Women Love Emma Taylor (And So Do Women’s Colleges)

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Grace Lewis

Taylor, breathing in the fresh air.

Natalie Svinth, Reporter

You may have seen her interpretively dancing through the hallways to Kanye West in hand-bleached jeans, and, though she would much rather be barefoot, earth-toned sandals. Between her burgundy-frizz aura and erudite personal lexicon, the enigmatic Emma Taylor simultaneously impresses and hypnotizes.

Now a junior, she was new to Peninsula last year, fresh out of all-girls school Annie Wright in Tacoma. Since then, she has managed to take the school by storm, rising to the top of her class in academics and becoming an integral piece of the Peninsula High School community. So it comes as no surprise that she was recently awarded the Wellesley Book Award, which recognizes high-achieving young women and allows them to become better acquainted with the prestigious women’s liberal-arts college that boasts such powerful alumni as Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“I was called up to Mr. Burmark’s office and was told I would be receiving the Wellesley Book Award. I said, ‘I don’t know what that is, but I like books!” said Taylor.

Annually, local Wellesley alumnae select a female junior who displays ambition and is an inspiration to others. Taylor exceeds these requirements, winning the South Sound Regional Science Fair in 2014 and attending State this year for both Debate and Knowledge Bowl, the latter of which took second place in Washington.

Taylor’s greatest accomplishments also include finding a community that she can be committed to and enjoy at the same time.

“Peninsula High School, what a place to be!” said Taylor.

As a practicing Buddhist and active steward of the environment and of her community, Taylor’s actions are aligned with her morals. Even while being interviewed for this article, Taylor displayed her integrity by taking notice of the almost-barren courtyard that surrounded her, and offhandedly mentioning her desire for vegetable gardens to be planted around the school. 

Concerning college, Georgetown is Taylor’s first choice for its International Political Economy Program (which explores “the intersection between politics and economics at an international level”), although she is “definitely” interested in attending Wellesley as well.

“I went to an all-girls school freshman year, and it was a really welcoming and supportive community. It’s really nice to be around other females,” said Taylor.

After college, Taylor aspires to become a Foreign Service Officer (a diplomat), but her ambitions extend beyond career-goals as she recognizes her part in shaping society.

“I am working to change people’s selfishness and the belief that they are isolated and not connected to everyone else to the world, and I think that if at the individual level we overcome people’s natural tendencies towards self-preservation, we can create a larger change on a global level,” says Taylor.

From a single conversation, it became clear that there could not be a better-qualified candidate to receive this award.

“Wellesley is a great school, and you should be super proud of yourself for getting this award. It means that your efforts are attracting the attention of an excellent school on the far end of the nation,” says last year’s recipient of the Book Award, Lucy Arnold.

Within the next month, there will be a short ceremony in which Taylor will be presented with the award, an embossed copy of The Norton Book of Women’s Lives. The ceremony will take place during either her English class or a school-wide assembly.

Congratulations, Emma. We look forward to reading about you again one day.