Shelley represents ‘all that is right about teenagers’

Just when a parent thinks his or her child does not have a chance to avoid the negative influences of our culture, someone like Vickie Shelley comes along and restores hope in today’s youth.

Shelley, a recent graduate of Cardinal Newman High School in Columbia, will be attending Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. Her star performance on the basketball and volleyball court in her senior year resulted in winning seasons, but it was academic achievements that were responsible for her college scholarship from the Lexington Medical Center Foundation.

“She represents all that is right about teenagers,” said Jim McIntyre, the principal of Cardinal Newman. “We sometimes do not give teenagers enough credit; young people like Vickie have such a positive attitude, seeing problems more like challenges. She has a character and dignity that everyone should model.”

Vickie is a teen presenter for Family Honor, a national organization that presents family-centered chastity programs. She has been a teen presenter since ninth grade and looks forward to traveling whenever she can break away from college to continue to spread this powerful message of love.

“Vickie has great leadership skills and commands the respect of both peers and adults,” said Ann Nerbun, Family Honor Program Director. “She is able to speak up and speak out on her ideas and beliefs in a respectful and convincing manner.”

One might think that Vickie may receive some criticism from her peers for her vocal stand on chastity, but she said that most youth are genuinely interested in this message that emphasizes the dignity of the human person.

“I don’t go around preaching about it at my school. If it comes up in conversation, and someone asks my opinion, I tell them the truth,” said the youth.

Vickie also finds time to work at her family’s store, Special Minds, which provides resources for individuals with learning, emotional and behavior issues like ADD, autism and dyslexia.

Vickie’s brother Paul suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, a type of autism, and when her parents found few resources available in Columbia, they decided to open a store. It has become more of a ministry than a business for the family.

“Paul has made me become a more patient person. I try to see what his world is like so I can be more understanding,” Vickie said.

Vickie may appear to be a typical teenager, but she is far from average. In all her activities she puts forth great effort, and with a positive attitude she makes living the Christian life with its challenges look easy.

“I consider myself blessed with my faith, my friends and a good relationship with my parents,” she said.