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Helping, ‘in any way I’m able to’

Your Dream is Our Dream: Savanna Maki

Cedar Springs — Savanna Maki is a senior at Cedar Springs High School, where she is the executive president of the Student Council, a member of the basketball team and secretary of the CSHS chapter of the National Honor Society. 

What is your dream? Savanna dreams of becoming a writer, both as an advocacy/policy writer and as a published fiction author. To accomplish this, her goal is to attend a college or university “where I learn everything I can about anything I can get my hands on, and where I’m pushed to make goals that are hard to get,” she said.

More than anything, Savanna wants to make an impact on the world with her work — and she sees writing as the best way to make that happen.

“Books have had a big impact on me throughout my life — poetry, fiction, non-fiction and more. I want to be able to contribute to that little pile of knowledge and give other people the possibility of seeing themselves in my writing.

“I’m also looking at working in political outreach, with public speaking, activism and policy writing, to make an impact that way — something that might be more measurable. I want to make sure I’m helping people in any way I’m able to.”

Why is this your dream? “I feel that I’m in a place of privilege, with my family, how I was raised and with the school I’m at, and there are plenty of people who do not have that kind of privilege or who may not have access to a pathway to fix things for themselves and for others. Since I do have that, I want to use it in whatever way I can to help.”

Savanna says she’s felt this way for several years, or “ever since I was conscious of what’s going on and the way things work in the world.”

“One of my friends came out to me a couple of years ago and we talked about her experiences and the way she was treated in the world. And since then, I’ve had friends tell me similar stories about their experiences. 

“I also started watching the news during the 2016 election, so I was seeing what was going on everywhere and was like, ‘I don’t like that, and I’d like to change it.’” 

How are school and your teachers helping you achieve your dream? “Everyone (at CSHS) is so supportive; they reach out to you, they connect with you outside of class. The teachers talk to everyone to ask about how they are emotionally, how they’re doing with schoolwork (and) how they’re doing in their personal lives. They’re making sure you’re where you should be to succeed in the future. 

“Just this morning, I saw our assistant principal, Mr. (Eddie) Johns, and he was like, ‘I have an essay (contest) opportunity that you might be interested in.’ He gave me the flier and offered to lend me some books that could help. And that’s the kind of thing you see every day here. It’s the support and a structure that lifts you up, teaches what you need to succeed and lets you know that you can succeed.”

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Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell
Beth Heinen Bell is a reporter (covering Cedar Springs, Grandville, Lowell and Rockford), editor, copy editor and social media manager. She is an award-winning journalist who got her start as the education reporter for the Grand Haven Tribune. A Calvin University graduate, she later returned to Calvin to help manage its national writing festival. Beth has also written for The Grand Rapids Press, Fox 17 and several West Michigan businesses and nonprofits. She is fascinated by the nuances of language, loves to travel and has strong feelings about the Oxford comma. Read Beth's full bio

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