There are many things that Amanda Michelle Reid can’t do. She can’t snap her figures or cross her eyes. She can’t whistle or sing well. She hates running and has the annoying tendency to speak all foreign languages with a French accent. Not even a very good French accent. She can’t help but feel uncomfortable writing about herself in the third person. But these kinds of feelings never stopped her from trying anyway.
Amanda rushed into the world in a Sacramento, California hospital on November 24, 1990 after 58 minutes of labor, taking her doctors and mother by surprise. Her speedy birth would be a convenient explanation of her unrelenting determination and eagerness to jump into new experiences. But truthfully, her personality has nothing to do with the length of her mom’s labor. She owes these characteristics to the example of her supportive mother, her tenacious older sister, and loving stepfamily, who taught her to go after her dreams without fear of failure and to be curious about the world around her. Amanda’s adventurous spirit was further nurtured by her immigrant parents’ mobile lifestyle, which allowed her to live and learn all across the country and the world. Her education took place in suburban Michigan, in small New England towns, seaside cities in Australia and in the mountains of Arizona. Her travels forced her to step up and become involved in school activities in order to not blend into the crowd. Amanda became a member of the French, Art, and National Honor Societies, sophomore class president, and a delegate in Model Senate and Massachusetts Girl’s State, as well as the founder of the Black History Month celebration at Norton High School. She was a youth leader in her church, a varsity athlete, and took outside-of-school classes in fashion design, music, and dance.
Amanda didn’t excel at everything she tried, but she benefited by gaining the ability to operate outside her comfort zone. Because of her experiences, along with her warm personality, Amanda was blessed to be able to meet and form friendships with a variety of different people, growing as a result of each of her interactions. As a high school student, Amanda decided to take her global education into her own hands, and sought out travel opportunities for herself. She received a scholarship to attend the Oxbridge French Preparatory Experience, in which she spent a summer in Montpellier, France and learned about the region’s history and art. She attended portrait-drawing classes in the Australian bush, and a Summer Writing Program at Carleton College in Minnesota. A life changing travel course took her to Botswana and South Africa. At home, Amanda remained globally conscience by participating in her school’s Oxfam Australia club, and co-founding her own Amnesty International chapter in her senior year. She regularly volunteers with non-profit organizations and she uses art and the love of service to raise awareness of local issues.
There are many things that Amanda Michelle Reid can’t do. But she can paint a picture that will make you cry and make you laugh with her self-deprecating humor. She can become your lifelong friends in five minutes. She can drum on a Djembe with the best of them. She will go to college and study Studio Art and Africana Studies and then go on to do something that might not help her bank account, but will help the world. She will try sometimes succeeding and sometimes failing, but never letting the fear of defeat deter her.