Shelby Bennett may be 15, but she’s already established herself as a difference maker in her community. Bennett joined the Girl Scouts as a kindergartner, which gave her the tools to stand up for what she believes in at an early age. That commitment to strong leadership led her to enroll at Lake Ridge Academy last year. “Surrounding me are strong women and strong men and everyone’s spearheading their own beliefs,” she says. “I have always felt that’s something I should do.”
Leader Pack: A recipient of the Carol Klimas Scholarship for community service, Bennett is no stranger to giving back to her community. While at Olmsted Falls Middle School, Bennett arranged a walkout for gun control, which earned her not just a Girl Scouts Silver Award, but the Harding Family Charitable Trust Scholarship that paid for her tuition at Lake Ridge. “I believe women are told that they don’t need to be a leader, and just listen to men,” she says. “But they can bring that to the table.”
Mother Bear: Bennett’s original troop leader at the Girl Scouts left after one year, so her mother stepped up to fill the void. She’s been Bennett’s troop leader ever since, which has strengthened their bond. The two like to watch Criminal Minds and listen to music together. “My mom owns her own business, so growing up, I always saw her as a strong woman,” she says. “She’s inspired me to work really hard.”
Spoken Word: Bennett is highly extroverted, so naturally she found a seat on Lake Ridge’s mock trial team where she served as an attorney. The experience inspired Bennett to one day work in a courtroom as a criminal profiler. “I would make a psychological profile of the accused and help the prosecutor bring out anger or sadness on the stand,” Bennett says.
Roller Girl: Bennett has been in gymnastics since she was in sixth grade, which requires 12 to 14 hours of training per week. During the recent COVID-19 quarantine, she stayed busy by polishing up on rollerblading. “I have my own pair of rollerblades and they’re so worn out, the brakes don’t work anymore,” she says. “There’s just a screw there because I’ve worn the break pad off.”