2008 Maipacher Her

For the past six years, Maipacher Her, a senior at Harding High School, has had to face the devastating effects of the murder of her father by her mother. Maipacher's mother, angry and depressed over her husband's longtime affair with another woman, stabbed him and then attempted suicide.

Suddenly Maipacher faced the death of her father, the incarceration of her mother, and the shame she felt among family, friends and the community. Feeling alone and not knowing how to get through her grief, Maipacher withdrew and delved into her studies for the next several years. But the deep sadness never left her. Despite being at the top of her class, Maipacher's achievements never diminished her pain.

I made myself an outcast, she says. I immersed myself in school and pushed away both feelings and people. I couldn't smile when I felt like it, laugh when something was funny, or even voice an opinion out loud before hesitating and silencing myself.

Finally, in her junior year the pain caught up to her and, Maipacher broke down. She sought help to deal with her grief and learned to focus less on her schoolwork and more on taking care of herself. Although her grades dropped, her Admission Possible counselor said that by getting help, she was finally able to discover who she was and who she could be. Now she is an even more amazing student and person than she used to be.

Maipacher reflects that although she lost her standing as one of the top students, she has gained the confidence and passion to carry on with life again. I took a step back in order to take a step forward and I gave up my old self in order to discover who I am.

Today, Maipacher provides leadership in school clubs, volunteers in the community, and remains an accomplished student. Maipacher plans to major in Neuroscience and minor in creative writing in college. Her counselor says that, after the worst of pasts, she has crafted a vision for the best of futures.