A standout varsity volleyball player, Mikala ’17 nonetheless shied away from leadership off the court. “I definitely did not think I was a leader,” she says. “Freshman–year Mikala walked with her head down, wouldn’t make eye contact with teachers, and did not raise her hand in class.”
Slowly, however, Mikala tried leadership roles. “Junior year was a big year for me,” she says. “As a volleyball captain, I had to speak at the Athletic Banquet in front of the whole school. I was worried but did fine.” This past year, when fellow captain Simone ’17 couldn’t make the banquet, Mikala took to the podium solo. “That showed me that I had changed through four years,” she says.
Mikala’s Senior Horizons project with Gabriela ’17 challenged her on a new level. The pair asked twenty-seven middle school students, “What do you want your message to the world to be?” They then photographed the students with their messages painted on their arms, and the resulting Through the Lens exhibit at Pittsfield’s Berkshire Museum culminated in a gala reception—with a lot of attendees.
“Freshman-year Mikala would have run and hidden in the bathroom,” says Mikala, who credits Gabriela for encouraging her to tackle what turned out to be a major project. “Gabriela knew it was going to be hard for me and she pushed me to do it anyway,” she says. “It is nice to have people like that who support you.”