Childhood dream becomes a reality

Leah Newhouse, Reporter

Most children in elementary school have ambitions to become astronauts or fashion designers. However, many of their dreams change while they are teenagers. For one particular student at SHS, she has had the opportunity to make her eight year old self’s dream of working at a zoo into reality.

Senior Paige Kidwell turned her dream into reality when she began volunteering at the Indianapolis zoo.

“A long time ago my sister’s friend that was doing my hair was telling her about how I wanted to work with animals when I was older and she was like, ‘My sister does volunteer stuff at the zoo,’ Kidwell said, “I waited a really long time, then when I got to be the age I looked into it more then I applied.”

Kidwell has been volunteering at the Indianapolis Zoo since she was 14 years old. One of her jobs while volunteering is to explain the different exhibits and artifacts to the visitors. Doing this has expanded her ability to teach others.

Kidwell also has gotten to interact with wild animals. The walruses are one of Kidwell’s favorite animals to play with not only because of their oh-so-snuggable features, but also because of their intelligence.

“You get to know their personalities and you get to know their names and they kind of get to recognize you,” Kidwell said, “I guess my favorite part is just forming the bonds with different animals.”

Kidwell is hoping to take her love for animals further by studying wildlife in college. She isn’t positive on whether or not she will work at the zoo full time after college, but she has a large support group behind her decisions. Her mother, Kendra Kidwell, is especially excited for her daughter’s future.

“I think that she is seriously considering doing something in the future with animals,” Mrs. Kidwell said, “I think she would like to eventually work at the zoo or something to do with animals.”

Kidwell has worked hard to get where she is, but volunteering at the zoo has set her in the right track to get her where she wants to go in her future. She suggests to others to always follow their dreams and to work hard to accomplish them because sometimes an eight year old’s aspirations can become an 18 year old’s reality.