Hi everyone! I’m Ava Ernst...thanks for visiting my website! I'm a musical theater buff, singer/songwriter, guitarist, competitive swimmer, skier, lacrosse player, anti-bullying advocate, animal lover, and a self-professed Star Wars geek! I am an honor roll student and my favorite subject is History. I joined the high school swim team as a 7th grader and have earned three varsity letters. I also enjoy playing lacrosse and being a member of LINK Crew and DECA. I've also served on Student Council, Youth in Government, and was on the dance team my freshman year.
FUN FACTS: I am a professional turkey caller, do a mean Mickey Mouse impression, and speak a secret language called "OBB." I love to travel and have visited 29 countries from Russia to Zimbabwe! I'm obsessed with Dolly Parton and hope to follow in her footsteps some day. Since I was a little girl, I've loved all things Star Wars and I even have a "real" lightsaber in my collection of memorabilia.
Music really makes my heart sing. A third-generation guitarist and vocalist, I love performing at various events and talent competitions across the country. I especially love songwriting and am planning on recording my first demo of original songs in the near future.
I LOVE musical theater. Most recently, I played the lead role of Mary Poppins in my school musical and I've also had roles in Legally Blonde and Dear Edwina. This year, I joined my high school's national recognized varsity show choir "Company of Singers." Although things looked very different this year due to COVID, it has been an amazing experience getting to be part of such an incredible group of performers.
After having cruel petitions and Instagram posts made about me to an upperclassmen I didn't even know telling me to kill myself, I've seen it all when it comes to bullying. I decided to turn my pain into purpose by serving as a second-year Youth Advisory Board member for PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center (the nation’s largest anti-bullying organization located right in my home state of Minnesota). We have monthly meetings and brainstorming sessions to plan things like the Unity Awards, the Run/Walk/Roll Against Bullying event, Unity Day, and much more. I have created online videos and social media content for NBPC and am excited about the progress we are making in combating the bullying epidemic. This summer, I was honored to be the very first recipient of the Sophie Pittman B.R.A.V.E. (Building Respect & Values for Everyone) Essay Contest for my essay entry about my personal experiences with bullying. I hope that by sharing my story, others will know they are not alone.
I recently started my "Ava's Army" Buddy Bandana program, where I give students bandanas to tie on their backpacks as a symbol of their commitment to kindness. My ultimate goal is to continue my partnership with PACER by expanding my Buddy Bandana program on a national level. I believe everyone has the right to grow up in a world free from bullying.
From a young age, my family instilled a love of animals in me. Over the years, we have adopted a number of rescue pets, including a 13-year-old black lab whose owner had died (Bear), a 3-legged tabby cat (Tippy), a sweet basset hound with terminal nasal cancer (Sam), and a VERY sassy feral cat named Crackers (who now thankfully has mellowed out). This inspired me to create my pet rescue program "Don't Shop - ADOPT" which encourages pet rescue instead of buying from a pet store.
Over past six years, I have volunteered 250+ hours with organizations such as the Animal Humane Society, Underdog Rescue, and Secondhand Hounds. I am a 4-time “Top Walker” after personally raising over $5,600 for the Walk for Animals and volunteer frequently for “Project Purpose” making animal enrichment items. I have organized numerous pet bed donation drives and volunteer yearly at the annual Underdog Rescue gala selling dog treats. However, my favorite way to volunteer is in the Puppy Pen where I not only control who enters the pen, but also am a spokesperson educating attendees about the importance of pet rescue.
I believe we have a moral responsibility to create a more compassionate world for animals. Saving one pet won't change the world, but for that one pet, their world will change forever!