Isabella Cipollina

Isabella is a junior enrolled in all AP and IB classes at Atlee High School. She is a member of Hanover Youth Service Council, where she serves as the Communications Committee Chair. She participates and helps to create many service projects, such as Bright Beginnings and the Hanover County School Supply Drive. In addition to volunteering, Isabella is very active in show choir, theatre, and orchestra at Atlee. She is the president of orchestra and a costume captain for the award-winning show choir, Atlee Elegance. She has participated in many shows at her school, both as a cast member and choreographer. Isabella has been performing in theatres such as Virginia Repertory Theatre, Swift Creek Mill, Jewish Family Theatre, and SPARC since the age of seven. She was even nominated for a Richmond Theatre Critic’s Circle award for her role as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. Isabella was a member of the All District Choir last year and will be a member again this year.She is also a member of her school’s Beta Club, National Honor Society, French Honor Society, 7th UP, and International Thespian Society. Isabella wants to be an elementary school teacher one day, and she is enrolled in Teachers for Tomorrow, where she is learning to become a teacher. She will also have the opportunity to student teach at an elementary school starting this winter.


Why is learning through play and living a life of creativity important to you?

Learning through play is critical for children and their families as it builds a sense of

security between children and parents, helps children to express their thoughts and

feelings, solve problems, stimulate creativity, and accomplish shared goals. This mission is

so important to me because one of my biggest dreams is to become a teacher. I am

passionate about helping others, and I work hard to see other people accomplish their

goals and dreams. I want to teach elementary school, and this is a key time in a child's life

where they develop social skills. One of the best ways to do this is through play. I want to

teach so I have the opportunity to help children succeed, and learning through play is such

an important part of helping a child feel confident and happy. One of the most rewarding

experiences of my life was being the dance captain and choreographer for my freshman

choir, Encore. I had the privilege to choreograph our dances and teach them to the choir

on a daily basis. This job presented me with a unique set of challenges that required

creative problem solving, including coming up with inclusive choreography. Students with

disabilities were placed in our choir, and they had unique skill sets that limited their ability

to dance. I had to come up with choreography that they were able to do, while feeling a

sense of accomplishment and happiness. They were only allowed to dance on certain

parts of the stage, and they had specific restrictions on what they could and could not do. I

taught these students one on one, and they were some of the most hardworking people I

have had the pleasure of knowing. They had such big hearts and willingness to overcome

challenges. Coming up with fun, motivating, and inclusive choreography was not easy, but

I loved every second of it. I learned so much about those students and myself. This is an

experience that I will always treasure, and I truly wouldn't trade it for anything.


What are important qualities for leaders to have?

The number one thing I believe a leader should possess is a passion for leading by

serving. Leaders should always lead by example, as it can be inspiring to the people that

they are leading to work as hard as they can. A leader should always be willing to help

wherever they possibly can. Another imperative quality is patience. You cannot solve

problems if you don't have patience, and it makes those you are leading feel like they are

important and worthy. Every successful leader needs to have compassion for others.

Having compassion will draw people to you, and being compassionate will make your life

brighter. Passion is another huge part of being a leader. People will also become

passionate if they see they person leading them truly excited about the project they are

working on. Great leaders should also have the ability to build others up. They should be

able to make people believe in themselves and become successful. Leaders should have

amazing listening skills because there are so many creative ideas that the people they are

leading will have that need to be heard. Being able to motivate others is crucial, which can

be achieved by being a great teacher. If the people you are leading fully understand the

goal of the project, they will be able to work harder and feel a great sense of

accomplishment when the task is completed.


What qualities do you believe you have and how have you demonstrated leadership?

I am passionate about serving others, which has led me to achieve some amazing things. I

have the ability to help others see opportunities for improvement, and I work very hard to

help people recognize their full potential. I am empathetic, loyal, and honest which are

important leadership qualities. Trustworthiness and dependability are qualities that I am

grateful to have, and most importantly, I have a desire to make a difference and change

lives. I am honored to say that I am currently holding three leadership positions, including

President of my orchestra, Costume Captain of one of my choirs, and Communications

Chair for Hanover Youth Service Council. Some of my duties in all three of these positions

include keeping members informed of important events, willingness to help wherever

necessary, making sure every member has a voice, and contributing innovative and thought-provoking ideas. I am currently enrolled in Teachers for Tomorrow at my school, constantly sharing my wisdom and kindness with underclassmen. I also have a little sister, and I constantly strive to set a good example for her by earning good grades, being involved in my school and community, obtaining leadership positions, and demonstrating

compassion and dedication to serving others.