Maria Finelli discovers her passions in all aspects of life


“Do not fear failure, but rather fear not trying.” – Roy T. Bennett

Although this quote may be easier said than done, it’s a common practice in junior Maria Finelli’s life. Maria has been applying this mantra during her years at FHC and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.

Maria has been involved with many different activities throughout high school. She has been involved in different types of hobbies, ranging from business to the arts to athletics. While this is a broad span of avocations, Maria has been able to learn valuable lessons from each activity.

Her sophomore year, Maria played JV tennis. She has also been involved with the business organization DECA, FHC theater, FHC choir, and also youth group at her church.

“[I love doing new activities] if I have the time,” Maria said. “I kind of have the mindset of ‘why not?’ Why not try something new? Why not try something different?”

Maria has been involved with DECA, choir, and her youth group for many years now. DECA is something that she started participating in after being encouraged by senior Kendall Gardner to join. With her knack for presenting and passion for people, the activity was an immediate fit for me. Through DECA, she has learned a lot and looks forward to the events every year.

“Everything that I do is more just to enjoy it and take everything that I can get out of it,” Maria said. “It’s fun putting yourself out there and getting experience talking in front of adults and stuff like that.”

Aside from the activities that she only joined in high school, Maria has been involved in many other long-term programs. Since middle school, choir and youth group have both been huge parts of her life. Because of her passion for both, her involvement has continued and grown as she has gotten older.

As a faithful volunteer at Ada Bible, her home church, Maria co-leads one of the first-grade groups at her church with junior Maddy Williams. With choir, she now is a part of the zero hour jazz choir, Central Singers.

Maria got involved in tennis her sophomore year. A large influence on this decision was her family. Her whole family was huge tennis fans, and although she didn’t play prior, she decided it would be interesting. She decided on playing at almost the last minute before the try-outs.

During this year, Maria also got involved with the musical.

“It’s really scary,” Maria said. “I did not want to try out for the musical because I didn’t want to sing by myself. But, after having the experience, I realized how important it is to do those things. It can lead to a lot of new things [and] open new doors that wouldn’t have otherwise [opened] had you not done something that kind of scared you.”

Maria almost did not try out for the musical. Some encouragement from her friend caused her to change her mind. The night before, she decided to try out and prepared for the audition.

“[Auditioning] was one of my best decisions so far through high school I think,” Maria said.

Although preparing the show was a challenge, Maria loved both challenging herself with a new experience, and she enjoyed meeting new people. Each and every activity comes with a new group of people for her to get to know. This has taught her the valuable lesson of not judging people by how they act at school. She has learned that so many individuals act very differently outside of the halls of FHC.

“[Getting involved] has been impactful for my overall [high school] experience because I haven’t limited myself to any one thing,” Maria said. “I feel like I’ve gotten to meet a lot of different people I otherwise wouldn’t have especially through the musical. That’s been really fun.”

Even if Maria ends up disliking an activity, she attacks each challenge with a positive attitude. This allows her to make the most out of every single experience no matter the situation.

“I try not to view anything as a waste of time because I feel like you can always get something out of every situation,” Maria said.

It may be difficult to participate in so many different activities, but it has proven to be worthwhile for Maria. She has taken away different lessons from each and every pursuit that is applicable to her everyday life.

“I think that trying a lot of different things really proves to yourself that you can do a lot more than you think you can,” Maria said. “Your mind is so big and strong, and you can push yourself to do almost anything you put your mind to.”

Going into her senior year, Maria has a lot of wisdom she is able to pass down onto underclassmen. Following her own advice allowed her to experience everything both the school and the Forest Hills Community has to offer.

“If you’re thinking about whether or not you should do something, you should try it,” Maria said. “Otherwise, you might regret not trying it.”

Even after her days at FHC are over, Maria will carry many different life lessons for forever. Doing a variety of different activities has allowed her to improve herself to the best of her ability. Throughout the years, she has been able to constantly grow and expand herself to become the best person she can be all because of the challenges she allows herself to face.

“You should always be expanding yourself and just trying new things,” Maria said. “Don’t limit yourself to what you’re comfortable with, because it’s important to always be trying to better yourself.”