November 2023 Student of the Month
Maimouna "Mouna" Toure
From the tender years of childhood, Mouna has been shaped by the nurturing embrace of her family, “Growing up, my family was relatively small. For the first few years of my life, it was me, my mom, my little brother, and my dad. Over time, my family grew into what it is now. I have nine siblings, five awesome parents, and a niece on the way. Without my family being as big as it is, I would have never been able to experience the delight of sliding down mud piles with my brothers, watching movies with my sisters, and acting as the audience to my baby brother’s spiderman performances. Furthermore, nothing I have done would be possible without my mom in my corner. She has shown me strength during storms and love even when she only felt pain. She is my biggest supporter, and to her I say: “Love you forever.””
Within the walls of Royalton schools, Mouna discovered her fervor for creativity through Drama class, “Freshman year, I took a class called Drama Production. This class was without a doubt my favorite class because it allowed me to be creative and see what it is like to work behind the scenes in the theater. We did many projects that enriched our everyday skills as well. Between sewing, building various contraptions, and working with a group of people I normally wouldn’t have had classes with, Drama Production set me up for so much more than just getting my high school diploma.”
The path to self-improvement was illuminated by several guiding lights—the remarkable teachers who left an indelible mark on Mouna’s heart and mind. “Most people don’t remember that one teacher that paved the path for them to be their best selves. Fortunately, I often see and think about the teachers who have made me a better student, worker, and person. In third grade, my teacher Mrs. Shelley Baumgartener showed me how to be a quick thinker and how to properly organize a messy room. She also was a joy to listen to and be around. I truly think she will forever have an impact on how I go about school, and I am thankful she was my teacher.
In middle school, I had two teachers who I am blessed to see every day; Mrs. Schreifels and Mrs. Omvig. Mrs. Schreifels always has a smile on her face and will always be ready to compliment you. Even after several years of not having her as a teacher, she continues to ask how I’m doing. Not only this, but she knows when you are down and is always willing to stop in the middle of her day to make sure you’re okay. She taught me how to write creatively and have fun. I can honestly say that I don’t know what I am going to do without her. Mrs. Omvig was my science teacher and Student Council Advisor for a couple of years. During class she would always let me chat her ear off (after I finished my work) and she still lets me bother her with my life updates. She is my go-to person whenever I need something, and for that I am forever grateful.”
Mr. Albright is my favorite high school teacher. Last year was his first year at the school, so I was nervous to have a new instructor. However, Mr. Albright was awesome to have as an educator. He is inviting and cares about how his students are doing academically and socially. Though he is no longer my teacher, I work with him as a manager of the Boys Basketball team; so, I still get to listen to his advice and have his support outside of the classroom. Working with him will be one of the most memorable parts of high school.
Beyond academics, Mouna immersed herself in a myriad of activities, from Student Council to Speech, Drama, and Yearbook. Each engagement provided unique opportunities for growth, leadership, and the formation of lifelong connections. Drama, in particular, held a special place in her heart, igniting a passion for the arts that continues to burn brightly.
However, their commitment to making a difference extended beyond school walls. Actively involved in her church's youth group and serving as the lead singer in the Youth Band, Mouna cherishes the moments when music becomes a conduit for emotional solace and connection, continuing the legacy of her late stepfather.
Reflecting on her high school journey, Mouna reminisces about the unforgettable experience of attending the National Leadership Conference for Business Professionals of America in California. “Flying to California last year and attending the National Leadership Conference for Business Professionals of America is one of my most vivid memories from high school. Joining such a high performing activity as a Junior was an exhilarating experience. I remember thinking at the start of the year that I would join just for fun and to see how far I could go with it. Turns out the farthest you could go was the NLC in Anaheim, California. Hearing my name announced at State as one of two competitors advancing to NLC was unexpected but truly rewarding. Starting out the year nervous about even moving past Regions then meeting people from all over the nation in California, was nothing like I could have ever imagined. Spending the conference with a hodgepodge group of talented people was a bonus as well.”
Yet, perhaps Mouna’s most impactful involvement was with the Royal Ambassador Program, where they found inspiration and humility in working alongside a determined peer, learning valuable lessons of perseverance and adaptability, “Last year, our school started the Royal Ambassador Program. This program was created to pair students who may need homework help or just someone to spend time with. I was paired with a student who whenever I meet with him, just blows me out of the water with his hard-working mentality. We usually meet to work on math homework (it is important to note that math is my least favorite subject), and he will find the solution to a problem ten times quicker than anyone I know. It is really cool to see him do so. I couldn’t imagine not working with him. He has taught me a lot about slowing down and seeing what is in front of you, and going out of your comfort zone to work with new people.”
Looking ahead, Mouna is resolute in her ambition to pursue Forensic Science, fueled by a fascination nurtured in childhood and a desire to serve as a Crime Scene Investigator for the FBI, “Forensic Science is something I have wanted to make a career out of for a while now. Peeking out behind the recliner in the living room of our old apartment (after my little brother and I were tucked in and supposed to be sleeping), and sneakily watching shows like Criminal Minds, is one of the instances that inspired me to pursue a career in Forensics. I have not committed to a college yet, but I am certain wherever I go will be beneficial for my education.”
When asked where she sees herself in ten years Mouna said this, “Down the line, I dream of working for the FBI. It is sort of a silly dream, but my ultimate goal is to work as one of the top Crime Scene Investigators in the country. This plan is important to me because it reminds me of what one of the figureheads from my childhood said, “Fairytales can come true. You gotta make 'em happen, it all depends on you.” Was this said by Princess Tiana, the best Disney Princess ever? Yes, but it is something that has remained at the forefront of my mind as I set my life goals.”
As for advice for freshmen, Mouna had these words of wisdom, “Honesty, help, and hard work are the foundation of being successful. Hard work comes from learning, so it is important to hold yourself accountable and finish what you start. It is also crucial to be honest with yourself, and if at any point you are unsure of something, ask for help. Starting this your first year of high school is imperative because as a freshman you are forming how you create relationships, develop a healthy work ethic, and maintain study habits.”