Leading by Example

Everyone has natural talents and abilities. Sixteen-year-old Abby Stilley happens to have many. On the surface, it may seem like the activities she’s involved in aren’t connected: Sunday school teacher and youth group leader at her church, member of the tech team and film club at Elkhorn High School, cook and server at a restaurant, and instructor at a kid’s gym. But once you dig deeper, you’ll see the common thread—a hard-working, compassionate teen who loves using her endless energy to help others.

Edge: How did you become so involved in church?

Abby: When we moved to Omaha three years ago, my aunt invited us to her church, Bethany Lutheran in Elkhorn. I was never involved in church before then, but one day I was asked if I wanted to help prepare for Sunday school. I enjoyed it so much, I’ve been helping ever since.

Edge: What are the different areas you help with?

Abby: I’ve taught Sunday school, the large group elementary, which is about 200 kids, and I act in the weekly Wednesday night Oasis program skits.

Edge: Do you enjoy acting?

Abby: I love it. My mom has a background in theater, so that’s how I got into it. I’m also part of the film club at school, acting as one of the main characters in the movie we’re making. I also love music and singing. I’m in choir at both church and in school.

Edge: What other activities are you in?

Abby: I’m on the tech team at school. Technology has always been a part of me, and our team helps troubleshoot and fix the students’ Chrome Books at school. I’ve also worked in the media booth at church, manning the sound board or the slides.

Edge: Do you want a career in technology?

Abby: Actually I want to be a math teacher. In 7th grade I had such an amazing math teacher for pre-algebra, and I love teaching kids, so I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.

Edge: Where do all of these different interests come from?

Abby: I like to think of myself as the perfect mixture of my parents: the math and technology comes from my dad and the creative side comes from my mom.

Edge: Do you work as well?

Abby: I have two jobs. I work at a restaurant with my grandma, serving and sometimes I get to help cook, which I love. I also teach classes at a kid’s gym.

Edge: How do you find time to study?

Abby: Usually late at night after all of my other activities. But I sleep really well and listen to music or read to relax.

Edge: Do you ever feel like you need to cut back?

Abby: My parents tell me all the time I’m doing too much, but I often I feel like I want to do even more, especially at church. I’ve gone on a few mission trips in the past, and I’d like to do that again. I’ve also helped out at a friend’s church with vacation bible school, and I hope to do that again this summer. I’ve made some of my closest friends through church. They’re like a big welcoming family.

Edge: Do your siblings get involved too?

Abby: I have a younger brother and sister, and they love helping me practice the skits for church. That’s the part I love most about teaching and acting in the skits: seeing the smiles I can put on kids’ faces.

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