At McCallum, Bradsby learned how to be herself, how to speak out
June 9, 2023
Bradsby plans to attend SUNY Purchase in upstate New York for creative writing in the fall, in hopes of becoming a notable children’s author.
“They have a really good creative writing program,” Bradsby said. “I go to go visit it and what I like about McCallum is what Purchase is for me, so like I’m excited about that because it’s McCallum without the stuff I don’t like.”
Bradsby hopes to continue to be involved in recreational activities that bring her gratification and community.
“I’d definitely continue writing and maybe a recreational sport like volleyball,” Bradsby said. “There’s a lot of biking, which would be fun, and it’s an art school so art, so I’ll be surrounded by art and music.”
The first time Silvio Guzman waved at me in the hallway, I almost cried. I was like ‘Oh my god I’m a person at McCallum now.’
— Josie Bradsby
Throughout her time at McCallum, her involvement in PALS impacted her the most.
“Nothing had made me feel as involved or as meaningful or important as PALS did,” Bradsby said. “It just really bonded me with people at McCallum, and I thought that was really cool. The first time Silvio Guzman waved at me in the hallway and was like ‘Hi Josie!’ I almost cried. It was so overwhelming, I was like ‘Oh my god I’m a person at McCallum now, like people know who I am.’”
Bradsby will most miss her TA period with Ms. Seckar’s Algebra I class, interacting and mentoring McCallum underclassmen.
“I have a good time with them, and it’s really fun to interact with them and have those one-off interactions where it’s really easy to talk to them,” Brasby said. “I feel like I’m gonna miss not only them but that aspect of high school where you could be in mixed classes where one’s a freshman and you’re just kind of there, and you just get to see them live.”
Bradsby feels that all of her English teachers greatly impacted her life in helping her build confidence in her writing, encouraging her pursuit of creative writing. She feels Ms. Northcutt helped her get through online school when it was over Zoom and difficult to engage.
“Ms. Northcutt really helped me through all of that and that was really good and it was good to have some positive feedback when I felt like my lowest,” she said.
Bradsby and Reedy joined photojournalism together freshman year and later went on to join The Shield where they had Mr. Winter for all four years of high school.
“I love Mr. Winter,” Bradsby said. “He always makes me feel loved. Even when I’m not doing work that I’m supposed to be doing, he still has that unconditional love for me.”
Reedy shared similar sentiments to Mr. Winter, praising his care for his students despite all circumstances.
“He’s a teacher who isn’t afraid to prioritize his students’ needs,” Reedy said. “He says he’ll love us no matter how little work we do in the class. He’ll love us the same amount he loved us freshman year.”
Bradsby’s biggest takeaway from high school is to be authentically yourself. She feels that being true to who you are enables you to find your people.
“[High school] taught me that people will like me even if I’m really aggressively me,” she said. “I was really scared at the beginning of high school to be myself especially because of quarantine. I came back to school and was like, ‘Yeah I’m openly queer, I dress very aggressively sometimes, and I’m pretty loud.’”
Bradsby feels the biggest thing she’ll carry with her from McCallum is the way it taught her to positively relate to others.
[High school] taught me that people will like me even if I’m really aggressively me. I came back to school after quarantine and was like, ‘Yeah I’m openly queer, I dress very aggressively sometimes, and I’m pretty loud.’
“I’ve made really good relationships here that I hope I keep, and even if I don’t everything I like learned with how I’ve interacted with students here and like my peers and teachers I can apply to my life,” she said. “The school has really supported me in speaking out and it makes me very happy to be able to help people.”
As a student leader in KASA, Bradsby feels that the organization has been vital in amplifying students’ voices, advocating for survivors, and cultivating a support system for McCallum students.
“KASA has really helped me develop that sense of importance when it comes to what we do as individuals and I really want to keep that with me,” she said. “I want to be able to be proactive and try and stop things before they happen and be very vocal about it.”
Although nervous about the transition to college, Bradsby feels excited about the freedom to meet new people and grow into herself through these new experiences.
“It’ll be good to be able to go into college being who I want to be and not having the stigma of people who you maybe grew up with being like ‘Well that can’t be who you are because I knew you and you were eight and you weren’t like that,’” she said.
After experiencing her older sister leaving for college, Bradsby knows that transition in the family can be hard; however, she hopes to maintain a strong connection with her younger sister Elyza.
“I feel like my sister has helped support me all throughout my life, she’s my biggest advocate and I’m very much an Elyza advocate, I love that girl,” Bradsby said. “I just wish that I could be here to support her. I also think that she’ll be fine. It’ll just be a transition for me.”