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Inspired to Lead: Clifton Teen Teaches Children with Disabilities

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Xenaya Medina of Clifton is inspired to lead. After representing the Academy of the Holy Angels at the 2023 Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership Conference, this aspiring neuroscientist was motivated to work with children with disabilities.

Medina spent her summer volunteering with Special Olympics and Pathways for Exceptional Children. She taught children to play soccer and tennis, build and code robots, and speak in front of a large audience.

“It has been a rewarding experience learning more about their neurological conditions and adapting to the different ways they learn, and even more rewarding when they feel the success at what we are working on and their confidence grows,” Medina said of her students. “It's not that they can't; instead, it's 'find another way.'”

Medina continues to draw inspiration from HOBY speaker/Vydia Co-president Jenna Gaudio, who left a “safe” job to start her own company.

“The story of Jenna Gaudio's persistence and relentless pursuit of not settling for the status quo was my absolute favorite from the seminar, and one that I will always recall for inspiration,” Medina shared.

Medina is a member of the Class of 2025 at the Academy of the Holy Angels in Demarest, New Jersey. She is pictured (second from the left) with AHA HOBY representatives Molly Doherty, Cara Boyce, and Isabella Kim.

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