Q&A: Student who enhanced her passion for helping others at Fallston High School looks forward to becoming a women's empowerment advocate

·3 min read

Jun. 7—During her four years at Fallston High School, Nina Grafton has served three years as a Gender and Sexuality Alliance student leader and Harford County Public Schools student mental health council member and outreach leader, and four years as class council vice president. She was also a member of the National Honor Society, the German Honor Society and Voices of Equity, and treasurer of the Dungeons & Dragons Club.

Grafton enhanced her passion for advocacy work through her experience with "some of the most dedicated, passionate teachers and staff in the county." The Aegis caught up with her to learn about her plans and her high school experiences.

Q: How was your experience at Fallston High School?

A: Fallston High School has some of the most dedicated, passionate teachers and staff in the county, and possibly even the state. Fallston students have a lot of school spirit, which makes spirit week and sporting events super fun.

Q: What were some challenges you faced as you headed toward graduation?

A: Of course, there's the obvious: the pandemic. I thrive in a classroom setting, so it was hard trying to participate and stay focused while watching an online lecture. During senior year, the college admissions process was incredibly stressful and time consuming.

I do think a lot of my involvement stayed the same throughout the pandemic. Even though there was a big dip in motivation because of the switch to online, I learned to host virtual meetings for GSA, because I knew a lot of our members needed extra support.

Q: Who helped you the most during this journey and how?

A: My 9th and 12th grade English teacher, Ms. Katie Rizer. I have struggled with social anxiety since middle school, and I wasn't able to speak in front of my class. Ms. Rizer gave me the confidence to present an original TED Talk about anxiety to my 9th grade class. Ever since then, I have loved public speaking. I was so excited to have her again this year for AP English Literature. She even presented me with the English Department award.

Q: What was your motivation to finish school?

A: Most of what I do is for my parents. This may be biased, but they are the best parents in the whole world. They have given up so much for me and have raised my sister and me to be who we are today. I want them to know their hard work paid off!

Q: What's next for you?

A: I am attending Dickinson College in the fall and will double major in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and German. I have always been committed to the empowerment of women and members of the LGBTQ+ community. I hope to continue my advocacy work and educate others about the intersection of gender, race and sexuality.

As for German, it has always been a passion of mine. I have been studying the language since 8th grade. I hope to continue my studies in college and obtain a high level of fluency, study abroad at the University of Bremen for a year and even live in Germany after college. My middle and high school German teachers, Herr Brown and Herr Jones, have inspired my love for the language.