"Accomplish Whatever You Put Your Mind To"
Seventeen-year-old artist, Cassandra Charles, born in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, is a beautiful example of strength and transformation in a teenage girl. She may be young, but she knows who she is as well as who she wants to be, and she’s willing to put in the necessary work to become that person. Ultimately, she’s living a life that she hopes will paint her as an exceptional woman known and respected as an overcomer.
When she was only in kindergarten, Cassandra’s artwork was deemed remarkable enough to be showcased on her local nightly news. Her talent was recognized again in the seventh grade when she won not one but two awards for a 9/11 art piece, which was also displayed in a local Florida newspaper. Though she isn’t necessarily pursuing a career as an artist, she’d like to put her creative mind to work with a career in either civil engineering or marketing.
Charles got her first taste of perseverance in the sixth grade when she missed out on her end-of-the-year school trip because she was failing a subject. Lucky for her, her teacher was graceful enough to allow her to do extra credit, but the pressure was on her to haul that grade up. And not only did she do that, but she began to drag up the others as well, landing her a spot on the honor roll.
Today, Cassandra is headed toward the finish line of her twelfth-grade experience, carefully pacing herself so that she’ll be able to push through to the end. As a matter of fact, she considers her persistence to be one of her greatest achievements, the cherry on top being that she’s struggled with alopecia since the beginning of her high school career. (She describes the moment that she found out she had it as the worst of her childhood, along with the realization that her parents were separating.) Still, Charles claimed a spot in the National Honors Society, became a tutor, and served in the Student Government Association.
Traits like shyness, self-criticism, and lack of confidence hinder Cassandra from reaching her full potential, but just as she’s tackled obstacles head on in the past, she’ll continue to do so. She believes that the greatest and most important lesson she’s learned and can share with the world is that you truly can accomplish whatever you put your mind to, no matter how impossible it feels. Your goal may seem larger than life itself, but if you commit yourself to it, you can and will achieve it.