Secret To Her Success

By: Carson Wilkins

            With the motivation to help clients in her mind, Shannon Biris made it so that she could help meet people where they are and keep them where they want to be. It all started on June 21, 1980 in a small town by the name of Wall Lake, Iowa that only housed about 829 residents.

There was a lot of freedom for kids there. You could walk anywhere you needed to be, the nearest major grocery store was 30 miles away, but there was a small store in town.

Ever since she was little, Shannon Biris wanted to take care of people. Her grandmother and uncle had a career in the medical field, and they would tell her stories about their experiences. That started to pull her to want to take care of people, and over time the pull strengthened.

At only 17, she gave birth to her first child. Fortunately, having kids didn’t affect her dream, it just caused her to take longer and more work to achieve them. She had several adults in her life that coached her and helped her make positive decisions.

Having adversity in her childhood home life, and having a child very young helped shaped her into the person she is today. “I work in a field where the federal government determines our re imbursement rates. That affects the ability to retain staff and give merit raises at times because of the reimbursement rates.”

Starting off in the medical field was difficult for Shannon, since she was a woman and so young. Many people doubted her, even her family at times. But that wasn’t enough to hold her back, she made the decision to have a career in the medical industry at such a young age but she made it work.

She graduated high school early and went to Iowa Central Community College and got a two year degree. “I went to Chamberlain College of Nursing in 2013, and I graduated in 2016 with a BSN. It took me 13 years to complete a 4 year degree, when I could have completed it in 4 years if it weren’t for my children.” says Shannon.

She was the first person she knew that became an administrator with only a two year degree. The requirements of that business were that any administrator needed to have a four year degree, but her interview was good enough for them to want her help running the business. “I was tired of working in a hospital so I applied for an administration job, knowing that I didn’t have a BA, but my interview was good enough they hired me.” says Shannon.

In October, 2016 Shannon started working at Kindred at Home, and her business provides care in the homes for seniors that would otherwise have no access to the care they need. Although she has completed a large portion of her goal, there’s still more.

Shannon would like to have her own consulting business that helps agencies stay in the regulations required of them and prepare them for survey. When she retires, she plans to travel around the world and spend more time with her family.

The Founder

By: Ka’Niya Rochon

From one medical career to another, Clara Barton lived during the time period where women were encouraged to be homemakers and stay inside the walls of their homes instead of working Clara Barton took many roles that were focused on helping others.

Clara Barton was a nurse for a portion of her life, a teacher of the illiterate, and she even founded the American location for the Red Cross. She was a huge influencing factor during the years of her life from 1821 to 1912 and her work is still relevant today. Her dream was to make a difference in the world and do her best to help the people who need it.

Even though she was shy, helping her brother after he fell off the roof of a barn and and when he became really ill, the doctors didn’t really have much hope for him, but Clara spent the next two years taking care of him. He eventually got better. It was during this time she discovered she enjoyed taking care of others.

According to an article called it states that at the age of seventeen, Clara began teaching school when most teachers were men. Barton risked her life to bring supplies and support to the soldiers the in field during the Civil War at the age of 60.

She seemed to be a risk taker, and this led Clara wanting to help others even more. During the Civil War she maintained a home in Washington D.C. in 1885. There she worked as a clerk in the U.S. patent office from 1854 to 1857. Her $1,400 annual salary was the same as that as the male clerks. Clara Barton was working as a recording clerk in the U.S patent office in Washington D.C.

When the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, the injured were taken to the new U.S capitol building in nearby Washington D.C. Barton rushed from the patent office of the makeshift hospital to tend the wounded. In the midst of all this chaos, Barton saw the need to personal assistance to the men in uniform. Some of the whom were wounded or hungry, others without bedding or any clothing expect what was on their backs. She gathered food, medicine, and other supplies from her own household to distribute to the soldiers, then solicited from Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey to send needed items.

From one famous icon to another, you will next learn about someone who “started from the bottom” and is now and international superstar.

Started From The Bottom

By: Tate Larson

            From a poor Jewish Canadian kid from Toronto, to being a international millionaire rapper with 51 major music awards. “Drake” born Aubrey Drake Graham, was born on October 24th 1986 in Toronto, Canada to his parents Dennis and Sandi Graham.

When Drake was only five his parents got a divorce. His dad moved back to Memphis, Tennessee where he was born while Drake and his mom stayed in Canada. With his mom being Jewish and his dad not around, Drake’s mom put him into a Jewish school. His mom was white and his dad African American, it made it difficult for him to fit in at his mostly white school. With only his mom’s income and all the bullying at school, Drake dropped out of high school to pursue his dream of being an entertainer.

With it being only him and his mom at home and coming from a poor family, it pushed Drake to work even harder to follow his dream of entertaining. After finding an agent, Drake found his opportunity on a Canadian TV show called “Degrassi: The Next Generation.” Drake said “My mother was very sick. We were very poor, like broke. The only money I had coming in was off of Canadian TV.” he said when asked about acting career.

According to Drake Biography, his acting career ended in 2009 when the producer found out Drake was doing music without their permission, they made him choose between the show and music.

Drake was so pulled by other recording artist such as Jay Z, that he quit and changed his focus to his music. In 2006, Drake’s first mixtape was released featuring Trey Songz and Lupe Fiasco called Room For Improvement. It sold only 6,000 copies overall which wasn’t enough. Next in 2007 Drake released his 2nd mixtape called Comeback Season after the starting of his own record label called October’s Very Own later renamed OVO. After that he released his next mixtape called Replacement Girl featuring Trey Songz the song went viral and put Drake on the map. In 2009 Drake signed with record label Young Money Entertainment and Drake’s career took off. Since 2009 Drake has released 10 albums with songs like Started From the Bottom, The Motto, Hotline Bling, 0 to 100 plus many more solo hits.

Since 2010 Drake has had 51 major music awards and doesn’t look like he is stopping anytime soon. Drake’s latest two hits God’s Plan and Look Alive are blowing up all over the Billboard top 100 songs with his 11th album since 2009 soon to come.

In his music video for God’s Plan, Drake’s budget was 950,000 dollars. With that being said, Drake gave it all away to poor families and different people to help make their dreams come true. Drake started as a young black male trying to support him and his mom, to becoming a multimillionaire and being known all around the world. 

Reaching For The Stars

By: Quincie Clayton

“I don’t think I would have ever even thought about being a teacher if I had never had kids,” said Shelley Clayton. Central Academy is a dream job that she never thought she would ever see herself having, but now that she does she could never have been happier.

June 26th, 1976 Michelle (Shelley) Clayton was born in the town of Cudahy, Wisconsin but grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Growing up she had one older sister and her two parents. Shelley Clayton always knew she was going to go to college because her parents didn’t and they wanted a better life for her. Throughout her life she was a swimmer, and one of the people who always inspired her was Janet Evans, a long distance swimmer in the Olympics.

At the age of 14 her family had to move to Buffalo, Minnesota because her father was relocated. When they moved, her sister stayed behind to finish her senior year at their old school so she became an only child (in their household) for around a year.

After she graduated, Shelley Clayton reached her dream of going to college. She went to Lacrosse University because her sister went there and she wanted to stay close with her. She ended up not liking it and then attended St. Cloud State that was closer to her parents and graduated with a degree in biology.

