Zeai’s Story

Facing Voices of Teenage Girls in South Bend, Indiana, Teens

Zeai sees the world as “an opportunity to be a beacon of light for her generation.” She believes that she has the ability to “see each situation and individual as a chance to touch someone’s life in a positive manner.” She sees life as a “drawing tool.” One she is using to “help sculpt herself into who she wants to become.”

Zeai, at age 16, is the oldest of four siblings. She attends church on a regular basis with her family. She is a sophomore at Adams High School, where she is working towards earning her diploma in International Cultural Studies. She is a member of the Mock Trial team, orchestra, and is a 3rd-year Spanish student. Zeai believes that she does not have the typical life of a teenager and states “my days start quite early beginning with Mock Trial practice at 5:30 am, followed by orchestra, school, homework and chores at home.” Zeai dreams of becoming an anthropologist and describes that “the idea of searching and finding something new that could help to explain how our society has evolved through time and how it has affected our religion on a daily basis is exciting.”

Zeai’s mission is to be a “better person” and “an example to others that there is still good in life and in people.” She believes that most of the generalizations about teens by society are “false.” Zeai described that she has “seen an increase in bullying and other violence” at her school, and that this is a “painful cycle that is continued from one to the next.” She believes that when “a person is insecure or being bullied themselves they often take it out on someone else.” Zeia believes that “a response to violence needs to be made both in our community and in society” and that she would like to see “more parents willing to be involved.”

This story originally appeared in Facing the Future Through the Voices of Teenage Girls, a publication of The Facing Project that was organized by Ivy Tech Community College and the Office of Mayor Pete Buttigieg in South Bend, Indiana.

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