“I used to be really shy and quiet. I felt like I didn’t fit in with other people,” Claudia Ware, a graduate of Cornerstone Health + Technology High School, said of her years in middle school and early high school. “I remember getting made fun of and bullied a lot, but I would just keep my mouth shut and push through. I never defended myself; instead, I let them say whatever they wanted and tried to ignore it.”
Claudia’s experience mirrors that of many students who feel they don’t fit in with their peers. However, things changed in 10th grade when she started playing on her school’s basketball team. “My coaches would always yell at me and tell me to do things that got me out of my comfort zone. I learned how to communicate with them and the girls on my team; that helped me get better at talking to the rest of the kids in my school.”
Claudia became captain of the girls’ basketball team, president of the senior class, an intern at Lear Corporation, a member of the National Honor Society, and passionate about community service work. She attributes most of it to learning how to appreciate all the things that made her different from her peers.
“My Winning Futures mentor, Shar, helped me go to the next level with my confidence. She is so energetic, and she makes you want to talk and get out of your comfort zone.”
Claudia said Shar took her and her teammates on field trips outside of Winning Futures and checked in with them through phone calls and texts.
As the oldest of three siblings, Claudia understands the importance of passing on lessons learned to those younger than she. “The most important lesson from Winning Futures that I would pass on to my peers is to learn how to be themselves,” she said.
After graduation, Claudia planned to study athletic training at Michigan State University. Her aim was to work with professional athletes, while giving back to her community. Her long-term dream included creating lasting opportunities for people living without a home in the Detroit area.