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Ottawa teen’s triumph makes her documentary film star

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OTTAWA, Kan. -- A Kansas 18-year-old has become an Internet star in a new documentary series about girls who rise above obstacles and succeed in school and life. Kylee Bishop of Ottawa turned her life around with the help of dropout prevention program and a devoted advocate who became her champion.

Now this FOX 4 Young Achiever is inspiring other young people to do the same with their lives.

“I’m really happy that I did it,” said FOX 4 Young Achiever Kylee Bishop. Kylee’s talking about the web documentary in which she is spotlighted.

"Get Schooled – The Story of Kylee from Ottawa, Kansas" is one of a series of short films from The Girl Project, a philanthropic public service initiative of Glamour magazine. The "Get Schooled" docu-series is produced for Glamour by Matter Unlimited and Lot112. The series profiles girls around the world who overcome adversity to complete their education and succeed in life.

“Everything happened so fast when I was little that I didn’t have a chance to grow up as a child,” said Kylee. “I grew up as an adult really fast.” As a freshman at Ottawa High School, recently moved to town from the country, Kylee said she felt utterly alone, shunned by peers and often bullied because of her family’s money struggles and social status. She was angry and frustrated and she wanted to quit school. But over the months and years that all changed.

“I think I just got to the point where everyone was like, believing that I wasn’t ever going to do anything with my life,” said Kylee. “And they didn’t think I was even going to graduate high school. So I just wanted to prove everyone wrong.”

“I felt that I had probably seen the biggest transformation in her of all my other students,” said Cassie Myers. Myers was site coordinator in Ottawa High School for Communities in Schools, a national program that provides all sorts of support to struggling students to help them stay in school and achieve there. Myers started working with Kylee when she was a freshman and stayed with her through high school. She became Kylee’s caring mentor, cheerleader and champion, helping Kylee get her life right.

“It shifted in a huge way,” said Myers, “to this college-minded student who was like, ‘I want more for myself. And I want more for my future. And I want to go to college and I want to have this dream of becoming a nurse and I want to do that.'” It took time and a lot of effort but Kylee persevered and triumphed. And that’s why Myers suggested Kylee for the Glamour documentary series when the producers asked Communities in Schools for recommendations. As a star of the documentary series, Kylee now spreads a powerful message.

“You don’t give up,” said Kylee. "No one ever knows the potential you have. Not even yourself. Three years ago if you’d asked me if any of this would happen, I’d be like, ‘No, I’m from Ottawa, Kansas. None of this is going to happen.’” Kylee said a major reason she agreed to be featured in the Glamour documentary and open up her life for all to see was to spotlight Communities in Schools. She wanted to make people aware of the organization and its important work helping kids who are struggling in school and life and how it empowered her to transform herself.

“They’ve opened so many doors for me and they’ve helped me get through school and social issues and anxiety and depression,” said Kylee. “That’s been my foot in the door to get everything done.” And in her victory, Kylee has become a willing and enthusiastic role model eager to be an example for girls and all young people around the globe.

“Yeah,” said Kylee with a laugh. “Sometimes I’m okay.”

Kylee is starting college now with the goal of becoming a nurse. And she hopes one day to return to high school, maybe a lot of them, to become a champion for teenagers herself and inspire them to make good choices and better themselves.

You can watch the 4-minute documentary that profiles Kylee at Glamour's website.

FOX 4 News is Working 4 You to spotlight outstanding young people and their positive accomplishments. In our weekly report called Reaching 4 Excellence we meet young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. Watch for Reaching 4 Excellence every Wednesday on FOX 4 News at 9 p.m. and every Thursday on FOX 4 News at 8 a.m. and noon.