Although Katie Rogers-Vadala recently ran a food drive that collected more than 1,000 items, community service does not have to be that elaborate, she said.
The Brookfield High School senior said checking coats and setting up chairs is just as important.
“I feel really good when I help out my community,” she said. “I always feel like I accomplished something.”
Katie’s community service activities are extensive. She tutors middle school students when she has a study hall; helps out at Brookfield Parents Association events; sets up chairs for the Brookfield Over the Hill Gang, a senior citizens group that meets monthly; and does whatever is needed at Brookfield United Methodist Church, from cutting grass to serving spaghetti.
“I’ve been a busy girl the last four years,” Katie said.
That list of community service activities is one of the reasons that she was presented a YWCA Mahoning Valley Young Women with Bright Futures Award April 6. The award committee also looked at her academic achievements – she has a 3.8 grade point average – her creativity and her leadership qualities.
The daughter of Carrie and Dean Vadala said her approach to leadership is based on her belief that positivity and negativity are contagious.
“I have a positive attitude all the time,” she said.
Sure, Katie said, she gets down, but usually only when her basketball or volleyball team loses.
“I love sports a lot,” Katie said. “I am obsessed with it.”
Katie fights for things she believes in and brings out the best in others, said Assistant Principal Kristen Foster, who has known Katie since the seventh-grade and wrote a recommendation letter on her behalf.
“Her positivity has always been infectious,” Foster said.
Katie followed Lexi Hammond, Ella Simcox and Alexandria Olek in winning the YWCA award, and considers Ella a friend and role model. She applied for the award because of Ella.
“I always looked up to Ella, and so I was really proud,” to win, Katie said.
Katie recruits younger students to join her in activities and and believes Matt Breighner, T.J. Kirila and Marlaina Marek can make a real impact in the community in the coming years.
At school, Katie is a member of the Interact Club, Future Teachers of America and Students Against Destructive Decisions, and plays drums in the band. Although she is very wrapped up in the school, she is ready to move on.
“I want to graduate,” she said. “I want to go to college.”
Katie already is taking classes at Youngstown State University, and plans to major in psychology with a minor in sports communication.
She doesn’t want to leave her high school behind, however, and hopes to coach volleyball.
In her spare time.