If you are struggling to keep your head above water, Chanel Taylor is someone you want close by in a variety of situations.
This high school senior is a lifeguard who became certified in 2013 and worked at the local swimming pool, ensuring everyone who entered the pool safely exited.
This summer, the 18-year-old is working as a hostess at a local Italian restaurant where she is in training to become a waitress.
She said working full time and earning her own money has its rewards.
“It is different because I am treated like an adult, something most teens my age do not get to experience,” Taylor said. “It’s difficult trying to save and be an adult. I pay my own car insurance and save what’s left for college.”
Taylor would like to become an orthopedic surgeon and has not determined which university she will attend.
She said working in the restaurant business has taught her a few more lessons about life. “You have to be a people person. You have to think about others’ feelings,” she said. “The customer is always right. You have to put your own opinion aside and accommodate whatever the customer needs.”
Taylor, who said one of the most unique things about her is that she has two different eye colors — one brown and one hazel green— is also an activist for teens in Copperas Cove. She serves on both the Copperas Cove High School student council and the Youth Advisory Committee under the umbrella of the Parks and Recreation Department.
“YAC is important because it allows me to get involved with the community,” Taylor said. “I get to help children who have very little. Bringing a smile to their faces brings joy to me.”
The YAC was formed by the city to serve as a liaison to the city on behalf of teenagers after multiple complaints that “there is nothing for teens to do” in the area.
Now entering its third year, YAC has a strong committee of teens who serve as voices of their peers. But Taylor said getting teens involved is not an easy task.
“One of the biggest things is just getting them out of their regular routines of doing drugs and going to parties all the time. They do not focus on what they are capable of doing,” she said.