After she graduated she had the dream of being a marine biologist do at the age of 23 she moved out to Hollywood, Florida with her husband and attended Nova Southeastern. While she was attending Nova Southeastern, she had her first child so she had to take a semester off. She ended up graduating with her masters in marine biology, and having a second child while living in Florida.

After having her second child Mr and Mrs Clayton decided to move back to the midwest because all of their family lived around that area. They had their third child after they moved back to Iowa and when her kids started school she realized she loved helping and decided she wanted to start teaching.

“Economically this job was not needed,” states Shelley Clayton. Her husband had a job that could support their family, but she wanted to be able to give her kids all the things their friends had so she went back to school at Upper Iowa University. She said it would be very challenging because she was taking night classes 2-3 times a week and still had to take care of her kids.

Finally after graduating Upper Iowa university she got her first job at Central Academy in downtown Des Moines as a biology teacher. Now she teaches AP biology, accelerated biology, and IB biology.

So, are you ready to finally accomplish the dreams you’ve had for so long? Whether you’re planning out your life or have no idea what you’re going to do, you just read about some people’s dreams and hardships that would hopefully help you out in life. You just learned 4 incredible real life stories about everyday heroes that never gave up. So, those are their dreams. What are yours, and what are you going to do about them?


Imagine that joyous feeling when you finally achieve your goal or overcome that obstacle standing in the way. When you want to accomplish something, there can be many obstacles blocking your way to success. Depression, anxiety, discrimination, and financial issues. Even with these roadblocks you can still reach that feeling of joy by overcoming  these obstacles, by persevering, and believing in yourself.

Min Yoongi was a poor kid from Daegu, South Korea, dealing with mental health issues, but now he is a worldwide phenomenon because he believed in himself.

Min Yoongi’s Path to Fame

Written by: Cathy Huynh

The song “The Last” tells the story of Yoongi’s obstacles. Yoongi raps, “At times I’m scared of myself too, self hated and thanks, to the depression that takes over me, Min Yoongi is dead already (I’m dead)”.

Struggling with depression, OCD, and anxiety was just one obstacle in the way of Yoongi’s dream.

Yoongi is a producer, songwriter, and rapper from South Korea. While growing up, Yoongi dreamt of becoming a Hip Hop artist so that he could be inspiring to others and become their strength.

Yoongi became interested in the Hip Hop genre when he listened to Epik High and Stony Skunk. In particular, he mentions that the song “Ragga Muffin” by Stony Skunk.

He liked how the music was different than the mainstreaming music.

At age 13, Yoongi started writing songs and learned how to use a musical instrument digital interface; at 18, he worked part-time at a studio. At this time, he knew he wanted to pursue his dream as a rapper.

To live up to his dream, Yoongi wrote music, became an underground rapper in a group called “D-Town”, and worked hard for long hours before debut, according to Suga’s Underground Producing”.

Along with mental health, Yoongi had to overcome many more obstacles. While pursuing his dream, his family and many others didn’t believe in him because they thought he would bring shame to the family. He was looked down upon, and many wanted to see him fail; this caused Yoongi to persevere and show them that he was worthy.

“ I can’t live like a dog when I’m born to be a tiger”, the element of “having to overcome his obstacles” is seen here in Yoongi’s song “Give It To Me”.

Yoongi’s brother pushed him since the beginning. Yoongi states that if it weren’t for him, he wouldn’t be able to do music like he does now, according to Yoongi’s “Skit” from his first mixtape as a solo artist, Agust D.

Yoongi debuted as a popular solo artist with the name “Agust D”, along with this, Yoongi in BTS (Boy Band in 2018), achieved goals no other Kpop group has before.

Similarly to Min Yoongi, Missy Franklin also dealt with mental health problems. Depression and anxiety were standing in the way of her dream, but she found a way to work through those obstacles.

The Start of Missy’s Comeback

Written by: Morgan Hunt

“Yesterday doesn’t matter, it’s about who can get their hand on the wall first today,” -Missy Franklin.

In her first Olympic games, Missy won 4 gold medals and 1 bronze, and was the “darling” of the 2012 London Olympics.

In the 200 and 100 meter backstroke, she individually won gold. Two of her 3 relays won gold and the other won bronze, according to the International Olympic Committee.

Many people didn’t know that she was diagnosed with depression just before the 2016 games. While she did have a great time at the London 2012 games, she had a disappointing time in Rio, failing to make the finals in her individual events. Now, Missy’s dream is to love the sport of swimming again.

Missy went through a very rough patch after the London games. She went through a surgery on both of her shoulders due to a condition called bursitis which causes inflammation. She was also diagnosed with depression, insomnia, and an eating disorder at this time; according to Beth Harris The Denver Post.

After the 2016 Rio games, Missy took time off to find a new perspective in life which is her happiness needs to come first and swimming comes second.

Missy found that she needed more of a balance in her life and she could do that by being around family and friends and one way to do that was to be physically closer to them. Living with and close to family is one of the main reasons that Missy decided to move across the country to attend school in Georgia.

Another reason is so she can get back into the sport and fulfill her dream of falling in love with it all over again. She is continuing to major in psychology and is only three semesters away from graduating.

Missy has gone through a lot in these past couple of years. But straightening it all out by just taking some time off and looking at all of her options, she overcame these challenges, but is still on her way to a comeback.

Trish Carber is local to the West Des Moines Area. Although she put her dream aside for family, in the end it all worked out perfectly.

The Busy Life of a Wife

Written by: Si Tlo

Having your dreams come true, is one of the best feelings.

Trish Carber has always wanted to be a Jehovah Witness teacher, growing up. Her dream was  to become a full-time bible teacher, and travel around the world to teach.

Her bible teacher and her mom always encouraged her to try it and it inspired her. Trish Carber’s mom inspired her by telling her to do what she truly wants and to never give up. Friends and family supported her choice fully.
Raising family took too much time, but soon, she figured out how to achieve her dream. Not only was raising a family hard, but finance also played a role in blocking a way to fulfilling her dreams.

Trish had always wanted to be a JW teacher because she enjoyed seeing other people learn new things and to see their eyes fill with excitement.

According to Trish, financial issues got in her way of traveling. Although she couldn’t travel, she became content with just teaching in local places.

Another obstacle was having a child and a family to take care of. After her only daughter, Jasmine, was born, she couldn’t work full-time anymore, as she was busy caring for her child. But Trish found another way around this obstacle. She overcame this obstacle by waiting until Jasmine grew up and graduated high school. Then she started teaching once again.

Trish has achieved her dreams after many years. She is now happily teaching others and is content with her job. She states that if she had been given the chance to start over, she would pick the same path. Trish Carber achieved her dream because teaching about the bible was what she wanted to do.

Finally, we have a person who isn’t alive anymore, but his legacy lives on in museums. He had to persevere through the natural hardships of his job, and the trouble of being the “wrong” ethnicity.

Challenges of a Cowboy

Written by: Anna Fritz

Many children dress up and pretend to be cowboys and cowgirls, but cowboys were a real thing and were tougher than we give them credit for.

It was not an easy job; there were stampedes, Native American attacks, Rustlers, wind storms, homestead attacks, starvation and so much more.

