Stories from intrepid reporters attending the Illinois Press Foundation Journalism Workshop at Eastern Illinois University
By McKayla Braid
Plainfield East High School
Michaela Rutledge knows adversity, but she also knows how to overcome it. She learned how to overcome obstacles from watching her parents tackle theirs.
Rutledge grew up in Oak Lawn, but her parents came here from Ireland.
Her parents didn’t have a lot of money, so Rutledge grew up being taught to appreciate everything she had. “No matter how bad you have it, there’s always some one who has it worse.” This is the motto Rutledge and her family live by.
Rutledge’s role models are her parents. She respects them for teaching her that “laziness never pays off, but hard work will,” she said.
Inspired by her mother Rutledge plays Gaelic football, which is a mix of rugby and soccer. She even plays for the same team and has the same number as her mother did.
“First year I played we did not win a single game,” Rutledge said. This year, her team, Erin’s Rovers, won the North American finals with Rutledge being one of the youngest finals champions.
Her passion does not end at Gaelic football. She also has a knack for acting. “I took an acting class freshman year and fell in love,” said Rutledge, now a rising senior.
She often lands the lead in school plays, sings in the ensemble and dances in musicals. She has a love for improv acting and acts in class in her free time.
Rutledge is also involved with her school newspaper and yearbook. “I love writing; it’s my strong suit,” she said. She prefers the printed word, but her work on the yearbook is all on the computer. “I hate technology. It hates me. We have a hate – hate relationship,” she said.
Rutledge is so passionate about journalism that she is considering a career in the field; she is also contemplating careers in law and possibly international economics. Her top three colleges she would like to attend are the University of Chicago, DePaul or Seton Hall.
She wants to take all her talents passion and drive and change the world, “I want to make things better for women worldwide and help the underdog.”