Teen of the Week: Busy 13-year-old loves pageants, helping others

Shelby Anderson is a St. Mary Catholic student who has serious ambitions in life. Though she is only 13, Anderson has been crowned queen, rescued kitties, cooked for children in Ronald McDonald House and aspires to possibly be a Supreme Court Justice. On top of all that keeping her busy, Shelby is a grounded teen who also enjoys spending time with her family, including twin sister, Abby.

Question: Tell me a little bit about a typical day in your life.

Answer: A typical weekday in my life is usually made up of school, dance class or sports practice depending on the season, dinner with my family and homework. On the weekends, we are typically in the car going to dance rehearsals and then a volunteer activity or pageant appearance somewhere in West Virginia.

Q: How did you become involved in pageants? What do you like about them?

A: I had wanted to try pageants since I was a little girl. I loved the idea of getting dressed up in fancy gowns and being on a stage. I bugged my mom for years to let me do them and we have really learned what it’s like together. I found out that it’s much more than just dressing up and being on stage. I learned that pageants involve public speaking, community service, interview skills and working with all kinds of people. I can use these skills later in life also. What I like about pageants is the many new friends I have made and the volunteer work that I get to do. Everyone is always so friendly and it has been nothing like “Toddlers and Tiaras” for us so far.

Q: Are you and your twin sister Abby identical or fraternal? What’s the coolest thing about being a twin? What’s the most annoying?

A: We are fraternal twins. The coolest thing about being a twin is always having a friend. In fact, we do most of our volunteer work together. The most annoying thing is that we always say things at the same time; it’s cool but we both get annoyed with it.

Q: You maintain an “A” average while being involved in a lot of activities — how do you manage it all?

A: Getting good grades is very important to me. At my house we have always made it a point to sit down and do our homework right when we get home, unless if we have an extracurricular activity. My parents are supportive and always there to help me study for a test or if I need any help with homework. I think being an avid reader helps, too.

Q: Tell me about the experience of volunteering at Ronald McDonald House in Charleston recently. What did you do? How did it make you feel?

A: At the Ronald McDonald House, I made dinner for the families staying there with other pageant queens from across West Virginia. We toured the house and talked to a young man staying there whose sister was in the hospital next door. I learned more about what the Ronald McDonald House does to help the families of sick children. Volunteering there was an eye-opening experience because I have never known anyone personally that has a childhood disease and it made me want to come back and volunteer again. It also made me thankful for mine and my sister’s good health.

Q: This weekend you are volunteering to do Save a Kitty at Pet Supplies Plus in Vienna. Do you have any pets? Why is helping animals important to you?

A: I have two rescue cats named Gray and Whiskers. We rescued both of them and we also take care of several stray cats in our neighborhood that have been dropped off or abandoned. We work with Save a Kitty to have all of the stray cats spayed or neutered. Helping animals is important to me because I think every animal deserves to have a loving home.

Q: What are some of your favorite things — books, movies, TV shows, songs?

A: I do not have a favorite book because I love most of the books I read and can’t choose. Some of my favorite authors are J.K. Rowling and Veronica Roth. My favorite TV shows include Food Network cooking shows, reality TV shows like “Project Runway” and the “X Factor.” My favorite movie that came out recently was “Everything, Everything”. I mostly listen to pop music and my favorite artists are Maroon 5, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran.

Q: Have you given any thought to what you might do in the future? Will you make sure volunteering is something you continue to do?

A: There are so many career paths I am looking at and I’m really just trying to narrow down what I would like to do: Teaching, dancing, fashion design — being a Supreme Court Justice. I will most definitely continue volunteering and I would love to go on a mission trip to a third world country when I get older, but for now I will keep doing volunteer activities locally with organizations like Save a Kitty and the American Cancer Society.

Erin O’Neill conducted this interview.If you would like to nominate an outstanding teen for Teen of the Week, email news@mariettatimes.com.

Shelby Anderson

¯ Age: 13.

¯ Grade: 8.

¯ School: St. Mary Catholic School, Marietta.

¯ Family: Mom, Kelly; dad, Rob; twin sister, Abby; cats Whiskers and Gray.

¯ Extracurricular activities: Dance, volleyball, student council, pageants (2017 Mid-Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival Teen and 2017 WV WinterFest Teen), volunteering.

¯ Future plans: I plan to attend Parkersburg South High School next year and then go to college after I graduate high school. I’m not sure what career path I’d like to take but I know that I want to make a difference in this world.