15-year-old determined to take on new challenges to help her community

15-year-old Abby Elwart is determined to take on new challenges to help her community and the world

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- To the chagrin of some in our world, today’s young people are our future.

While millennials and Gen-X’ers sometimes get a bad rap of being lazy, entitled or social media obsessed, there are many young people out there doing amazing things for our community. All week, THV11 is highlighting kids in central Arkansas who are well on their way to changing this world for the better. They are our “Gold Medal Kids.”

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Abby Elwart, a freshman at North Little Rock High School, is certainly one of them. Nearly 30 people wrote letters to THV11 saying that Abby was deserving of being recognized for all she has done to set an example.

At only 15 years old, Abby is a self-taught musician, award winning volunteer, and full of adventure.

Unlike many kids and adults who are totally plugged in to all things social media, Abby was homeschooled for a semester after taking an incredible, off-the-grid trip with family and other community members. She rafted the entire Grand Canyon from start to finish in 25 days while living on the river out of a raft.

Her mother Jillian Elwart said Abby took on every challenge in stride.

“Abby was very helpful and very respectful of others on the trip and she was the youngest one in the group and really held her own.”

It was through that trip that Abby gained the confidence to challenge the status quo and make a tangible difference in her community. Since returning, she has been very active in the Mayor’s Youth Council where she was recently awarded volunteer of the month for December. One of the main reasons she was selected was because she helped collect nearly 200 peanut butter jars to give out to the community's homeless. She also campaigned in her school to help get more students involved in community service and now serves in her school's student council.

Abby’s teachers said she is the perfect example of what a student should be and a great example of a North Little Rock Charging Wildcat. One of her mentors, Sheire Coleman, said Abby makes teaching a dream.

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“She’s always prepared, she always has her work ready, and she has that intrinsic motivation to be outstanding,” said Coleman. “She wants to excel academically.”

Abby’s Civics and Economics teacher, Kyle Hicks, said he has been consistently impressed by Abby. He called her the “real deal”.

“She is definitely an individual in the most positive sense in the word. She doesn’t get too caught up in what other kids may think and she’s proud of who she is.”

While Abby certainly stays busy and has a lot going on, she said she is determined to accomplish even bigger dreams for her future.

“I want to go to school in California and study physics or engineering. I want to do something in the STEM field like astrophysics, nuclear physics or mechanical engineering.”

She also hopes to be part of tackling big issues affecting people across the globe.

“Something that I really want to see myself accomplish or people in general is ending child hunger,” she said. “There are very big problems that need attention.”

Abby’s soon-to-be stepdad, Trey Moore, said Abby is not only a stellar student and community member, she is a good person with a heart of gold.

“Abby can change the world by being an example of what it means to be a great person, but she could also change the world by being a true leader in whatever discipline she decides to go in. She has all the tools in the toolbelt to inspire people and change the world.”