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Extraordinary Girl – Kaycee Howell

What makes up a girl — her looks, popularity, fashion? “Middle school isn’t Hollywood, so none of the above,” says Kaycee Howell, 13. “What makes up a girl is her personality, her demeanor and her individuality. Not silly things like how pretty she is, her new shoes, her parents income or how many friends she has.” Trust Kaycee, she knows. A self-described old soul, she still manages to enjoy SpongeBob and The Fairly Odd Parents. Her idol is Albert Einstein because he is “uber smart and colossally silly.” Her favorite person ever is her mommy.

What makes me happy?

Doing fun things like crafts, watching SpongeBob Squarepants, listening to music, playing video games and reading. I like to go on vacations with my family. Grandma’s house in Illinois is a favorite. I like to volunteer and help others. Currently I volunteer at the Starkey Elementary library. I also enjoy normal things like laser tag or mini golf. No matter what I’m doing, I tend to have a good time.

What advice do you have for girls your age?

For all the girls out there my age, I wrote a little poem just for you.

When talking to others, don’t be cruel. Do your best and stay in school. Give a hug to the ones you love. Stay as happy and free as a beautiful dove. True friends are true, not backstabbing freaks. Boys come and go; don’t mourn for weeks. When you’re down, laughter is the cure. Stick together and know that your beauty is pure.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I want to be an epidemiologist when I grow up, but I have my life in an outline. I want to go to USF in the medical campus in St. Petersburg, get my doctorate, work in a lab where I can make a difference and be famous for finding a cure for a disease. It’s big and high, but hey, I like to dream big. Just remember my name now so when I find a cure to cancer, you won’t be surprised.

What is your favorite way to relax?

Basically anything quiet — things that require no moving, like watching TV or reading a book.

If you could change the world in one way, what would it be?

It would be to find a cure for cancer. Even if I don’t succeed, I want to cure something else like Alzheimer’s or other diseases that people have to suffer from. I think that people should not have to undergo these diseases. They are awful and horrific.

What does Girl Scouts of America mean to you?

The Girl Scouts of America means a lot of things to me. Girl Scouts means coming together on Monday nights to have fun while earning patches. It means going to camp. Not only as a troop, but I also went to camp by myself for a week. No friends, no parents, no sisters. I went to make friends and learn new things. Girl Scouts means meeting a diverse group of new girls. It means having an activity that looks very good on résumé’s for college. Girl Scouts teach me to have integrity, be honest and be reliable. What do you think of when you hear Girl Scouts? Cookies! I love to sell cookies, and eat them too. Our troop is going to save up money from cookie and nut sales to take a trip to Europe our senior year.

What is your favorite experience?

I have a lot of good experiences stored in my memory bank. I have also had my bad ones. I think my favorite experience, though, and I know it will happen more, is setting goals and achieving them. I think that’s one of the many reason’s I try to get good grades, because it feels good. Think about it. When you win something, don’t you feel all tingly inside, like you’re going to burst if you don’t tell someone? Then you finally tell someone and you want to scream, “I got an A,” or whatever the case may be. I am really proud of my achievements.

Tell us about your community projects.

Well, there are a few. I’ll start with my Girl Scout Silver award, since that was the most recent. Michaela Reynolds and I have started a bullying awareness/advocacy club at our school. We had to come up with a project that would be sustainable, meaning that someone else would take over when we leave, and that would help an issue that we have in our society. It took us a while to think of ideas that would work. When we heard on the news how many kids were committing suicide because they were being bullied, we came up with the idea. When we leave the school, we will ask a sixth grader to take over the club and pass it on. The club is named KAB — Kids Against Bullying.

I also have done a lot of volunteer work. I have been a library assistant at the elementary school since sixth grade. I was also a junior docent at Heritage Village to earn a Girl Scout Community Service Bar. I had 20 hours of volunteering and 4 hours of on the job training. 

What message do you want to share with other girls and families?

If there were a message that I would like to share to other girls and families, it would be to be yourself. Don’t try to be some copycat version of Nikki Minaj or the new Selena Gomez. It’s okay if you are already like them. By all means, don’t change! Be yourself because no one else is you. Even genetically made clones are not like you. They are copycats of you, meaning they are not the person that only you can be. Like Judy Garland said, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

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