Jillian Guetersloh is a freshman at Bedford High School in Bedford, MA, where she lives with her parents, brother, and dog. From an early age, Jillian expressed a passion for music, writing, and art. She started singing in her church’s children’s choir in preschool and began piano lessons in kindergarten, then switched to the cello in 4th grade, though she still enjoys playing the piano today. Jillian learned the mechanics of writing contemporary music at the Real School of Music in Burlington, MA where she participated in their weeklong RealJams summer program for the past two years. At RealJams, youths are assembled into “bands” based on their instrumental and vocal proficiencies. They learn the conventions of songwriting first then the youths collaborate to write, record a soundtrack, and create a music video for an original song, culminating in a live performance on their final day. In middle school, Jillian was active in musical theater during the school year as well as their summer theater program. Her roles include Rafiki (Lion King Jr), King Julien (Madagascar), and Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland) and she was a cast member in Annie Jr , Pirates of Penzance, and Beauty and the Beast Jr. Jillian was a cellist in the middle school orchestra. She also performed as a vocalist in the middle school’s rock cover band during her seventh and eighth grade years. Now, as a freshman in high school, Jillian has participated in the fall musical Noises Off as part of the backstage crew and in the spring musical Seussical where she played the minor role of Judge Yertle the Turtle. Jillian is currently participating in her high school’s’ playwrights festival, in which students write, direct, design, and perform ten-minute plays. Jillian has written a ten minute play and is directing a play written by another student. She plays cello in the high school orchestra. Outside of music and theater, Jillian also loves painting, traveling, and spending time with friends. Even though she cannot vote, Jillian believes in the importance of being politically active, and she participated in 2017’s historic Women’s March and the March for Our Lives in 2018. In eighth grade, she and a group of other students formed the Student Egalitarian Association, whose goal was to make school a more comfortable place for all students. The club succeeded in changing the school’s gender-biased and ineffective dress code, which remains one of Jillian’s proudest achievements. In 2017, Jillian was awarded the Superior Writing Certificate, the highest honor in the Promising Young Writers Program of the National Council of Teachers of English. Jillian’s favorite foods are chicken pot pie, cashew turtle ice cream and anything chocolate.