N4 Student Spotlight: Ashley Kaufman

Can you believe August is only two days away? Our students and teachers are looking towards a new school year. This week, we spotlight Ashley Kaufman, who starts her freshman year at the University of Illinois in a few weeks.

Ashley was introduced to Narrative 4 through her high school English class. She attended our 2016 summit. At the Illinois Association of Teacher Educators conference, she spoke beautifully about the power of the N4 story exchange. You’ll get a sense of Ashley’s warmth and positive energy below as she explains how being part of the N4 family empowers her.

Ashley with her teacher, Faisal Mohyuddin, in Belfast

Ashley with her teacher, Faisal Mohyuddin, in Belfast

1. Can you share a stand-out memory from this year’s summit?

When we spent the afternoon at the new Narrative 4 headquarters. This experience was impactful to me because I felt that Narrative 4 was given a home. I loved being with all of the Narrative 4 members in a room that meant so much to everyone and that had such an incredible story behind it. Listening to many individuals speak about Narrative 4 and their happiness about the headquarters warmed my heart. Another stand-out moment for me was the talent show. I tend to be shy in front of big crowds and I am not one to participate in talent shows. This year I stepped out of my comfort zone and participated in the talent show in two acts! I was a part of a band called The Showercaps and I recited a poem with three other people. I have Faisal Mohyuddin to thank for asking me to recite his poem because I never would have done it on my own. In the upcoming years I will definitely continue to participate in the talent show. I believe that this was was a stand-out moment for me because it was the first time I felt incredibly comfortable in front of a crowd and did not hold back. (This was probably the case because I was standing in front of my family.)

Ashley with Terry Tempest Williams at the N4 HQ in Limerick

Ashley with Terry Tempest Williams at the N4 HQ in Limerick

2. Tell us about yourself and your community.

I am going to be a freshman at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign this fall as an elementary education major. I hope to teach either 3rd or 4th grade one day. I was on my high school’s tennis team for four years and I play a lot of tennis in my free time as well. I love to make scrapbooks of the trips I take and I am currently working on my N4 scrapbook. I have a younger brother and an older sister and we are all extremely close. I live in Highland Park, Illinois, which is a city about thirty minutes north of Chicago. It is a diverse community with members who believe education is very important. The majority of the students graduate from Highland Park High School and go on to college. My community is well-known for Ravina. It is the oldest outdoor music festival in the United States. Also, in the summer Highland Park has wonderful art fairs and a great farmers market.

Ashley with fellow summit participant Gustav Marciszewski

Ashley with fellow summit participant Gustav Marciszewski

3. What are some of the issues that matter most to you?

Right now in our world we are experiencing many horrible acts of violence. These issues matter to me and I believe in equality for all and no discrimination. It saddens me to hear almost daily about the innocent individuals who are being mistreated and I believe that a change is needed to be made. I also feel strongly that there needs to be more laws involving gun control in our world.

4. What excites you about Narrative 4?

Just hearing the words Narrative 4 excites me. To me, Narrative 4 is an infinite web of empathy that branches into so many different directions. The impact N4 has on people is incredible and I love watching this organization grow. I also love the family aspect of Narrative 4. After seeing old faces and meeting new people for only a few days, I consider these individuals my family members and can definitely feel a close bond with everyone.

Collage of scrapbook pages Ashley made after the summit

Collage of scrapbook pages Ashley made after the summit