Emily Dart, a homeschooled senior from northeast Phoenix, Arizona, has been named the Phoenix 2011 Outstanding Young Woman of the Year. The 25th Annual Outstanding Young Man and Young Woman of the Year Awards program was sponsored by the City of Phoenix, KNOW99 television, Wells Fargo, Phoenix Rotary 100, and Soroptimist International of Phoenix.
More than one hundred high school students from all eight city council districts applied for the prestigious title. Applicants submitted essays, transcripts, and a letter of recommendation. Then they were interviewed by a panel of representatives from each of the event sponsor organizations. The winners were selected for outstanding community service and commitment to excellence in all areas of their lives.
The fifteen council district winners – along with the teacher who inspired them the most – were recognized in an awards ceremony held on April 25, 2011, at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Phoenix. Each of the district winners was awarded a $250 scholarship. From the fifteen district winners, two overall winners were announced at the event – Outstanding Young Woman of the Year and Outstanding Young Man of the Year – each of whom received an additional $2,000 scholarship. Dart says that she will use the money to pay for tuition at the University of Utah where she plans to study Pre-med. She would like to become a pediatrician.
Emily has been homeschooled in the Phoenix area from kindergarten through 12th grade. Through homeschooling, Emily and her parents were able to create a unique education that focused on her interests and passions. For her high school years, her education oriented towards fulfilling the academic requirements, necessary for admittance into university, in a creative and hands-on manner. This included supplementing textbooks with extra projects, papers, and books; dragging family members to museums while on vacation; and taking classes with co-ops and at Paradise Valley Community College.
Emily says, “Homeschooling through high school has taught me about the importance of self motivation and being accountable to oneself. In my homeschooling experience, I found that it is impossible to have a scape goat, if you will, as the quality of my education and the level of my success has been mostly my responsibility. This, I think, has taught me about pursuing goals, and being willing to sacrifice to achieve those goals; it has also taught me how to look for opportunities and then go for them.”
While a high school junior, Dart started, in cooperation with her older sister, a tie-dye business called DartsArts. The two sisters run the business together, with each of them serving in different capacities. They sell at a farmers market, art walks, online at http://www.etsy.com/shop/DartsArts, and by hosting tie-dye classes and children’s birthday parties. Dart says the business taught her to expand an idea into an opportunity, collaborate with others, and work to achieve a dream.
The teacher named by Emily as one who inspired her the most was Larry Nisula, her homeschool art teacher. “Larry was not only my art teacher for eight years, but he also was an invaluable encouragement when the idea for our tie-dye business was conceived,” explained Emily.
Reflecting upon her award, Emily states, “I think seeing what other people are doing is actually pushing me to do more. It’s inspiring me to be involved in different areas.”
Editor’s Note: Emily’s sister, Susanna, was featured in the June issue of Homeschooling Teen! Read her article here.