Once a year South Whidbey schools nominate one senior to be a hometown hero. This person is chosen by adults and students, is a person who inspires others, and makes the community and school a better place. This year it’s Macey Bishop.
Caring isn’t always easy. Sometimes it comes with a price. The person who acts indifferent or apathetic towards others and life may think they’re avoiding being hurt, but the truth is, fear of showing vulnerable feelings of caring and acting detached is more painful in the end. It hurts oneself, others and the world is cheated out of the real you, says Macey Bishop, hometown hero.
To put oneself out there and be the first to say, “I love you” or “I am sorry” runs the risk of being laughed at, ignored or rejected, she said. It’s a gamble, but it’s how she wants to live.
“I want to live my life always caring,” Bishop said. “I don’t want to miss out. Apathy is lame. Caring is cool!”
Bishop says she admires people who care about others, and put others ahead of themselves. These are the approachable people, the kind who will listen, be there for you and don’t put on airs, she said.
“If a society is fortunate enough to have lots of individuals like this, you end up with a community like South Whidbey,” Bishop says. “When I think of all the individuals and groups who put their ideas, work, money, and time into helping others? Well, I just can’t imagine there is another community like this. This community and the people in it are so inspiring to me.”
She begins thinking about all the caring groups for animals, seniors, youth, young children, homeless, food banks, and the environment. She remarks, “What an incredible community! I know these ideas took years of planning, and aren’t easy to maintain; some have fits and starts, and some have gone by the wayside, some ideas were unable to launch, but their work will help the next caring idea to emerge,” she said.
“I’ve learned from the people in this community to find a passion and keep trying to help others. I’ve learned this means we have to put ourselves out there. Sure it’s scary and we can look foolish, but if you think something is important it is important.”
Amy, a kindergartener in a class where Bishop volunteers says, “I know Macey loves us because she shows she cares about us; she asks how we are, she plays games and runs with us, and helps us with our school work. She’s my cool friend.”
Kindergarten teacher, Laura Spear described Bishop as a dedicated volunteer, a person who spends time getting to know each student.
“She shows leadership and sets an example with her actions, compassion and empathy,” Spear said. “When I was out for an illness, she emailed me to let me know what was happening in the class. This was so helpful and I was able to make adjustments to help the substitute. She is a joy to have in the room. It has been an honor to have Macey in our classroom. She is so deserving of being honored with the Hometown Hero award.”
Asking Bishop if there is anything she wished she never found out, she answers quickly.
“No, I don’t believe in that ‘ignorance is bliss’ thing. Sure there are sorrows in our lives, and hearing some of the world news and suffering is completely heart wrenching. But the pain we feel is nothing compared to what the victims we read about are going through. And perhaps the pain we feel will be the very thing that motivates us to figure out a way to help and make changes,” she said.
Bishop says many are privileged, including herself.
“I know I have advantages compared to most in this world. I have people that care about me, I live in a great community, and I have access to education,” she said. “It bothers me when students don’t’ appreciate all the hard work the teachers and volunteers put out to teach us. We should be trying our best effort, and never take education for granted.”
Bishop wants to educate herself about writing, “Not to write about travel or fun, but to use writing as a tool to help the underprivileged. I hope to help those that are living in developing countries gain access and the ability to create art,” she said.
“I am passionate about social inequality, and social injustice,” Bishop said. “I dream about helping the disadvantaged, to help lift their self-confidence and help their mental health by show casing their special abilities. Everyone has something to give the world, and I would love to help tap into those that aren’t given the opportunity to lend the world their talents.”
Bishop says even those with advantages don’t always have the self-confidence needed to think what people have to give is worthwhile.
“In a class recently, a teacher asked us to raise our hands and share something we are weak at,” Bishop said. “Everyone’s hands shot up. Then she asked us to raise our hands and say what our strengths are. Not one person’s hand went up.”
Volunteers KK and Scott Iversen said in a written statement that Bishop is an inspiration.
“We have watched her become one who is not caught up in activities that draw attention to her, but to opportunities that improve others. She has served faithfully in her school with various student body and class offices. She loves working together with her classmates to make her school a place for all students to feel welcomed. Macey has a broader world view of serving not just locally, but to those in need around the world. She has traveled several times to Nicaragua to help with digging wells to bring clean water to those in need. What a beautiful example and lesson we all can learn from Macey that ‘you are truly living if you give your life away.’ ”
Macey Bailey Bishop
Born: Aug. 30, 1998, Laguna Beach Calif.
Parents: Ted and Julia
Sibling: Lennox Bishop
Education: South Whidbey High school, will attend University of Portland
Years on South Whidbey: 11
South Whidbey people you admire?
“Of course I admire all my family, and friends. In addition my English teacher Mrs. Gandarias and my Spanish Teacher Mrs. Gochanour are both incredible people that I will never forget. They are amazing, passionate, and most caring people. They go out for their way to show each student they love and care for each.”