Many don’t realize that there were African American cowboys.

In fact, Bill Pickett was the first African American cowboy, he had to overcome many obstacles as he reached for his dream, such as being African American in a white man competition, according to the website Bill Pickett,,

Pickett was born on December 5, 1870 in Taylor, Texas. His parents were both former African slaves, but he had traces of Native American.

After completing the fifth grade, he got a job on a ranch as a cowboy.

He performed tricks on his horse Spradley for tips in a hat. He wanted to compete in rodeo competitions but they were all white man competitions and he was banned from them.

He had to be identified as an Native American, to be allowed to compete. After many competitions, he was found by “Buffalo Bill, and was asked to join the 101 Ranch he owned. Pickett said yes and invented and performed “Bulldogging,” where he steer wrested. He was famous after he joined the ranch,  he performed in the US, Canada, Mexico, South America, and England.

He died on April 2, 1932, due to a horse kicking him in the head. He was mentioned on a radio broadcast, he was put in The National Rodeo Hall of Fame, and the Museum of National Cowboys.

He overcame his obstacles by being happy with his wife and accepting the fact that he was black. Pickett overcame obstacles from being black, to the normal hardships of being a cowboy. Pickett paved the path for other African American cowboys to follow their dreams.

Dreams are important because you set the path you want to take by choosing a goal. Dreams are also important because they define who you are. Something that all of these people have in common, is the drive they have to succeed and overcome their obstacles.


What drives a person to ruling the world, curing disease, and creating peace? Doing what makes you happy is what these four dreamers have followed and achieved through hard work, passion, and dedication. Doing what makes you happy is an influential piece to achieving your dreams and the key to ultimate success.

A Practitioner’s Purpose

By: Whitney Nanyonjo

            Before Lucy Makokha wanted to become a nurse that helped people feel better and get better physically and emotionally she actually wanted to become an air hostess.

She was determined to become an air hostess and even did the training for it. There was just a problem or two. The first problem was that she was too short for the height they needed. Secondly, they wanted her to at least be able to swim around a kilometer.

This was all fine and dandy the only problem with all that was a fear she had at the time but now doesn’t stopped her from doing so. She had a fear of water so it stopped her from swimming for the airline she applied for. Just like that her dream of becoming an air hostess ended. Instead, she thought of a new and different dream and that was becoming a nurse.

Lucy Makokha was born and raised in Nairobi which was the capital of Kenya, a country in East Africa. She grew up with her mom, dad, and her eight siblings. A handful of people who lived there weren’t financially stable so they couldn’t take their family to nursing homes when they were sick. Because of this, kids at young ages as young as five were taught how to take care of their brothers and sisters if they ever got sick. Just like other kids, Lucy learned too.

Since a young age, Lucy was used to taking care of people most of the time it was only her family other times it included elders who also got sick. She did this because it gave her the satisfaction of helping people get better. She had an aunt who was a nurse and she would learn from her what she did at work. Over time she just gradually developed these useful skills.

Lucy Makokha later became a nurse working at Childserve. “My mom really loved it because she knew she would have someone taking care of her when she gets older,” said Lucy in an interview. She became a loving nurse that loved what she did. She cared for the people she worked with and the people she had to care for. She received love from them in return as well.

Lucy said in her future that she doesn’t want to change careers and hopes to still be

working a job that involves helping people. She says in the future that she might not be a nurse anymore but only because she wants to gain more experience than she already has and climb the ranks and get jobs in higher positions and help more people along the way.

Starting From Scratch

By: Quinci Chapman

Similar to Lucy Makokha, the founder of Scratch Cupcakery (Natalie Brown) has a passion for making people happy and feel great. Natalie Brown has opened 5 locations around the state of Iowa.

Natalie worked in design and marketing for 15 years, but she had a dream to have her own bakery. As a child Natalie has always loved baking and wanted to continue her passion. She went to the Cedar Falls city board to see if a cupcake bakery would be the type of business that they would want in their town.

A few weeks later, they let her know that they were ready for her to open her cupcake bakery. Within a week, Natalie was able to quit her day job and begin the process of opening up her first bakery. She found a store front, and immediately started doing renovations.

In June of 2010, Natalie was able to open the first Scratch Cupcakery. Before opening, they discussed the theory that just a cupcake shop might not do well enough on its own, so they also started serving breakfast and lunch.

Natalie was hopeful to get 20 customers per day who would only buy one thing. But she would be surprised by what happened next. (according to iptv and pbs and scratch cupcakery). On her opening day Natalie had a line outside her door that went all the way around the block. As they started to help customers, they soon realized that there was absolutely no way they would have enough cupcakes to serve everyone who wanted one.

On the opening day she realized that they would need a much larger space for her bakery and was forced to sell the current space and immediately begin looking for a new, larger storefront.  On her opening day. She had knew that the dream that would make her happy has finally come true.

Needless to say, her business was and continues to be a success. The big push for her opening a bigger store was 1) that their was not an adequate amount of space to work, and 2) that she couldn’t help the number of people that had been showing up at her store. Around a year later she was able to open a much bigger store in downtown Cedar Rapids.

She decided to stop serving breakfast and lunch at the new location, because she knew that cupcakes would be all that she had to sell to be successful. Now Natalie is still trying new cupcake flavor and combinations of flavors and she is doing what she has and always loves.

Natalie Brown has loved baking since she was a child and had a calling to bake cupcakes after working in marketing and design for 15 years, and she took the leap and followed her calling. She opened her first business, and today she owns 5 locations and they are doing very well. Natalie Brown in many ways embodies Malala Yousafzai by being a strong female individual that has started something from nothing.

The Struggles Of A Pakistani Schoolgirl

By: Ella Hendricks

From a young age, Malala Yousafzai has had the dream for her and other girls among herself of attending school, which seemed impossible at the time due to the Taliban pressuring girls to act the way they wanted. She has worked hard and rebelled against the act of keeping her and other girls from their education.

Malala is an inspiration to many other girls to wish to go to school like herself. She was born in Mingora, Pakistan and grew up in Swat Valley. She had attended a school that her father had founded. At this time the Taliban had tried banning girls from attending school. There were many attacks from bombing to shootings. These attacks destroyed many schools and many all-girls schools were forced to close down.

Yet, she continued to go to school. According to, in 2009 she began blogging for BBC, under a fake name. She blogged about the Taliban denying her education. Later on, her identity was revealed and she caught the attention of the Taliban.

Malala Yousafzai was riding home on a bus from school one day when a group of masked gunmen boarded the bus. “Which one is Malala?” one demanded. The gunman pointed his gun and shot her in the head. The bullet went through the left side of her head and the bullet landed in her left shoulder.

According to Malala’s autobiography I am Malala, after the Taliban found Malala and fired upon her and two other school girls. She was shipped to England for emergency medical treatment. After she had recovered, Malala and her family had permanently relocated to Birmingham, England.

Malala has been fighting for women’s rights to education by starting a global campaign for education, passed Pakistan’s First Right to Education Bill, and speaking out against education at United Nations conferences. Her efforts to provide as many people as she can with an education brings her joy to see the nation benefit from her actions and seeing that she improved many people’s quality of life.

