Taylor Decker is having a great year, not to mention a great life. She graduated from Whitesboro High School in June, was selected as one of 30 Observer-Dispatch Teen All-Stars and is headed to Argentina this summer to work with poor children. She thanks God for everything in her life and for giving her a purpose. “God has everything to do with who and where I am in my life today. I know that he put me here for the purpose of helping others, and making a positive difference in this world.”
You graduated from Whitesboro High School in June. What were your high school years like?
My four years at Whitesboro passed by so quickly! I was very involved in sports and was a scholar athlete and captain of the Nordic ski team and cross-country team. I played the violin in our orchestra and sang in three different choirs. I was in the National Honor Society, multiple clubs and volunteered three hours a week at the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees. I also worked a part-time job, so I was always busy when I wasn’t studying for my classes – this made my time in high school exciting and very rewarding.
You finished near the top of your class and were chosen an Observer-Dispatch Teen All-Star. Do you feel proud of yourself or do you only consider it a first big step in life?
I do feel honored to have received recognition as an Observer-Dispatch Teen All-Star among so many other students who have accomplished amazing things. I know that this is the first of many great things in my life, and it shows how hard work and dedication can really pay off.
You’ve grown up the youngest of three girls in the family. Did your sisters pick on you or were they helpful growing up?
My sisters were always helpful as I was growing up. I do not know if I would have been so involved in school without them setting such positive examples for me.
With four women in the house, how did your father survive?
I think it was easy for my father to handle having four women in the house because he raised my sisters and I do enjoy the same things he does and we really appreciate him for that.
You’ve been a parishioner of Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament all your life. What does the parish mean to you?
The Mount Carmel / Blessed Sacrament Parish means more to me than anything in this world. I was baptized, received my First Communion and was Confirmed in this church. I was an altar server and a lector and hope to one day get married here as well. The community has helped me really grow in my faith, and has shaped me as a person. I know, or at least recognize, so many people at church on Sundays and this parish truly feels like a family to me. I will be attending college in Virginia and will really miss Sunday Mass here with my family.
How has God fit in with your life so far and how do you hope he figures in your future?
God has everything to do with who and where I am in my life today. I know that he put me here for the purpose of helping others, and making a positive difference in this world. Volunteering is so important to me, and I know that now and in the future I will continue to do that which God has called me to do.
You’re going to Argentina this summer to work with poor children? Why do you want to do that and give up the last summer before college?
This trip to Argentina is just the beginning of my personal mission to help other people in this world. Giving up my summer for the kids could make a world of a difference for them, and the possibility of positively affecting even one child is worth everything to me. Staying home all summer would be a waste of the time which God has given me to do something great.
Why is helping other people so important?
I feel that helping other people is important because one day I may need help from others. Not everyone has the benefits of a family that loves them and is able to care for them. We all need to give a little of our time and talents to help each other and I believe that is how we can achieve peace in our world.
If you could pick one person in your life that has influenced you the most, who would it be?
My mother and father both have influenced me. My mother gave me the strength to follow through on my crazy dreams and my father has, at the same time, brought me back down to earth.
What’s the best advice anyone has ever given to you?
Many people in my life have told me that if you spend your whole life doing something you love, you will never work a day in your life. This is so important because life is meant to be enjoyed, and I hope everyone has the chance to do the one thing they were born to do.
If you could give a young lady a piece of advice, what would it be?
My advice to young girls would be don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe and respect yourself. People will respect you more for staying loyal to your beliefs, and it will change your life when standing up for what you believe in begins helping those around you.
Family: Parents Anne and Timothy Decker, sisters Morgan and Erin.
Education: Graduated from Whitesboro High School in June, plans to double major in psychology and Spanish at Lynchburg College in Virginia.
Activities: Cross-country, Nordic skiing, singing.
Favorite music genre: Country.
Last book read: “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley.
Career goal: Post-secondary foreign language professor.
Favorite quote: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi