The Mustang Messenger

Tori Gardner: Planting Positivity

Caleb Buford, Messenger Reporter & Business Manager

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2,100 students is a lot of people. The number of people you come in contact with everyday here at McCracken County High School can be overwhelming. People know all the athletes and high-class people because they seem to be in the spotlight more than others, especially when it comes to awards and other honors. There are so many outstanding people in this world and it’s hard to cover them all. But, some stand out to us, not because of their skills, not because of the awards they have earned, but the kindness and compassion these people are willing to put out to others to help them on their journey through life. Meet Tori Gardner. She might not be considered “popular” some, but she doesn’t let that stop her from showing out. “I remember my Sophomore year, I got placed on the ballet for Homecoming Court and, while we were voting, someone in my class yelled out, “Who’s Tori Gardner?!”” Gardner is a member of HOSA and is the Vice President of the Art Club. Tori also participates in a variety of art competitions & exhibitions in our community and statewide. Other than those activities, Gardner seems to be a regular high school student, “I sleep all the time, I love to read, take random photos of things… hanging out with my friends.”

Though this “normalness” may trick some into believing she’s just like anyone else, her positivity and compassion have helped plenty of those who surround her in her everyday life. “I grew up being that person who didn’t really have friends, but when some had problems with someone else on the playground, they would come talk to me because I was alone, so I would talk to them and try to make them feel a little better.” This passion of trying to help others at a young age has stemmed into a calling. Tori is currently planning on become a psychologist after college and using art & music therapy in her practice. “I feel like the outlook of me being a psychiatrist is positive, and I want to help people, and I feel that that’s the best way for me, personally, to do that.”

Though Gardner may seem to have her future all planned out, she will tell you, flat out, she doesn’t. She has applied to West Kentucky Community & Technical College for her first two years of college (since they are almost free because of the Community Scholarship Program), but from there, she doesn’t really have a plan. “I wasn’t even close to being sure [of my college path] my sophomore year.” Tori varied from wanting to be an artist, to be a writer, to being a general physician, to a dermatologist, and finally decided upon being a therapist. It seems school systems continually pressure students into choose career paths at such a young age, and sometimes we need that time of discovery. “The pressure is going to be there no matter what you do, because you have a short amount of time to decide things. And you know what? It’s not a horrible thing to take a year off if you really don’t know where you are in life, if you haven’t figured out what you like, if there are so many things you don’t know about… It’s a perfectly normal thing and it might help you in the long run,” expressed Gardner.

Positivity has brought Gardner a long way in this world and along her path, she has planted and tended that kindness into the hearts of all those who she has interacted with. “Positivity is what you make of it, if you allow others to join in, then it gets cloudy and it’s no longer what you need to succeed, to be happy, and then be confident in who you are as a person. Don’t let anyone dictate what positivity means to you and live life in a way that makes you happy.”

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Tori Gardner: Planting Positivity