Malala has achieved her dreams since then and is currently attending Oxford University in the United Kingdom. She is also the youngest person to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, at age 17. and has inspired many girls among her kind. Malala Yousafzai has indeed achieved her dreams and helped many other children achieve their dream to the right of education. “One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”- Malala Yousafzai

A Tyrant’s Road To Happiness

By: Maxwell Shumaker

Unlike Malala Yousafzai  Louis Napoleon III wanted to only do things that benefited him. Louis Napoleon III was a fast-thinking leader whose dreams caused thousands of the French to move to America in pursuit of wealth, safety and freedom.

Louis Napoleon grew up in exile under his uncle’s shadow. His mother wanted him to be just as powerful as his father. Napoleon lived up to his potential, because he thought it was the only thing that could make him truly happy.

Being emperor meant he could control others and an entire country. but met his downfall in the Franco-Prussian war of  1870 and 1871, according to “Louis Napoleon III”

As Louis Napoleon grew in popularity he gained more and more power and his dreams of taking over the world were closer to coming true. Napoleon was able to start wars and battles with many countries. Napoleon fought in wars to break up the European systems of government and make French the great power, stated by “Louis Napoleon III”.

Napoleon’s dreams were corrupt and dangerous to the people

of his own country and threatened many others.

The French had been migrating since the reign of Napoleon the first. But as Louis Napoleon climbed in ranks and finally became the new emperor of France, French migration had reached an all-time high the new dreams of the French immigrants were to keep themselves and their family alive.

The Franco-Prussian war really screwed the cap on tight for immigration of the French. The French were moving to America to escape poverty, war, and persecution. America provided all of these things for the French, like the wealth of gold mining and farming in the West and working factory jobs in the East These countless opportunities made French immigrants have hope and happiness for their upcoming future. The solution to the wars and persecution was also solved in America, because of the democratic government that allowed the people to run the government instead of one emperor like Louis Napoleon.

After Napoleon’s downfall in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War was when things began to return to normal and migration rates lowered. Through all of the misfortune the French population faced, America was what really pulled them to prospering and being able to achieve their dreams.

Why These Dreamers Listened To Their Hearts

Following happiness is what these four dreamers have followed and achieved through hard work, passion, and dedication. Happiness is an influential piece to achieving your dreams and the key to ultimate success.  Following your dreams opens up a new path for you, one that includes riches, fame, and unbelievable amounts of gratitude. Doing what you feel in your heart that will bring you the most joy is what sets you free and on your own path.


Four stories about inspiring women who overcame obstacles to achieve their dreams

By Payten Neswold, Molly Suetsugu, Megan Wainwright and Julia Young

Have you ever considered taking that leap of faith? Jumping over that hurdle that’s standing in your way? Throughout history, many people have shown us that it doesn’t matter what challenges get in your way, you can always achieve your dreams. Anybody has the ability to accomplish their goals if they work hard, stay positive, and remember they can overcome any obstacle if they persevere. When you know what your purpose is, you have nothing to fear. You can keep going. Here are four stories about people who took a leap of faith. People who dared to jump. People who dared to dream.

An Army of Two

By: Megan Wainwright

It may seem surprising that two teenage girls achieved their dream of saving their hometown from destruction, especially when being a hero was thought to be something only men could accomplish.  However, Scituate, Massachusetts owes a lot to Abigail and Rebecca Bates.

According to the book “We Were There Too,” it all started on June 11, 1814. With the Revolutionary War over, everyone wanted to get back to their lives. They wanted to settle down and find a nice town to call home. So when a British ship called the Bulwark sent armed soldiers inland to demand food and water, the citizens of Scituate feared that their lives would be ruined. The War was over. The British needed to stop being sore losers and head back to England. The townspeople agreed to stand their ground. They bravely refused to do the soldier’s biding.

This angered the British soldiers. They trained their guns on the townspeople and burned down the American barges. They stole four boats and loaded them up with the food they had stolen from people’s gardens. Then they rowed triumphantly back to the Bulwark.

Later that summer, American soldiers arrived to chase the Bulwark away. They sent two soldiers, who were musicians, to the Bates’ house to protect them. One played the drums and the other played the fife. The soldiers taught Rebecca and Abigail how to play the instruments. They even taught the girls how to play Yankee Doodle.

The summer went on with no more British ships, so the soldiers figured the Bate’s were safe. They left and they let the girls keep their instruments.

In early September, Abigail and Rebecca were in the lighthouse with their little brother when they spotted a giant British ship off the coast, The La Hogue. Just like last time, British soldiers came towards Scituate in their rowboats.

The girls feared that the British soldiers would burn the barges and threaten the townspeople again. Plus, there were two vessels at the docks that were full of flour. The town’s economy depended on importing and exporting that flour, so they couldn’t afford to lose it.

They considered using muskets to attack the soldiers, but they were outnumbered. They started to panic. What could they do? After all, they were only teenage girls.

Suddenly, Rebecca got an idea. As the soldiers drew closer, the girls played Yankee Doodle on their drum and fife. They wanted the soldiers to think the Americans were preparing to attack.

The British heard the tune and rowed back to their ship in a panic. With a final attempt, the La Hogue fired one shot at the lighthouse, but it fell short. And with that, the ship left.

Rebecca and Abigail Bates had achieved their dream of keeping their town safe by overcoming the obstacles they had faced. These girls accomplished their dreams at a very young age, which is very difficult to do. Even today, seeing young people accomplishing such big dreams is quite rare. But every now and then, you might find someone who can.

A Light in the Sky

By: Julia Young

Grace Vanderwaal always wanted to sing. According to Grace, “When you love doing something it doesn’t matter where you do it, you just want to keep doing it.”

This fourteen year old started out filming herself singing and playing ukulele in her bedroom. She is now singing in front of millions of people. She was one of the first teenagers to win America’s Got Talent.

By seeing Grace, you would never guess she is shy. Before America’s Got Talent, she had never performed in front of large crowds.

When Grace was three, she first showed interest in music by picking up a wireless microphone and singing in front of her family. By the time she was eleven, she had taught herself how to play the ukelele from Youtube tutorials.

She decided she loved singing so much that she would take videos of herself and post them on Youtube. After posting a few videos, Grace quickly started gaining views.

According to, after moving to New York City and being encouraged by her mom, she tried out for America’s Got Talent. Grace didn’t even think she would make it. Although she is extraordinary, Grace fears that she is too young and wont be taken seriously.

But when she saw the judges faces when she sang, knew that singing was what she wanted to do with her life. The judges thought so too because Howie Mandel pressed his “Golden Buzzer” which sent Grace straight to the live rounds.

After the show aired and she went home, all of her friends, family, and neighbors were surprised to see that she played so well. Grace had never even let them know she sang, let alone want to go on the show. Because Grace was so shy, no one thought she would do anything like that. But she proved them wrong.

After a long season, Grace was down to the final round and was one of the top two contestants. After a heartfelt performance, the viewers voted and Grace won. She won one million dollars and a show in Las Vegas.

Shortly after the season ended, Grace released an album and then went back to school for her eighth grade year. Many girls at her school who used to be mean to her were suddenly trying to be her best friend. She didn’t know what to do, so she wrote a song about it.

