Born and raised in Minnesota, Ava is a high school senior from the suburbs of Saint Paul. Music runs in her blood, and she has been playing the guitar, singing, and songwriting for the past 8 years. She enjoys performing in varsity show choir and musical theater and will attend college to major in the performing arts and journalism.
Ava is a member of S.O.A.R. & Link Crew student leadership groups, Student Council, DECA, "A" Honor Roll, and the National Honor Society. A member of the lacrosse and dance teams, Ava joined the high school swim team as a 7th grader and has earned 3 varsity letters since. Ava was one of 36 high school juniors to receive the prestigious 2022 ExCEL award from the MN State High School League for excellence in academics, leadership, and volunteerism.
Community service plays an important role in Ava’s life. A third-year Student Advisory Board member for PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, Ava presents her program “Ava’s Army Buddy Bandanas” to local elementary schools where she gives children a specially designed bandana to tie onto their backpacks as a visual reminder to always be kind. In addition, Ava and her childhood best friend Erica placed as 1st runner-up for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s “Student of the Year” program, raising $85,772 in 7 weeks for blood cancer research. Ava also enjoys working with various animal rescue groups promoting pet adoption and has been a "Top Walker" (raising $1000+ per year) for the Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals for the past seven years.
A self-professed Star Wars geek and "expert" turkey caller, Ava
does a mean Mickey Mouse impression and speaks a secret language called "OB." She is obsessed with Dolly Parton and says she hopes to follow in Dolly's footsteps some day. Ava loves to travel (34 countries from Albania to Zimbabwe) and downhill ski in her spare time.
After having cruel petitions and Instagram posts made about her to an upperclassmen she didn't even know telling her to kill herself, Ava has seen it all when it comes to bullying. Ava decided to turn her pain into purpose by serving as a third-year Youth Advisory Board member for PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center (the nation’s largest anti-bullying organization located right in her home state of Minnesota). She attends monthly meetings and brainstorming sessions to plan events such as the Unity Awards, the Run/Walk/Roll Against Bullying fundraiser, Unity Day, and much more. Ava has created online videos and social media content for NBPC and is excited about the progress they are making in combating the bullying epidemic. Last summer, Ava 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 her essay about her personal experiences with bullying. By sharing her story, she hopes that others will know they are not alone.
Ava created her "Ava's Army" Buddy Bandana program, where she gives elementary-aged students bandanas to tie on their backpacks as a visual reminder to always be kind. Ava says her ultimate goal is to continue her partnership with PACER by expanding her Buddy Bandana program on a national level. Ava believes everyone has the right to grow up in a world free from bullying.