Read Katie's essay below on her passion for the museum’s mission, creativity, and her views on leadership.
Learning through play is an incredibly important mission to me, as it’s how I developed as a creative person. Allowing children to learn through self-expression will help them grow into confident, imaginative people. I’m a student and a volunteer for LiveArt at SPARC. Every week, I witness my peers as well as younger children, regularly abled and disabled, learn compassion and acceptance through different art forms. These children develop a connection unlike anything I’ve ever seen, as they learn how to spread kindness through play. I’ve solved problems creatively in LiveArt when asked for help by students with differing abilities. In my dance class last year, I was partnered with an autistic girl, and every week I thought of a new way to help her learn the dance we performed in the show. Whether it was relating our dance to her favorite Disney princess or giving dance steps funny names, I helped her in any creative way I could, and in the process, gained a wonderful new friend. She taught me just as much (if not more) than I taught her about creative problem solving. I also solved problems creatively while working on a YouTube channel for kids. At ten, I joined a collab channel that made video skits to post online every week. We were given a theme weekly, and we had to create a skit. Every week, I thought of a new idea and considered the best way to appeal to young children in a creative way.
In my opinion, the most important qualities of a leader are passion, creativity, and motivation. I have demonstrated leadership through school projects and clubs, but mainly in my community through the Richmond Youth Peace Project. I trained to be a RYPP Leader, and as a leader I run workshops to teach the youth of Richmond to solve conflicts peacefully. I’ve always been extremely passionate about equality for everyone, open-mindedness, and treating everyone with kindness, so this program is a great outlet for me to help spread peace in my community. Because I’m committed, I’m motivated to inspire kids to spread acceptance. I’ve also had to utilize creativity as a leader when working as an assistant art teacher in after school art classes. Every child learns differently, so a good leader has to be prepared to lead in different, creative ways that can apply to anyone. For instance, I was helping teach an art lesson, and a student was feeling unmotivated. I decided to try to encourage him by playing some upbeat music, having everyone take a stretch break, and walking around to discuss everyone’s ideas with them. I was selected to mentor freshman through a school club and am always considering the best way to get through to them based on their individual personalities and interests. A leader has to be prepared for unexpected outcomes and has to be ready to adapt to these outcomes, and that ability has helped me a lot in the past in different leadership positions.
Thanks to a grant from the Mary Anderson Harrison Foundation, the Snow Queen Scholarship of $3,000 is granted in memory of Cameron Gallagher. Cameron grew up visiting the Children’s Museum and Legendary Santa. Her love of children, creative spirit and perseverance will provide an inspirational vision for this year’s Snow Queen. The Snow Queen will serve as a role model for young girls, exemplifying internal beauty and character while reflecting and celebrating the museum’s commitments to inspiring creativity and individuality.