Grace loves music and uses it for everything. She has had an amazing journey through her art and she’s only 14. There is so much room in her career to do even bigger and better things. Grace Vanderwaal’s music is something that makes other people very happy. But music isn’t the only thing that can bring happiness to people’s lives.

Designing the Floor Plan of Her Dreams

By: Payten Neswold

With the motivation to help clients in her mind, Lynn Neswold makes it so everyone feels their own sense of style within their home and is happy about what they live in.

According to Lynn, “Growing up in the small town of Schaller, Iowa, not many people aspired to be an interior designer, so it was very unusual.”

Her original dream was to become a veterinarian, but the idea of operating on animals was a bit of a setback. In 6th grade, she realized drawing floor plans and rearranging rooms was something she always loved doing.

Not knowing what it was called at the time, she decided to research and get more involved in designing in high school.

Once she realized she wanted to become an interior designer, she went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in California. She decided to be an independent student, which meant she didn’t live at home. This allowed her to get several loans and grants. She also had to sell her car to help with some of the costs of going to college.

Out of school, she got a job as an interior designer at a local company in Downtown, Des Moines. Unfortunately, they didn’t offer any insurance benefits. So, after 4 years of working, she decided to find a company that would.

She applied for The Mansion, an interior design store in Downtown, and got in. A lot of her job is knowing how to read and understand people. Many people think that she does this for fun, and is fine with working nights and weekends for them. While she is willing to help whenever she can, there are some time boundaries.

While being in front of people and confronting someone to ask for the sale was hard, Lynn powered through and can now talk to anyone without worrying about it too much.

When asked if she would continue working if she won the lottery, Lynn said, “I would still work, but at a much slower pace. I would only work for the people that I would really want to work with.” This means that continuing her dream would be a fun thing to do, but she would turn it into more of a hobby instead of a job.

Lynn’s dream has helped many clients in the past and she will continue living her dream by making other people feel comfortable and sophisticated within their home. Lynn likes to help people feel pleased with where they’re living. But other people like to help people feel good about how they’re living.

From Chocolates to Changing the World

By: Molly Suetsugu

As an eighth grader running a small chocolate business, 14-year-old Cassey Ho didn’t know that her knowledge of business would come in handy in the future. She didn’t know she would become a successful entrepreneur with her own line of workout clothes. She didn’t know she would become an internationally recognized pilates instructor with millions of followers online. But today, years later, the founder of Blogilates has achieved all of these things and more. Cassey Ho is truly

living her dream.

According to, Cassey’s passion for health and fitness all began back when she was 16 years old when she saw an infomercial for Pilates during her training for a pageant. Back then, she didn’t really know what she was doing. But, despite this, she still found herself doing Pilates four years later as a sophomore at Whittier College in California. It was only until after she decided to get certified as an instructor that she truly saw how much she could inspire other people. She started putting out workout videos online for her students so that they could watch them after she moved away.

After college, Cassey moved from L.A. to the East Coast for her job and to pursue her love for fashion. She had started a line of bags to carry her Pilates gear back in college. But after nine months of working a job she hated, she decided to quit after one of her bags was featured in Shape magazine. She flew to China shortly after and started producing her bags there. During the three month production and shipping process, Cassey continued to make videos on Youtube and even started her own blog, Blogilates, for fans to get to know her better.

Over the years, Cassey gained more and more attention. People were drawn to her unique way of working out, POP Pilates, which fused pop music and Pilates together to create something people have never seen before. Today, Cassey has over four million followers on Youtube. According to, she is the author of the best-selling book, Hot Body Year Round, the creator of the activewear line, POPFLEX, and the creator of PIIT28 (Pilates Intense Interval Training), an intense, equipment-free workout program for only 28 minutes a day. She currently runs Blogilates with her mother, father and fiancé, Sam Livits.

Even though Cassey’s parents help her run the company now, they weren’t always very supportive of Cassey’s dreams. With her parents being immigrants, all they wanted was for her to have a financially stable career. So Cassey listened to her parents and majored in biology in college to become a doctor. However, after discovering Pilates and realizing what she was truly passionate about, she defied her parents wishes and changed her career path, which isn’t easy. Now, her parents are fully supportive of her and Cassey is living her dreams. She loves what she does and continues to inspire people all around the world every day.


By: Noah Goeders, Ben Kubicek, Madi Straker-Seay

In your lifetime what have you experienced? Any obstacles or milestones? What experiences have you had? How many of those experiences were bad, and how many were good? You may believe that having more good experiences is better than having more bad, however, you learn more from the negative. In order to properly learn from these experiences you must persevere throughout all obstacles.

Never Leaving a Stone Unturned

By: Madi Straker-Seay

At the age of twelve, most people are playing video games and listening to music. But when Sacagawea was twelve, she was being sold to somebody to be their wife. Sacagawea, (1788-1812) is arguably most famous for helping to guide the Lewis and Clark Expedition of the land bought in the Louisiana Purchase. Her knowledge of the terrain, rough territory, the people, and language got her the memorable place on the charter to the Pacific.

Sacagawea was born into a Shoshone tribe as the chief’s daughter. When she was a child, she dreamed of one day leading her tribe while keeping her family safe. Though, she persevered through being kidnapped and sold as a wife. At the age of 12 she was kidnapped then sold to a French-Canadian man who in turn made her one of his plural wives.

In 1804, she was invited to join the Lewis and Clark Corps. She was pushed to join this as it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. She was pulled to join as it would be a way she could see the world. As she was born in the Rocky Mountains- Sacagawea had extensive knowledge of forging and natural medicines as well as edible plants, never leaving a stone unturned, literally and metaphorically. These were a very important bunch of attributes on the journey.

The young girl was pregnant during the expedition to the West and her baby was born in the middle of the voyage. Sacagawea was pulled by having her baby to finish the expedition to be a mother to her child. As the end of the journey neared, she became pregnant with a baby girl. Her daughter Lizette was born in the December after the expedition had ended and they were back home.

Sacagawea soon fell sick and died, at the age of 25. Her daughter’s life was undocumented, but her son moved around and had many jobs before his death which is commonly unknown. Sacagawea had a life filled with the pull of adventure, and mystery, as well as the push of heartache. She is often credited with being one of the first female icons and for being on an American dollar coin.  She is an important figure in American history, similar to Alexander Hamilton, whose story was told by the dreamer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

From Dreamer to Doer

By: Noah Goeders

We all have dreams but the sad truth is that few people ever achieve them. You may not have reached your aspirations, but Lin-Manuel Miranda has. Miranda was born on January 16, 1980, in New York City. He grew up in a family that had a love for musical theatre, and thus was exposed to the lifestyle from a very young age. As a child, he dreamed to be in the Broadway production of Les Misérables, as it was the first show he saw.  On January 24, 2016, that dream was realized when he played the offstage cameo role of “Loud Hailer.” His dreams of being a playwright first came true when his musical In the Heights opened on Broadway in 2008, after an excruciatingly successful Off-Broadway run. After that he wrote, composed, and starred in the smash-hit Hamilton, which currently has five productions running.

