Story by Carsyn Owens
“So many people…think they have to…change themselves for society when you just have to learn to be yourself,” Junior Olivia Harlan said.
In sixth grade, Olivia was shy and didn’t really talk to anyone. Olivia was bullied, but with the help of her mother was able to overcome it. When she started talking to other classmates and being herself, the bullying stopped. Olivia said she enjoys going to school because she gets to see her friends.
Her best friend, junior Paige Holmes, helped Olivia open up because of how outgoing she is. Olivia described Holmes as a really confident person. “She doesn’t have any trouble just going up to random people like asking them weird things or introducing herself, and she’s probably the one who’s boosted my social skills as well,” Olivia said, “she encourages me to be myself.”
Holmes has encourages Olivia’s passion for baking by cooking with her and encouraging her to pursue a career in culinary arts. Harlan aspires to go to The Culinary Institute of America in New York after high school.
Olivia’s twenty-six year old brother, Alex Harlan, is a huge supporter of her dream about culinary arts.
Olivia said “She (grandma) didn’t like the idea of me going to school to be a chef when I’m out of high school,” Olivia said.
Olivia needed some guidance on how to figure out how to deal with the disagreement with her grandma, so she went to Alex, “He just told me to ignore her and kind of taught me to follow me dreams,” Olivia said.
Olivia’s supportive family and friends have inspired her to try to help others by encouraging them the way her friends and family have encouraged her. Olivia explained that some of her friends have gone through a rough time recently.
Olivia made a three tier cake for Holmes’ 16th birthday party and took her to the Buzz Beach Ball concert because Holmes really wanted to see Weezer live.
Olivia said she wants to be remembered as “the person that anyone could come to for help. I’d like for people to remember me as someone who was…open to being friends with anybody.”