Casandra Woodall

Hometown: Lexington, KY

high school: Henry Clay

college: Harvard University

MAJOR: Sociology

GRAD. PROGRAM: George Mason University (2010, MEd.)

Casandra Woodall from Henry Clay High School is a self-appointed “rat slap” champion. Just as she is determined to win each card game, she is dedicated to her faith, service, leadership, and advocacy.

Casandra Woodall has served on her local Mayor’s Youth Council for four years. She finds that it is one of her biggest time commitments but enjoys participating on the council. In the past, they have fought for youth rights to privacy, youth voice in the community, and against smoking in schools.

During her junior year, Casandra was elected Vice President of the Council and the Council organized the first of what has become an annual city-wide Youth Speak Out. The Speak Out is a community event open to any youth in the community to encourage a two-way dialogue between community leaders, Mayor and school Superintendent on issues in the community affecting youth. Hearing that the KY Press Association was suing for the right to release personal information about juvenile offenders, the Council sprang into action, hearing both sides of the argument and deciding to plan a protest and stop the legislation. Now in her senior year of high school, Casandra Woodall is the president of the Mayor’s Youth Council and eager to build upon past years of success, hopes to see it grow and prosper.

After years of being the only “black kid” in the class, Casandra realizes the necessity of diversity and the need to open minds by introducing people to a culture or group other than their own. Being the “only” one at times has inspired her to fight for youth who are, at times, are the “only” one and their rights to be individuals and treated with respect.

According to a mentor and friend, “Casandra definitely lives up to the mission of our [Kentucky Conference for Community and Justice] work, which is essentially to fight bias, bigotry, and racism. She is a great example and role model for other young leaders. She is a quiet giant. She teaches other young people that you can lead in many ways.”

In Casandra’s junior year, she was accepted in to the National Honor Society and continued on her campaign for youth activism. She joined the Young Democrats and Women’s Democratic Network and volunteered her Saturdays to register voters throughout her community. As Casandra walked from neighborhood to neighborhood and talked to citizens, she realized now more than ever there is a need for youth to register to vote. She knows that voting is the key to positive change.

Casandra is now entering a new phase in her life— exploring her faith and learning what it means to be a Christian. She appreciates that through God, all things are possible. In the fall of 2006, she plans to attend Harvard College and eventually concentrate in Public Service and International Relations. Her reason why:
“Service is the rent we pay for living”
~Marian Wright Edelman.

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