Trinity Seegars believes people don’t have to “stick with the label” society has given them.
“You can overcome anything as long as you just carry yourself with elegance and pride,” the Gainesville High School freshman said, particularly speaking of those who grow up in poverty or otherwise bad environments.
Power of the Purse Fundraiser and Fashion Show
When: 5 p.m. Sept. 26
Where: Chattahoochee Country Club, 3000 Club Drive, Gainesville
How much: $75
More info: 770-503-9060, firstname.lastname@example.org
Seegars won first place in an essay contest put on by WomenSource, a nonprofit organization in Hall County that works to empower women. She will be one of the models at the organization’s annual Power of the Purse Fundraiser and Fashion Show.
A group of women and girls who “have built a life of leadership” will walk in the fashion show, according to Julie Nicholson, one of the chairs for the event.
“I was surprised,” Seegars, 14, said about winning. “I was really surprised.”
She admitted she didn’t even want to write about the topic at first, which was “#2Kind2BeMean.”
“I didn’t think I could relate to the prompt they gave us,” she said. “I thought it would be a waste of time, but my mom convinced me to do it.”
Seegars’s mom, Tosha Patel, said Trinity told her everyone else threw away the brochure, but she told her daughter she was not like everyone else.
“Like I told her, it wasn’t whether you win or lose, it was that you tried and that you did it,” Patel said. “And you took part in something that’s big right now in the community, and that is bullying.”
So with encouragement from her mom, Seegars decided to enter the contest.
“At the time when I started writing the essay, I went to Gainesville Middle School,” Seegars said. “With the election and all, everyone was kind of at a political standoff. So I kind of wrote the essay about carrying yourself in situations like that. I talked about how I myself had endured things like that, like racism and prejudice.”
She said the goal of her essay was to let people know they are not “what (they) come from.”
Seegars said she is excited to have the chance to model and hopes to encourage young ladies through her experience.
“There (are) so many expectations out there,” she said. “Girls my age often have issues with their body or are victims to body shaming. I think it will be cool to see someone they can relate to up on a stage modeling.”
She’s also looking forward to meeting the other models.
“I think it’s a real honor,” she said. “I never knew there were this many successful businesswomen here in Gainesville, and it was really cool to see.”
The event is set for 5 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Chattahoochee Country Club, after it was postponed due to damage from Tropical Storm Irma.
“This is our annual fundraiser where we highlight female leaders in the community and we bring women together to celebrate a night of women philanthropists in the community,” Elizabeth Burnette, executive director of WomenSource, said.
The second and third place essay contest winners will also model.
In addition to her essay, Nicholson also had one more thing to brag on Seegars about.
“She is also what I would consider an artist,” she said. “She’s done some drawings that are just incredible. She has actually donated a piece of her work, one of her drawings, to Power of the Purse for our art auction.”
Power of the Purse Fundraiser and Fashion Show models
Anna Brown, freshman at Flowery Branch High School
Nancy Colston, The Medical Center Foundation leader
Blair Cannon Diaz, founder of Blair Diaz CPA
Beth Grimes, a partner at BatesCarter accounting firm
Yasmin Ibarra, eighth-grader at World Language Academy
Jasmine Jenkins, director of sports and fitness for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lanier
Amanda McClure, executive director of the Quinlan Visual Art Center
Marty Owens, founder of Randy and Friends, a local nonprofit serving those with disabilities
Monica Ramirez, Young Harris College student
Martha Randolph, owner of Monique's, a beauty salon & barber supply
Tina Roberts, artist and 2 Dog Restaurant co-owner
Trinity Seegars, freshman at Gainesville High School
Amanda Wilbanks, owner of Southern Baked Pie Co.
Martha Zoller, "policy person" in U.S. Sen. David Perdue’s office
Trinity Seegars’ winning essay
What does it mean to be ‘2kind2bemean?’ Some say it is just a matter of treating people the way they wish to be treated, or just being respectful in general. However, though it took me a while to realize this, it means so much more than just ‘being nice.’ It’s about how you carry yourself as an individual respecting yourself and others around you.
Before coming to realization about this topic, I pondered over it for months. “What does this mean,” I thought, “how does this even apply to me?” I began to grow increasingly frustrated with myself. Given my situation, I began to think it was pointless. How can I strive to be ‘2kind2bemean’ when I live in a society filled with hatred and discrimination, when my own school is in a racial and political stand off. Even when trying to be nice I am constantly faced with the opposite. Then one day a friend came up to me and said something. She said, “Trinity, you’re intelligent, you’re kind, you’ve undermined every negative stereotype applied to you (due to race and gender). Even when faced with the utmost discrimination and disrespect, you carry yourself with the utmost poise and confidence and treat others with the same respect. I want to be like you”/ I didn’t understand why she said this or how she could think that highly of me, but I then began to recall all the times I was ‘2kind2bemean.’
For as long as I can remember I’ve been considered smarter than the average student. I take honors classes and am often the only black girl in them. I remember my first year of middle school I walked into my first class (which was an honors class) and was surprised to find that I was the only black female student. My teacher assumed I’d accidentally walked into the wrong classroom, because the majority of the black students were in lower-leveled classes. The judgmental stares and whispers went on for months, that is until I made a perfect score on the final exam (graduating the sixth grade with perfect grades).
I also remember an interesting encounter I had with a boy in 7th grade. He was in my home room class (which was also an honors class) and for some reason he had convinced himself that I didn’t belong in that class. He made it his obligation to insult me everyday with racial slurs and ridicule me when he received a higher grade than me on a test. He even went as far as to say that he “hated the sound of my voice”. In return I simply smiled and replied,” I’m sorry you feel that way”. I from then on made it my obligation to speak to him everyday. Every morning I would tell him hello and ask him about his day; to which he would simply ignore me or roll his eyes. I did this for months until one day he began to talk back. Till this day we’ve been close friends.
Being 2kind2bemean has a much deeper meaning than what most think. It’s being able to carry yourself with respect and being able to exhibit hospitality and respect to those who don’t show you respect. It’s being that factor in society that sets the bar for others and realizing that even one individual can make a difference in their own life and the environment around them. Anyone can be this way and it’s something that I personally believe that everyone (boy and girl) should strive for.