Taylor Williams leads others with her experiences from change


Ask anyone. The best leaders are those who are outspoken, fearless, and never afraid to take action and initiative. Luckily for FHC, there is an unsung leader walking the halls every day. Senior Taylor Williams has many different responsibilities on her plate day-to-day and tackles all her tasks head-on.

“I have always liked to be a leader,” Taylor said. “I feel like it’s just something that my parents instilled in me– to lead by example.”

Taylor, along with fellow yearbook editors, has been given the difficult task of organizing the yearbook. While this leadership role is already difficult enough, because of the retirement of teacher and yearbook advisor Rick Lanning, the job the editors have been entrusted with is extra arduous. However, Taylor and the other editors have creatively solved problems and continued to push through hardship.

“We do our best to show the staff what needs to be done,” Taylor said. “That has just given me a greater work ethic. When I’m motivated to work for somebody else, I’m so much more into my work because I’m helping somebody else. It’s been a lot of fun to teach these guys about Indesign So they can be independent because they’re now all on their own.”

On top of the leadership role Taylor tackles every day at school, she is a leader in her own life. A few years prior, Taylor had to embrace difficult changes in her life. Her sister was going through health struggles, and her whole family had to uproot and move to Michigan from Georgia. These changes presented many challenges, but Taylor walked away from that period of hardship with a new understanding of herself. Taylor had to learn how to take advantage of difficult changes in her life to learn and grow as a person.

“I don’t like change,” Taylor said. “And when I turned 13, a lot of change started to happen in my family. I was very isolated, and I had to grow up in a way that a 15-year-old shouldn’t have to. It was the circumstance that we were put in. I had always been independent, but I had to be much more independent that I had been. I had to learn to be okay with not being comfortable. I think that actually, that’s something very hard to do.”

Taylor acknowledges that the past two years had been some of the hardest years of her life. While some may look back on the difficult times with sorrow, Taylor sees those years as a way to help accelerate her future.

“Whenever I get to a place where I’m scared or afraid of my future, I think about the past few years,” Taylor said. “Whatever I’m facing becomes much more manageable.”

This place of inner strength did not just come from the past two years. Taylor has dealt with hardship earlier in her life as well. She is able to reflect on the times when she was bullied as an adolescent. Although she did struggle, she learned how to speak up, and this applies directly to her leadership today.

“At a certain point, what my mom said to me started to click,” Taylor said. “I don’t have to take people’s crap, and I don’t have to listen to what people say to me. I have a voice and if I don’t like what is being said about me, I can change it by opening my mouth. So, I tried to do that as much as possible because I know that words have a lasting impression, and I want my words to mean something. I do my best to always have my words mean something.”

Taylor tries to use the times of her past as a way to guide others. She believes that from her past, she can share her truth in order to make a positive impact on her peers around her.

“Even when I think back about it for myself, it’s inspiring to think about all that I’ve gone through and overcome to be where I am right now,” Taylor said. “In terms of using my words to lead people, it’s just being honest and not trying to be big and flashy and loud, but really just having interactions with people, getting to know them, and speaking with them– its the best way to impact anybody.”

Currently, Taylor is preparing for a large change in her life. Although she doesn’t particularly enjoy change, she knows it is a requirement in life to become who you were always meant to be. Taylor is going to study next year at the University of Florida at Gainesville and plans on majoring in psychology with an emphasis in gender and health studies. After that, she wants to go to the University of Michigan to attend medical school and become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. It will be tough for Taylor to move so far away from her family, but she knows that the University of Florida is where she is meant to be.

“As a sophomore, if you had asked me if I wanted to go to the University of Florida and move a thousand miles away from my mom, my dad, and my sister, I would have absolutely told you no– there is no way I was going to do that,” Taylor said. “I have realized that in order for me to be who I want to be, I have to be uncomfortable. That is a change that I have experienced in the last three years, just realizing that if you want to do these things and be this great, you have to go outside of what makes you feel good and moving a thousand miles away does not always feel good. [But,] whatever ends up happening, I am not going to always be comfortable, and that is okay.”

Taylor hopes to live in the biggest and brightest ways possible throughout the entirety of her future. She will continue to push herself and the people around her to be the best they can be. With her leadership, determination, and overall passion for life, there is nothing she cannot do. She also hopes to serve as an example for others to get outside of their comfort zone. She believes that with self-challenge, anything is possible.

“Try something that makes you feel anxious,” Taylor said. “Not something that gives you a panic attack, but something that makes you hesitate. If it’s something that you have to think about saying yes to before you do it, say yes. Because 9 times out of 10, it ends up being a good thing.”