‘Always be true to yourself’

Taylor Gray ready to take lessons she’s learned, her trust in God into the future

At the tender age of 17, Taylor Gray has squeezed a lot out of life. The high school senior has enjoyed and learned life lessons from dancing, has shared and learned more about her faith by traveling to Notre Dame University and she is ready for the future as she heads off to college later this year.

You’ve been a dancer for a number of years. What are the lessons you learned from that discipline?

With hard work and dedication you can excel in just about anything.

You’re finishing your high school years. What has that been like?

You begin to realize you are leaving many friends and family shortly. It’s bittersweet in many ways, but I am ready to move on.

You’ve been accepted at SUNY Canton and will be leaving home. Are you excited, scared, both?

I am more excited than scared. I am looking forward to making new friends and living in a college setting.

What lessons have you learned from your parents that will carry on when you are away from home?

Always be true to yourself and make sure you find a little humor in every day.

You plan to study funeral administration. How did you become interested in that?

During a Health Careers class, I was exposed to a gross anatomy lab on a field trip to Upstate Medical Center. It was then that I became interested in autopsies and began exploring careers in the mortuary science career field. I hope that exploring this in college leads me into the medical examiner or forensic pathology fields.

Those of us who have been parishioners for a number of years feel a close connection to our parish. At your young age, do you feel the same?

Absolutely. Especially when it came to the support I have been given from all our parishioners on my fundraising and trip to Notre Dame Vision.

What was that like and what did you learn from it?

Notre Dame University has been a place where I’ve connected with so many people that are proud of their faith. The speakers really helped me to understand that during high school, a lot of labels can be given to you. With the support of God, teens can break out of these with more self-confidence. Your spiritual community and true friends will always be there for you. I also find that when I am in Mass, I have a deeper understanding of the importance of my personal relationship with God.

How would you describe that relationship?

Attending Notre Dame Vision made me realize how to reflect and absorb so much more of my relationship with God. I have found a way to pray to him on a more personal level which I didn’t understand before.

Is it difficult being a teenager and following the teachings of the church?

Not really, when you have true faith in God.

What advice would you give your friends about the importance of faith?

Don’t let anyone change your outlook on faith. Do not follow peer pressure, but look for positive people to surround you with good values and faith will always be there.

What do you hope the future holds for Taylor Gray?

First, I hope to do well in college. I know that no matter what, my friends in my parish will always support me, no matter what the future brings for me.

TAYLOR GRAY
Age:
17
School: Thomas R. Proctor High School.
Grade: Senior.
Family: Father Jim, mother Christine, brother Steve, 19.
Favorite movie: “Frozen.”
Favorite TV shows: “Walking Dead,” “Pretty Little Liars.”
Favorite music artist: Luke Bryan.
Things you like to do in your spare time: Dancing, hanging with friends.