Big on Respect,
Small on Judgment
Baily suffers from no such hang-up. When asked how she would characterize her time at Meridian 20 years from now, she doesn't hesitate: “I was one of the kids who made a difference in the school. I was one of the kids who went above and beyond for other kids who couldn’t get out of their comfort zone.”
She would know a thing or two about comfort zones and escaping them. It wouldn’t be a stretch to call her an “escape artist” when helping other students become more comfortable with the unfamiliar. As FFA president, she’s determined to show everyone that FFA has more personality than “all country kids.” “I try to get just anybody, really. I don't care about religion, race, political views; I try to get anybody in there,” she says. However, there’s more to her recruitment philosophy beyond simply holding up a mixed bag: “I try to pair people who are complete opposites with me, so that way they can see you can just be yourself and I'm going to love you just as much as anybody else. That's my biggest thing.”
Her quest to impart a more profound sense of respect to her classmates doesn't stop there. She’s trying to revive the debate team because she thinks there’s a real need for argumentative views to be shared in a way that’s neither aggressive nor angry. “I'm big on respect,” she humbly brags, “I think it’d be something nice for the younger kids to look up and see older kids being respectful and be like, ‘Hey, that’s really not that hard to do…It don’t take anything to be nice to someone.”
It strikes us that Baily is mainly inspired to help other people find their voice and comfort because she knows firsthand what it’s like to be frozen in place, unsure of what to do next. She’s suffered bouts of depression, times when she didn’t even know how to name her feelings. When her parents divorced, she found it extremely difficult to communicate how she felt. “I kind of shut down,” she admits, “I never spoke about how I felt. I kind of just shut the world out for awhile.”
The paralysis she felt affected her relationship with her mom at the time, who she claims as her absolute best friend. On top of this, complications with a toxic ex were taking a further toll on her ability to function. “I had finally decided that I needed to do something for me because I’m very big on putting everyone above me…I finally decided that it was time for me to be happy,” she says, “So I kind of just removed that person from of my life and from that point on, life has just gone its own positive way.”
Today Baily continues to let life lead her in that positive direction, whether as a friend who can make you laugh until you can’t stop, a straight-A student, or a lifelong Mounds resident who would rather not be defined strictly by their roots. Hopefully, she reveals, in ten years, that direction will lead to a place that is “jaw-droppingly beautiful.” A beach in California, perhaps. Heck, maybe even Greece, just as long as the place fits Baily’s “out of the ordinary” persona.
For now, she’s satisfied with making a study of the future and forming plans. She could be anything from a paramedic to a realtor and would still be living her truth. “I want to have that perfect little lifestyle that I never had growing up…Even if it’s not in ten years, I just want to be somewhere happy,” Baily summarizes. To us, it sounds like she doesn’t want anything more than the rest; a somewhere to be happy and a place to be ourselves. We have no doubt that Baily will be helping plenty of others in the coming years find that place, as well.
Baily Ice’s favorite pastime is blowing the minds of those that dare take her for granted.
Some of the students we’ve had the pleasure of speaking with are uncertain of their place in the world at large. Considering the ever-winding avenues and terrifying prospects of adult life, it's not surprising that the typical high schooler is still figuring it out, sometimes unsure how to put their experience into words.