Holly Vogel is passionate about building an accepting community for all people.
During Holly’s junior year at Ridgefield High School, while she was serving as Associated Student Body (ASB) Activities Director, the freshman and sophomore classes nominated special needs students as homecoming prince and princess—as a joke.
Holly took the lead in denouncing their actions. She and the rest of the leadership class decided not to allow the freshman and sophomore classes to have a homecoming court that year.
As Holly says, “Sometimes you have to make a few people angry for them to understand and see the bigger picture.” Ridgefield counselor Monica DeShazer says, “I give Holly all the credit for making that difference.”
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DeShazer adds, “You can see from Holly’s resume that she is extremely involved, committed, academic, and athletic. But what you cannot see is her heart. She is truly one of those special students who grace us only once in a while. We have been so lucky to have had her these last four years—not only to have had her but to have been changed by her leadership and compassion for people.”
During her freshman year, Holly started coaching volleyball for fifth and sixth grade girls and continues to coach them. Through her coaching, she has learned that volleyball and sports “are more than just hitting a ball over a net.”
Holly got involved in volunteering in her sophomore year when she joined school clubs. When she realized how much she was enjoying it, she decided to do even more. “Once you start seeing how you can affect other people, you can’t turn back,” she says.
As activities director, Holly organized various events including homecoming, dances, the Mr. Ridgefield contest, and the Spudder Olympics. According to Mock Trial Program Advisor Robert Ford, “The events she planned were well-organized, well-received by the student body, and a great success.”
Since her sophomore year, Holly has also given back to her school and community by serving as a mentor to freshmen. DeShazer says, “She consistently connects with freshmen and it is obvious that her mentees adore her. I can always count on Holly…to give me feedback on the efficacy of the program.”
For the past three years, Holly has also been mentoring an elementary school student who is facing life challenges. Holly makes time for them to eat lunch and play games together.
All of Holly’s activities are aimed at making a positive difference in people’s lives. “Every time I join a club or try something new, I want it to be for a reason,” she said. “Even if that reason is as small as making a little girl smile when she’s having a bad day or standing up to bullies who think it’s okay to pick on someone different from you…everything I do is for a reason.”