Riley Rosi rose above difficult personal circumstances to demonstrate not only academic success but also a desire to make a difference. She’s been described as a hardworking, creative and ambitious individual who wants to be part of something greater than herself.
Confined to a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy, Rosi started out as a quiet student in high school. Since transferring to Peninsula High School in her junior year, however, she has become involved in student life and has discovered her voice.
It was a challenging journey — at age 16, Rosi lost her mother to cancer. Her mother had been her advocate, and Rosi had to learn how to advocate for herself.
“Riley… was forced to find her own voice. It has been an honor to witness this awakening,” says Julie Bruey, her English teacher. “She is a leader who has chosen to overcome many obstacles in her path.”
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Rosi says one of the things that helped her find that voice — as well as become involved at school — was her involvement with the Peninsula High’s Outlook newspaper.
“I like writing because it helps me organize my thoughts,” she says.
She won a national journalism award for an article she wrote about a Tacoma power soccer team.
“I played power soccer in third grade, so I could relate to it,” she says.
Rosi enjoys working with children, and for the past six years, she has been teaching Sunday school at her church. She’s also been volunteering for children’s activities at the Pierce County Library, as well as at Tacoma Rescue Mission.
“I’ve been taught that if you’re willing to help other people, good things will come to you and you should do it out of the kindness of your heart,” she says.
Rosi says she has matured a lot in high school, especially improving her communication skills with peers.
“I finally feel like I fit with the student body,” she says.
Maintaining an excellent GPA has been important to Rosi.
“I want to succeed in school,” she says of her academic success. “Sometimes I work ahead because I want to stay on top of everything.”
She says she was motivated to overcome adversity through prayer, as well as knowing her mother would be proud of her.
“Due to her unique insight and strong sense of self, she has earned the respect of her peers and teachers,” Bruey says.
Rosi plans to attend Tacoma Community College and then transfer into a four-year journalism program. Her dream is to write for a fashion magazine.
Category: Overcoming Adversity
Education: Senior, Peninsula High School
Parent: Michelle Luckey Activities/Achievements: National Honors Society, Best of SNO newspaper article award, Sunday School teacher, Pierce County Library volunteer, Outlook staff member, volunteer for Tacoma Rescue Mission, Students Together Against Cancer
Favorite teacher: Cynthia Wilde, math, and Julie Bruey, creative writing. “They have always showed how much they care and are always willing to go the extra step to help me.”
Best thing about high school: “I love being on the Peninsula High School Outlook newspaper staff. It is my passion and I feel accepted and good about what I do.”