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Next Generation Storyteller: Akhil Kollengode

My name is Akhil Kollengode; I am a 7th grader at Willow Creek Middle School. My role model is my honors choir director. I have been with honors choir for 5 years and I've known Mr.Johnson for a while but really got to know him better this year. He is kind, loving and respectful guy. He treats us well and teaches us some handy life lessons like respect. 

The most important thing in his life that drives him to help others is his faith. He believes he was brought to this world to do right things and show respect. His childhood wasn't the best because he was bullied by other kids and he bullied them back. So he feels now that he should show what's right to that age group. He chose to go back as a teacher to the grade that was a struggle for him. He teaches at Stewartville high school and feels that he can help the kids who feel hurt since he has had the firsthand experience and can look them in their eyes and share his success story. 

He tries to give back to others as much as he can. He thinks the recipe to a happy and good life is to find your talent and use it to help other people. He feels it is addicting to help others when you see the result. Some people find bad ways like substance abuse to find instant happiness, but the real happiness lays in helping others. He uses the last honors choir concert as an example where the group moved the audience well and received standing ovation with their music. 

When he was a sophomore, he was very ill and he thought he would die soon. He had seen his dad cry for the first time. He thought this health issue was a punishment from God for his 16 years of treating others in a disrespectful manner. He had thought he was invisible but mortality was facing him. So he made a goal that he would make the world a better place by helping others as a means to give back. His family and children make him what he is today. When he held his child for the first time, a whole lot of perspective came to his life. 

He gives the advice to the young generation for finding their inner skills and helping others with that skill and encourages his students to try their best on a daily basis. He is a great example of practicing what he preaches. He says that it is a transformative thing in everyone’s life when they find out what happens to them when they transform themselves by fixing their mistakes. He teaches his students what is actually important in life and what not to get worked up about and uses his experience as example. He wishes there was a way he could teach these lessons in high school as a curriculum but it is not easy.

So you can see why I consider Mr Johnson as my role model. Along with music, Nick teaches me life’s important lessons from his experience. 

Akhil Kollengode, a 7th grader at Willow Creek Middle School, was a finalist for the 2017 Next Generation Storytellers contest, presented by Bolder Options Rochester and the Med City Beat.

Read submissions from all the finalists.

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Next Generation Storyteller: Cooper Gamble

Next Generation Storyteller: Anushka Kollengode