Kira Shoemaker, a senior at Chesapeake High School, was one of the five finalists for the Severna Park Kiwanis Teenager of the Year award.
As one of the five finalists, Shoemaker received a scholarship to put toward higher education. Teenagers of the Year are chosen based on their community service, character, academics and leadership.
“If other people my age see me or see someone else, as I am, out in their community changing the community in such a positive way, I hope that not only can I make an impact on the community itself but also other people my age,” Shoemaker said.
Ann Carlson, a social studies teacher and Key Club adviser at CHS, nominated Shoemaker for the award.
“Kira has blossomed throughout her high school career, showing that she is a wonderful, bright student who gives freely her time to help others less fortunate than she,” Carlson said.
As president of her school’s Key Club, Shoemaker is active in the community. She volunteers at elementary schools, and she interns with a second-grade class at Bodkin Elementary. She has welcomed troops home at the airport. She volunteers in soup kitchens and homeless shelters in Baltimore. She’s made socks and cards for cancer patients. She goes to local nursing homes to play games with the residents.
Shoemaker also volunteers during the Kiwanis’ annual apple sale. Across a few weekends, the Kiwanis Club sells apples to raise money for the Teenager of the Year scholarship and other operating costs.
“I definitely dedicated my time to service and bettering my community and the greater community,” Shoemaker said. “I was honored to be a part of that club and be part of the Kiwanis Teenager of the Year this year.”
For Shoemaker, giving back is personal. Growing up in Ohio, Shoemaker was the youngest of five siblings being raised by a single parent. Without much money, her family relied upon similar organizations to provide daily meals, Christmas presents and clothes.
“Now that I am in a different situation, I am able to be a part of the [group of] people who loved me and helped me so much. It’s really humbling,” Shoemaker said. “I can work with the families who are in the same situation as I was and make them feel like it’s OK and they’re supported.”
One of Shoemaker’s favorite experiences giving back was with her church during Christmas. She bought presents for families and then mingled with everyone at a Christmas party.
“That was my favorite part because I could work one-on-one with the kids, and I could really tell it was making a difference in their lives,” Shoemaker said.
Now, Shoemaker is heading to Loyola University Maryland. She wants to study communication sciences for speech-language pathology and eventually work in early intervention.
“This recognition means I’ve left my legacy in my community,” Shoemaker said. “Not really left it, but I’ve begun it.”