As a young adult, Lin knew he would need to work twice as hard since he was the child of immigrant parents, as he would face the adversities that came along with it. He had dreamed of acting, and writing plays. Miranda worked hard through school, he started to succeed that these dreams when he graduated from Wesleyan University with a Theater Arts degree and everything went uphill. He was pushed to succeed by the immigrant community as he was their representation in theatre. He wrote a musical called Bring it On but it wasn’t very popular and pushed him to strive for better work.
After the successfulness of Hamilton, he then was given the opportunity to write music and to have a small cameo role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. He was also hired by Disney to write music for their animated movie, Moana. He will also be playing the main character role of “Jack” in the upcoming Disney film Mary Poppins Returns. Due to all of these projects, his popularity has skyrocketed. According to, he will be getting a star on the famous “Hollywood Walk of Fame” sometime this year.  He used much of what he learned from past experiences in theatre to make truly amazing music, much like Andrea Baldwin, a local property manager.

Using What You’ve Learned

By: Benjamin Kent Kubicek

Andrea Baldwin was born February 19, 1976, in South Korea, and was adopted into a Minnesotan family. When Baldwin was little, she along with many other children wanted to be president, but she realised this was a pointless dream as she was born out of the country. In Andrea’s younger youth she had also wanted to be an astronaut but when The Challenger space shuttle blew up in 1986, she decided that it wasn’t for her. At one point she wanted to be a lawyer, however there were too many obstacles to face. She still persevered through these obstacles. Baldwin finally went on to attend Saint Paul Art College and got a degree in art history. These experiences taught her that perseverance is key in any dream or project.

Baldwin is now an Apartment Complex Manager which is a occupation she found completely by chance. Through perseverance she climbed up the corporate ladder where she reached a position where she could do all of the things she yearned to do when she was a child. Baldwin goes to court cases and deals with lawsuits. She says she “also gets to boss people around like the president.” Her only goal in work is to keep her ranking position in her job. Baldwin would like to get herself a real-estate degree in the near future so she can sell other properties besides the apartments.

She did not see herself as a parent but she now has two children and she “only wishes for her two sons to be successful and lived fulfilling lives,” and for her children to get usable degrees. Andrea Baldwin pushes towards education in her home, focusing on school and grades. Since college is so expensive she has set up two savings accounts to pay her children’s for college education. Baldwin hopes to get a house and be able to see her children’s graduation. Though she did not achieve her specific dreams, she still manages uses the skills she acquired while striving for her dreams in her day-to-day life.

Everyone’s story told a tale of their lives, and a story of perseverance. Sacagawea experienced so much but kept on going and went on to become an important part of American history. Lin-Manuel Miranda worked hard then used what he learned from theatre to create one of the most successful musicals of all time. Andrea Baldwin kept on using the skills she gained from her aspirations and learned from them to be successful in her real life.


Every decision that you make affects not only you, but those around you. It can change the way you think, feel, and react to the situations that you are faced with. If you make the decision to take a chance, an opportunity to change your life, you will never be the same. Taking chances, seizing opportunities, and working hard helped Cassie Carpenter’s dreams come true.

A Performer’s Transition to Teaching

Jacob McGreen

            Cassie Carpenter was sitting in her basement, tapping away at the rickety old piano, when she heard her mom get home from the community theatre. She didn’t care, she was more interested in the piano. As she finished the song from her mom’s play, she heard her exclaim “Where did you hear that?” That’s the first time Cassie performed for someone. She claimed that she then started doing piano lessons and started learning.

As a kid, Cassie dreamed of performing on a big stage in front of hundreds of people. During holidays and family gatherings, she decided to perform for her family. She was pushed by her parents who loved music. She watched her mother sing and perform, and decided that she wanted to be a performer. She followed her childhood dream, taking multiple musical classes and singing lessons. In high school, her choir teacher had her lead part of the class. She loved it. That day, she decided she wanted to become a choir teacher, and she said, “That was when I knew I wanted to be a choir teacher. I said ‘I could do this all day’ and that was a major turning point.”

According to Cassie, she still wanted to pursue her childhood dream, but she didn’t have enough money. Because of this, she decided to give up musical performance, applied and got into Luther College in Iowa. There, she studied to be a choir teacher. She found jobs at multiple schools before deciding to work at Indian Hills Junior High. Now, she’s living out her dream of teaching music. She may not have made her childhood dreams a reality, but she used opportunities given to her to make a new one.

Some people, like Cassie Carpenter, have dreams that change, develop and diversify because they decide to be in certain situations. Others, like Samuel Brannan, develop their dreams through by making decisions to be out of a situation. 

Selling Shovels

Nate Connolly

The gold rush is seen as a time of fame, fortune, and the hope of striking it rich. However, many prospectors went home poorer than they came. Many of the richest people sold the supplies that helped people mine for gold. All of these people wanted to get rich and to do it quickly.  These dreams were not achieved by the situations they were in, but by decisions they decided to make.

As an old saying goes, ‘when there is a gold rush, sell the shovels’. Sam Brannan, a store owner in California, did just that. Sam Brannan was born in Saco, Maine in 1819. In his early teens, he moved to Ohio with his family, completed a printer’s apprenticeship, and began working as a traveling printer. In 1842, he was pushed West to find safety from religious persecution.

In California, he decided to open a general store. This store began to make large profits. The leaders of his religious group decided he was being too greedy and gave him a choice: be excommunicated or close his store. He chose the first option.

This pushed him to do even better in his businesses. His store was near where James Marshall first found gold, so he was one of the first people to learn of this discovery. He even went down to the mines to investigate it. And there it was the metal of his dreams: gold. He couldn’t believe it. He was in so much shock, and decided to open a second store. Walking down the street he told everyone he could find, “Gold has been found in the American River.” People stared at him, wide eyed and mouths gaping. Then it began; a mad rush to get supplies and find gold. His stores sold things like pickaxes, shovels, and pans. He could make almost $5,000 each day in his stores, which is about $120,000 today. His business grew, and he began running a bank and selling real estate. Sam Brannan was able to become California’s first millionaire, the beginning of a wave of many more.

He eventually became an alcoholic, cheated on his wife, and lost most of his business when he had to transform his assets into cash to pay for a divorce. According to, this eventually became his ruin, and he died. However, his legacy lives on as a man who could make millions during a gold rush by selling shovels.

Getting rich quickly is a dream that many people pursue. To achieve this dream, Sam Brannan, created businesses and developed property. Some people, like Alex Magor, make lots of money while having a greater goal: having fun and doing something they love.

The Gamer

Sam Rankin

Secure the clutch. That’s what Alex Magor does for his team. Alex Magor is 36 years old and lives in New York. He is arguably one of the best gamers in the world. Before he became famous, he was just an average kid who liked sports. When he was young he dreamed of playing in the NFL because he played football for his school. He would play football sports video games like Madden and NBA 2K.  However, his sports career got cut short with an injury to his right leg while playing in a game. While he was injured, all he could do was play video games. He started to play Rainbow Six Siege. He soon found a love for the game and started dreaming about participating in a professional league. Little did he know, he would soon have opportunities to earn money by competing in tournaments. In 2017, Alex and his team decided to take a chance and sign up to compete in Rainbow Six Siege Pro League, a gaming competition with 12 teams. Competing in Rainbow Six Siege had been his dream since he began playing video games after his sports injury. The only way he could make this dream come true was by devoting time and energy to make it through the minor leagues. He made it to the Invitational where all of the best teams who compete in the Pro and Minor Leagues compete for a prize. According to his team won a $50,000 first place prize in the Rainbow Six Siege Invitational. Then he started competing in the Pro League where he was finally living his dream. In the third and fourth seasons of the Pro League, they lost pretty early in the year, so they didn’t qualify for the playoffs and got pushed back to the minor league. Because they won the previous invitational they were able to compete in the Year 2 Invitational. Sadly they lost early and got 12th place. But this coming year they will be playing for a new team in the Majors.

