KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Julia Kerrigan has a passion for linguistics and bettering her community.
The St. Teresa's Academy senior is involved in the Kansas City Interfaith Youth Alliance and is doing her part to make sure all voices in her community are well represented and heard.
"I want to be remembered for doing good work in all aspects of my life," she said.
Kerrigan loves the freedom of expression. She's a writer and the co-editor-in-chief of her school's newspaper.
"I'm not afraid to say certain things," Kerrigan said.
She likes opinion pieces, and it was a column she wrote denouncing hate that got the attention of Kansas City's Interfaith Youth Alliance.
"It was great to know that my words were being read and heard and appreciated," the teen said.
KCIYA reached out to Kerrigan in her junior year after reading her article, and she's been involved with the organization ever since.
"It's so great to see parts of the community I don't normally get to see," Kerrigan said.
The self-proclaimed "storyteller" wants a career in linguistics. She's learning French and is teaching herself Norwegian.
"It's really sing-songy,” Kerrigan said as she began speaking Norwegian.
The bubbly high school senior spends her free time tutoring students in French and math and is a member of the school's "Inclusion Project," which explores the history of her school's racial, religious, and socio-economic identities.
"It's a good feeling to be given so much and to put that energy back into something," she said.
"She leads by example. She's one of those people who walks the talk," said Clare Stern, executive director of Interfaith Programs for KCIYA.
Stern said Kerrigan is a go-getter and achieves anything she puts her mind to.
"She does not shy away from an opportunity. She says yes at everything," Stern said.
And it's that positive attitude that continues to launch her success.
"Always smiling, always willing, always bubbly, always engaged," Kerrigan said.
Kerrigan is the president of the French Honors Society, a certified peer mediator and a member of the National Honors Society. She's also an avid volunteer in the community.
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