Claire Heiden

George C. Marshall High School

Class of 2017

What extracurricular activities and hobbies do you enjoy?

I am President of Virginia DECA, but when I'm not in a blazer I enjoy surfing and playing field hockey. I also participate in Model UN, Debate, Student Government, and Girl Scouts.

If you played Major League Baseball, what would be your walk-out song?

Midnight City by M83

What has been your proudest moment?

My proudest moment was screening my documentary and Gold Award presentation to a group of my friends. Unfortunately, I was bullied. The documentary was a culmination of research and rediscovering myself, and featured a call to action to end bullying alongside testimony from my peers, school counselors, and neuroscientists. I'm proud of how I was able to turn a negative experience into a positive opportunity for growth. 

What would the title of your autobiography be?

High Heels and High Aspirations

Why are you committing to the Inspired Year?

I want to empower my classmates to use their voice and participate in our local and statewide governmental affairs. By improving political efficacy in our generation, our democracy is more representative of the people. We have the power to propagate tangible change, and I want to participate in that movement.

What does civic engagement mean to you?

Civic engagement means investing oneself in their community and their government. Civic engagement reaches beyond simply participating obligatorily; it's enthusiastically seizing every opportunity to better the community and democracy by using every privilege and motivating others to become involved.

What's your favorite thing about Virginia?

I love all of the geographic micro-cultures. It really is a melting pot of diversity. The Commonwealth is home to millions of passionate, opinionated, and motivated individuals with a broad range of experiences and stories. I am proud to live in a state that affords such exposure to different walks of life. 

Where would you like to see Virginia in 20 years?

I would love to see Virginia strengthening our educational system around the state by deemphasizing standardized testing and increasing career and technical education. I'd also love to see programs designed to empower women in politics, and more female representation in the legislature. Economically, I would love to see efforts to reduce income inequality, and a movement to close the wage gap between men and women.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?

I'm a shameless self promoter; follow me on social media!