Kaila is a natural leader, from statewide conferences to regular clubs in her high school and church.
The 17-year-old attended Girls State, which met at California State University, Fresno, for a week this past summer with 700 other delegates from around California. There, she learned about government and being a member of the Senate, and she heard from mayors who discussed furthering their roles in politics.
"I learned a lot more about politics," she said. "I think I learned that it's important for people to know about politics and not to be naive about it."
Kaila is a member of the Stanislaus County Office of Education Leadership Academy. It is an opportunity for high school seniors in Stanislaus County, and the students meet once a month. In order to be selected, Kaila had to have a strong grade point average and be a youth leader in her community.
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Because of the leadership academy, she said, "Whatever I do as a career, I'll do it for the good of the community and use my leadership abilities."
Kaila is a member of Modesto Covenant Church and has been a part of mission trips to Mexico. She has gone to Mexico every year since she was a freshman, and has been able to witness firsthand the progress made in building a home for girls who have been abused.
"It's a humbling experience to go down there once a year," she said. "It's hard to see, but it makes you thankful for the blessings that you have and all that God has given you."
Church is a second home for Kaila, as she is there three times a week for youth group, a youth leadership group and as a helper for a first- and second-grade team called Kids in Christ's Kingdom. In addition to this, she helps teach Sunday school to first- and second-grade students.
Kaila has been copy editor for Downey's yearbook, The Shield, which has earned national recognition.
She maintains a 3.9 grade point average while being involved in Young Republicans as vice president, Bible Club, varsity cheerleading and soccer at Downey High School, and has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. At college, she wants to major in education and eventually become a teacher.
FAMILY: Father, Lance Ward; mother and stepfather, Lori and Mike Jaggers; sisters Alex, 12, and Josie, 10
HOBBIES: Hanging out with friends, watching movies and working with kids
BIGGEST INFLUENCE: I would definitely say that Jesus Christ is my biggest influence. I strive to live a life that is pleasing to him.
LAST BOOK I READ FOR PLEASURE: Last summer between school books, I read "The Divine Dance," by Shannon Kuviak
FAVORITE MOVIE: "My Best Friend's Wedding"
FAVORITE TV SHOWS: "Friends" and "The Office"
FAVORITE MUSIC/BAND: I like all kinds of music, but my favorite band is Coldplay.
BIGGEST FEAR: Probably not living up to the expectations that I set for myself for the future.
WHAT I'D TELL THE PRESIDENT: Thank you for being a man of integrity.
ADVICE FOR KIDS: Life is what you make it. Enjoy the time that you have to be a kid.
ADVICE FOR ADULTS: Be the best example for your child because you are a big part of who we become.
WHERE I'LL BE IN 10 YEARS: Happy and teaching.
-- VICTORIA PARDINI,
TEENS IN THE NEWSROOM
To nominate a student, call 578-2310 or visit www.modbee.com/teen_fame.pdf.