What others have to say about Macey
“Some words that come to my mind when I think of Macey are: selflessness, kindness, and drive. She doesn’t let problems get in the way of her plans in life. She faces things head on. I think Macey is a great role model; she is loved by her peers and is often asked for her opinion on things, even teachers. Macey is extremely hardworking, she balances school, sports and work. Rarely do we hear her complain about any of that either, she just does it. She has a great sense of humor and is quite witty. We have been friends since fourth or fifth grade I think, and she has taught me so much. She volunteers in Nicaragua often; to hear about her experiences is eye opening. She is also very humble, but she will speak her mind when she feels necessary. Overall, she is a sweet-hearted girl who cares for others feelings, and who is a great friend.”
Kendra Warwick, student and friend
“Macey is consistent: she’s been consistent with her attendance, her positive attitude, her determination, her kindness to others and her leadership. For four years Macey has been a valuable part of our Falcon Tennis Team and student body at South Whidbey High School. She leads by quiet example, yet she doesn’t hesitate to step forward when we need help or a volunteer. We are a better tennis team, high school and community because of Macey Bishop!”
Karyle Kramer, high school social studies and tennis coach
“Macey loves us and is our friend!”
“Macey is my hero because she plays marble run with me.”
“Macey is my cool friend!”
“I love Macey because she plays with me!”
“Macey is a good friend!”
Kindergarten students from Laura Spear’s class
“I’m so glad sweet Macey was chosen for this distinction. Upon first being acquainted with Macey Bishop, you might label her as shy. You would be short sighted. Thoughtful, reserved might be more accurate. You see, Macey has no tolerance for duplicity. Her sense of justice and integrity run deep and strong. That is not to say that Macey is somber, because she actually exudes joy. She’s been a babysitter and party helper and honorary big sister to my daughters. She can often be found laughing and joking with her friends. She is quite hilarious. I just love Macey.”
Becky Mooring, mom
“Macey is the kind of friend that everyone should have in their life. She is the kind of person that is always there to talk to you, or give you a smile. I’m so glad I met Macey because my life wouldn’t be the same without her. She always offers encouraging words to her friends and never stops cheering us on. One thing I love about Macey is her sarcasm, 24/7. She has the power to make me laugh in any situation. I don’t know how she comes up with half of the things she says, and how she happens to say them at the perfect time. Her sarcasm is one thing that helps get me through a rough day. She inspires all of us the way she spends her time helping the community and the way she treats everyone in our school.”
Hailey Simchuk, student and friend
“Macey has been in our life 10 years! She’s a radiant young lady who shares a deep friendship with our daughter. Macey is loyal, confident, passionate, driven, compassionate, courageous, forgiving, silly, sarcastic, intelligent and kind. She makes us laugh, keeps us on our toes and loves people deeply. Thanks for recognizing Macey.”
Mark and Michele Lynch, parents
“Macey and I have been best friends for six years. She has not only taught me how to live a life full of love, service and adventure but she has exemplified passion and dedication in all that she does. Macey is constantly searching for ways to help others and her desire to see the world a better place is evident every day. I am so proud of the person she’s become and can’t wait to see where the world will take her. To my best friend, adventure partner and favorite person, congratulations and I love you.”
Anna Lynch, student and friend
“I have come to know Macey during Spanish classes. Macey’s volunteer time in Nicaragua has taught her much. She is a compassionate community member, looking out for her neighbors and caring for the well-being of all around her. She is a hard worker, not afraid to get her hands dirty digging ditches for a new community water system or to commit her whole heart-full self to teaching Nicaraguan children English and math skills. Macey has learned to recognize the worth of all people, no matter their ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or appearance. She contributes tremendously to the behind the scenes work at SWHS [South Whidbey High School].”
Jennifer A. Gochanour, Spanish teacher, tennis coach
“I don’t even know where to begin with Macey. We have been friends now for years and I am so honored to get to call her a life-long friend. Macey is someone who is very passionate, honest, and definitely has a sense of humor. She cares a lot about the people around her and loves to laugh. Oh, Macey is definitely a person I can always count on.”
Lucy Clements, student and friend
MACEY’S PERSONAL SIDES
If you could be an inanimate object for a day, what would it be?
“I would be a mirror. To be able to experience the way that people see themselves, whether it be encouraging themselves in the mirror, or wiping their tears, I think it would be very beautiful and intimate.”
“The Children’s book ‘Love that Dog,’ a heart breaking book with an simple message about a boy that has a dog that dies, and he writes poetry about his dog. It’s incredibly sad, but brings out compassion in the reader. I have re-read it many times.”
A person you would like to meet?
“Frida Kahlo. She was in a bad train wreck in her 20’s and was paralyzed; she had to lie in bed. But instead of going crazy like I think I would have, she excelled in producing inspirational art that inspired others. She used her tragedy to inspire others.”
A way to look at others and ourselves?
“Judge ourselves and others on intentions, not just on outcomes.”
What is something you get from volunteering in Nicaragua?
“So much, besides the good feeling of helping. I never look at a glass of water and not really appreciate the privilege of clean and easy access I have to it.”
What is something most do not know about you?
“I always wear my socks inside out.”
Does everyone have some power? “I think we do in that we are always an example of either negative or positive. If we smile at people walking down the halls for school, help pick up books if someone drops there’s, or a negative example, if we for instance throw trash on the street.”
What is something your generation does that older generations do not understand?
“The selfies we take. It doesn’t mean we are narcissistic really; it’s just a way of sharing. There is a difference between narcissism and self-confidence. Maybe it’s a self-confidence booster?”