One word to describe her: Determined
McKinley is 16 years old, and is a junior in high school. She loves to sing, take photos, and read in her spare time. Her mom shares that, McKinley describes herself as a creative person, “but I would also have to add determined… every one of McKinley’s teachers comments on how she never gives up and always gives her best effort.”
McKinley would ultimately like to work as a photographer or videographer but before she does that, she would like to help develop a DSLR camera that can be operated by people that can only use their left hand – like her.
To her family, inclusion not only means no one is left out, but it also means RESPECT and understanding of each other’s differences. True inclusion means making accommodations so that everyone can participate to the best of their ability. To be empowered means you are being recognized for the strengths you have and are given the ability to showcase those strengths.
McKinley’s most memorable moment was when she was selected to play the lead role of Ariel in the Penguin Project performance of Little Mermaid in Bloomington. She loves to sing and relished in the ability to show the world what she could do. The icing on the cake came after the show, when young audience member came up to McKinley and asked if she could get a hug from Ariel.
McKinley’s creative spirit inspires others to follow their dreams, and her determination ensures that she will go far.