Alex Magor made his dreams a reality and more. He made it to the Pro League and made a name for himself in the Majors. Now everyone knows who Alex Magors is. They wouldn’t know about him without the decision he made. This year, Alex’s team is coming back looking to win the prize once again.

Alex Magor had no idea he would be a professional gamer when he was a child. Likewise, Amy Pettit developed her dreams because of decisions that she made and experiences she had throughout her life.

Changing History, One Step at a Time

Cameron Johnson

“I wanted to change history,” said Amy Pettit, a teacher at Walnut Creek Campus in West Des Moines, Iowa. Amy teaches Language and Arts for students 14-21 years of age. She is happily married to Steve Pettit, the Principal at Southeast Polk High School. They have two kids, Jack and Max, who both attend Van Meter Community Schools, in Van Meter, Iowa.

According to her, Amy would charge other kids in the neighborhood to be told a fact when she was little. Ever since she was young, she loved teaching, until she realized the long hours and low pay that came with teaching. She turned away from teaching and went to Luther College to study journalism until a problem with family brought her closer to home, in Cedar Rapids. She transferred to the University of Iowa, where she graduated with a degree in Journalism. Still, it wasn’t until Amy volunteered at North High School in Des Moines, Iowa that she realized that she had a passion for teaching. Amy then decided to attend Drake University, where she earned her Masters degree in teaching.

There were multiple things that pushed Amy away from teaching, such as long hours and low pay. Coming out of college on a low salary and no free time can be tough. Luckily for her, there were also things pushing her toward her dream of teaching. When she was young, Amy had some bad experiences with a couple of teachers, as any kid often does. However, these experiences pushed her to make a difference in the school system, and encourage students to love school. Amy was also being pushed to a different career by the need for a higher income. And even though Amy was not poor, the salary of a teacher could be hard to live off of, coming out of college. Furthermore, to marry someone else with the same lower income did not help. However, they decided to make it work, with hard work and sacrifice. While there have been a couple negative sides to teaching, Amy has been pulled to teaching by the relationships with students. Amy stated that she loves to work with them and show them that if they work hard, they are capable of anything.

It wasn’t about the opportunities that were given to her, but what she made of them.  She realized it wasn’t all about the money. Amy had a dream. A dream that was made into a reality. A dream to help kids by teaching in a way that created joy, while in school. She will always be remembered by her students as a teacher that helped them and cared about them whenever needed. It was this legacy that Amy Pettit hoped to leave when she was young. It is this legacy that will inspire more students to be like and teach like her. She will continue teaching in a way that creates a friendly environment so that kids can grow up and make a difference. And maybe like Amy, they can change history. 

Life Changing Decisions

Amy Pettit made many difficult decisions in her life, in the hope that she could achieve her dreams and change history. She may not be exactly where she thought she would be, but she sure loves what she does. Like many others, every decision that she made changed lives and the world around her. Making difficult decisions, working hard, and seizing your opportunities will help you achieve your dreams.


By: Mary Hanson, Azure Peterson, Amber Tidball

Have you ever had big dreams and had it come true? Well these people we wrote about did and they come true, some are yet to come true some dreams are for future references. Here are some passionate people with big dreams.

The Passion of a Wild West Lawman

By: Mary E. Hanson

A passionate dreamer is for sure James Butler ‘Wild Bill’ Hickok, a husband, a lawman, a dreamer, a legend. Butler grew up with his mother and father on a small amount of land. As Butler got older he became more passionate about guns, by the time he was 17 he lost his father in a shootout against multiple bandits, this led Butler to the dream of becoming a lawman. Throughout his years as a lawman Butler gained many allies and many enemies. During a gunfight against a well known enemy of Butler, he faced off against David McCanles. Butler shot and killed McCanles and his 3 partners, this became known as the ‘McCanles Massacre’. Soon after the ‘McCanles Massacre’, Butler was in another gunfight but this time this gunfight ended in Butler receiving his name of ‘Wild BIll’. Wild Bill was passionate about his work and about bringing justice to the towns in the West.

Wild Bill fulfilled his passion of becoming a lawman and bringing justice to the world in honor of his father. Wild Bill participated in gunfights, became passionate about gambling, and eventually got married, but before he returned home from his trip to a gambling house, Wild Bill was shot and killed by Jack McCall during a game of poker. The night Wild Bill was killed was out of cold blood. Jack McCall killed Wild Bill to get revenge for an insult Wild Bill made and for killing McCalls brother. The last hand that Wild Bill Hickok ever held was Aces over 8’s now more famously known as the deadmans hand.

For the kids

By: Amber Tidball

Another example of a passionate dreamer is Carrie Lundy teacher at Perkins elementary gives me an inside on a few of her dreams and passions as a kid, she also gave some info about her current dreams and passions. According to Carrie when she started out in college she wanted to be a journalist, but she didn’t care much for reporting so she decided that dream was not one she should go after. She switched to teaching a kindergarten class because of the babysitting she has done in high school and junior high and she loved to be around kids she was so passionate about kids and teaching. She felt being around kids is what made her the happiest. She chased the dream of a kindergarten teacher because she says, “I realised that is what made me the happiest  and  I was always happy and always had fun around kids and I realized that I liked little kids so I changed my major when I was at school too early childhood so that I could just teach kindergarten and preschool’’.

Her parents have always been supportive of what she wants to do they helped her get through college.When she was in college and she decided to switch to teaching she went on a study trip to Minneapolis.She went into some of the schools that were in low-income areas in the inner city and the kids were all very mixed in population and they had so many issues and that is where she saw that she really wanted to be a teacher and be somewhere where she’s helping them with their life to better it, she says, “  like to see when they are learning to read and it clicks then they start to get it that is always really rewarding’’. When she retires she dreams to go somewhere warm, travel and spend time with her family.

Step by step

By: Azure Peterson

Like Carrie and Wild Bill Maesi  also had very passionate dreams. Just think living in a state that is underrated and being so passionate about dance that you become and tv star overnight. Well it can happen to you and to others it might be very unlikely. Having your biggest dream come true in just a couple of days is a huge accomplish. People in all of america have been inspired to become dancers and that is a huge accomplishment.

Having your dreams become a reality for Maesi that was a huge accomplishment from a small dance studio to being on dance moms thats huge. Especially for a recently turned `13 year old girl to star on such a huge show that people watch. Older and younger people look forward to seeing people from there state on a tv show and it gives you a cool feeling that your state is being recognized. You have to be passionate about what you are doing and you have to have your support system and Maesi had that. She had her mom, dad, sister, and her little brother.

