As a senior at West Forsyth High School, Janie Peterson keeps a full schedule packed with academics, volunteer work, sports, and hobbies. As the president of West Forsyth High School’s Mindfulness and Meditation Club, Janie has learned helpful techniques for staying grounded and managing stress and anxiety. After working her way up from a charter member and student government representative to now president, Janie and her fellow club members enjoy visiting students at Southwest Elementary School to teach fourth graders about mindfulness and coping mechanisms. Although it may seem as though fourth graders don’t grapple with the typical stressors of a busy adult, Janie believes it is much better to be proactive than reactive when it comes to teaching children how to cope with life’s ups and downs, especially following an uptick in mental health problems throughout society over the last couple of years.
In addition to spearheading the Mindfulness and Meditation Club, Janie has also taken initiative during her second year as a member of West Forsyth’s Key Club by asking her fellow club members to donate food and hygiene items to fill blessing boxes located near churches throughout the Winston-Salem area. Individuals are able to retrieve items from the boxes whenever they find themselves in need. In the past, Janie and her fellow Key Club members collected over 600 items to fill the boxes, and continue to ask for donations on a regular basis.
After a scheduling conflict left Janie with no choice but to register for her school’s newspaper class during her junior year, she was surprised to find that writing for the newspaper became one of her favorite activities in high school. She is currently a sports editor and a writer for the Clemmons Courier, where she is able to spread the word about volunteer work and nonprofit organizations in the Clemmons community. With her newfound love of journalism, she admires winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and would be honored to have the opportunity to be awarded the prize herself in the future.
Janie has participated in varsity cross-country, indoor track, and outdoor track throughout all four years of her high school career. She enjoys running-based sports because they allow her to communicate and bond with her teammates, especially during long-distance runs. After being named a Morehead-Cain Scholarship finalist, Janie has set her sights on attending UNC-Chapel Hill after high school, and will likely pursue a pre-med academic track. She intends to continue pursing volunteer work, educating others about mindfulness, and pursuing her passion of journalism throughout her college career.
Outside of academics, philanthropy, and athletics, Janie spends her free time enjoying her love of music and attending concerts, with one of her favorite bands being the Red Hot Chili Peppers. When Janie was in the first grade, she started taking piano lessons, which she continues taking over a decade later. Because she and her piano teacher, Mrs. Donna Cartner, have grown such a strong bond over the years, what it supposed to be a 30-minute lesson often turns into an hour-long lesson full of friendship and laughter.
One of Janie’s favorite local Triad spots is The Loop Pizza Grill, with her favorite menu item being the goat cheese salad (and french fries, of course). As for her travel aspirations, Janie hopes to one-day travel to Cambodia – but not just for leisure. After her AP Language and Composition teacher, Mr. Andrew Serang, educated her class about the country’s problem with rape and sexual assault, in addition to Cambodian women not receiving the justice they deserve, he also taught students that Cambodian citizens developed a method of self-defense designed for smaller women in particular to help them combat attackers. Inspired by Mr. Serang, Janie hopes to travel to Cambodia to take the self-defense class herself and learn about the country’s history and culture.