Age 15.
Attending Fletcher High School.

When Brooke was in crisis, there were plenty of caring adults around her. But it was other teens that made the biggest difference in her life.

Last fall, Brooke took part in Challenge Day, a school program that helps teens open up to each other to overcome differences. It often leaves an indelible mark on students and adults who experience it, and Brooke was no exception. She was even inspired to take the lessons of openness and love home, where she used them to develop a stronger bond with her father.

A month later, the unthinkable happened: After undergoing routine surgery to his shoulder, her father died. Shockwaves of grief left Brooke immobilized. She couldn’t imagine going back to school, despite the pleas of her family.

Once again, her peers made the difference in her life: Her friend Amber kept up with her, calling every day, going with her to every class on that first day back, inspiring her to stay in school.

“After I realized that I had all these people in my life at the school, it was lot easier to stay,” Brooke said.

Today, just seeing Amber and other friendly faces in the halls helps Brooke stay on track, knowing they want her to succeed.