Just think being on a show will get you recognized and you get bigger and are open to more opportunities. A big push for Maesi was to continue her dream but her pull was she was only 11 and she was still in school.
Well Maesi had a huge opportunity she got to dance on stage with Justin Bieber for his purpose tour. She got to perform live and that is a big accomplishment for a 11 year old at the time. She has come from a background of dance she was a dancer before fame and still a dancer after fame. She has got to work with amazing people along the way of her fame journey and she has had many opportunities and probably more to come.

Everybody has dreams, some big, some small, but we all dream. You can learn to overcome anything in your way. ‘’If you can dream it, do it!’’ – Walt Disney. We believe dreams should not go unheard dreams can be in the ordinary if you have passion for something that is a dream. What is your passion?


By: Holly Heil, Jayden Johnson, Amelia Springer, and Deserae Tiffany

What has pulled you to become more than you thought you could? Dedication is something we all have, it brings us far in life and we end up doing what we thought was impossible. People in the past and present have used dedication to get far in their lifetime and people in the future will use it to their greater advantage.

Madness Throughout The Prairie

By: JJ Johnson

An example of dedication is when the Americans moved to the West, they wanted to start new lives for themselves.

They were dedicated to having a happy life with their families and friends with the new land. Until they could not escape the sounds of bugs and the isolation. That’s when the mental illness began, Prairie Madness.

Even though their dream was to have more land and to live somewhere new, according to, a lot of people had to move back East because of the isolation and emptiness of the Great Plains. The people who had to move back to their homeland lost a lot of money from the trip there and back, the hospital bills, and the hope for their family to get better. But no one was around because of all of the space and that led to depression, withdrawal, and hopelessness. Some also suffered from anger and violence or changes in behavior and character, and some went so far that they committed suicide. When they moved back east, they suffered from homesickness and loneliness from the more extreme symptoms in the condition’s beginning stages.

Some of the people went insane and had to get moved to mental hospitals. According to, the doctors were dedicated to making them better so they could go back to their own families, so they gave the pills and medicine. One of the things they tried to give the patients was heroic medicine after they took it, it led to extreme forms of purging and bleeding that nearly killed the patients. Then the doctors tried to give them gentler methods of relief, though they often relied on opiates and sometimes poisonous mixtures that harmed or killed patients. The relatives of the patients would blame others for the breakdown, the husband of an insane wife would blame his in-laws for her condition, while they blamed him. The doctors were cautioned not to give in to relatives’ requests for any kind of trickery, but to always present themselves as physicians. Because of the inexperienced doctors, the patients could not get better and they hurt many people. In the end, with the inexperience of the doctors and the isolation of the west, not only did it drive innocent people crazy, but it also made many murders and caused destruction and chaos.

The Dream For One Man

By: Amelia Springer

Similar to Prairie madness Kevin and the doctors both dedicated their time and work to help achieve their dreams.“Life is too short to be around people who don’t support you, you need to be around people who are going to motivate you.” Kevin Springer accomplished many of his dreams thanks to his dedication be a pilot for the government. Kevin’s dreams have changed over time because of financial situations and because he found other interest in being a pilot. Kevin’s childhood dream was to be a photojournalist for National Geographic and Time Magazine which is why he went to college. In his first year of college at 19, he got a job as an airplane refueler which means he refueled the jet fuel and gas for planes.

When Kevin was working at his job he was able to talk to the pilots and listen to their stories and found that being a pilot was really interesting. After talking to the pilots he decided to go to flight school but realized that going to college and flight school cost a lot of money, money that he didn’t have. Kevin worked many jobs every day to earn enough money to pay for flight school and the rest of college but in the middle of college and at the start of flight school at age 20 Kevin found out that he was going to be a father so he quit college and flight school and worked a full-time job to support his child while his wife went to college. As soon as she was done Kevin went back to school and finished college and finally finished flight school but since he was a father he still had to work and it was difficult to find a good paying job because the economy was severely wounded because of 9/11 and the great recession of 2007-2008. And with his second child born in 2003, he now had to support two children and a working wife. Kevin stayed dedicated to his goal of becoming a pilot and if it wasn’t for his dedication and determination he wouldn’t be where he is now. 

Greater Than A Pebble

By: Deserae Tiffany

Like Kevin Springer, Dwayne Johnson used dedication to his advantage. “Success isn’t always about ‘Greatness’, it’s about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success. Greatness will come.” Dwayne Johnson says. Dedication has brought Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson from the boxing ring to the big screen.

Dwayne was born into a wrestling family, he is the grandson of the professional wrestler Peter “High Chief” Fanene Maivia, and of course son of the wrestler Rocky Johnson. Dwayne had no desire to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and father. According to Dwayne played football for the University of Miami where he had a great career going until a back injury pushed him away from his dream of being a NFL player.

After that, he went to continue the tradition that was running in the family. He had won the WWF Heavyweight title six times and the WWF Tag Team championships five times. He has been in many films such as Central Intelligence, Moana (voice of Maui), Baywatch, Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, and Skyscraper. He also stars in the HBO show Ballers.

Dwayne Johnson has used dedication to help him throughout his life and he has grown by dedication all of his effort into what he loves. He has earned the respect form many people, wrestlers, actors, directors, the country, and most of the world because he dedicated himself to his career and family. Dwayne Johnson has come far in his life, and we all expect him to go further into his career, but ask yourself this, how far are you willing to go to achieve your dreams like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has?

A Change In Dreams

By: Holly Heil

Similar to Dwayne Johnson, a man named Michael grew out of his younger dreams to achieve bigger goals.“Grow the positivity, and eliminate any negativity” Michael Targoff. Michael said his biggest dream when he was young was to end up being the next Tinker Hatfield, who was a shoe designer for Nike during Michael Jordan’s days in the NBA and designed a lot of his sneakers.

A big influence on his fashion/sneaker design dream was his mother. She used to design jeans in New York City in her early 20’s, and he was always intrigued with that. On top of that, he grew up loving sneakers and everything about them, so he started collecting them and fantasizing about designing them. Throughout his childhood and even now, he’s a huge technology and video game fan. He either wanted to grow up to design sneakers or work in technology. A setback that he had was location. A lot of the fashion or sneaker companies that he wanted to work for were on the east coast in New York City, and he never made the move.

Michael has a wife named Melanie who plays a big role in supporting him along with his mother. His current dream is to be as successful and efficient with his career and personal life as possible. Michael says he is on his way there, but when that day comes that they add children into the mix, it could get a little difficult at times trying to balance both. Michael’s dream is to be able to do so smoothly, all while making the best life possible for Melanie, himself, and his future children. In order to achieve his dreams, he is going to make the best of whatever situation he is in life at any given time. That idea has led him to where he’s at now, married and a homeowner at 25 years old, so he will continue to use that idea throughout his entire life. “Working for Wondermint has given me the feeling that I’m actually achieving some dreams right now. Working remotely for a small technology business has never even been an idea for me until I found Wondermint, and now it’s the best career I’ve had yet. My current position is Operations Lead, meaning I do background day-to-day activities for the company, but I also take some residential and small business appointments. I would love to one day be more fluent in advanced Mac troubleshooting like our Technical Lead for the company, so I am working on learning and researching new troubleshooting techniques that I never knew before.” Michael said.

Dedication, Determination

In conclusion, dedication has helped many people achieve their dreams to become a stronger person. The people in these articles have achieved their dreams through trial and error, but have worked through it with help from others. ♦

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