Taylor Bush has persevered despite many obstacles.
The Mansfield Senior student and her family lost their home when she was in eighth grade. Unfortunately, at the time, her family had to split up and go their separate ways due to the financial difficulties and homelessness they were experiencing.
She lived with her coach for awhile. Later, she reunited with family and stayed in a hotel for some time. She received assistance from the school district's homeless liaison. Eventually, with continued support and enough money saved up, the family was able to move out of the hotel and back into a home.
In ninth grade while Taylor was still considered homeless, she earned a 3.2 GPA and was ranked 14th in the freshman class.
"We are inspired by her courage and resilience during this tough time," wrote Mansfield Senior High counselor Kayla Loughry in her McGowan Courage Award nomination letter.
During her sophomore year, Taylor learned she was pregnant. Taylor never lost focus on her academics. She finished the school year with a 3.1 GPA. She became a mother in November of her junior year.
"Although she was far along in her pregnancy, she demonstrated courage by continuing to pursue her love of music by playing in the marching band," Loughry wrote.
Taylor continues to excel in school academically and socially. She ranks at number 11.
She is captain of the volleyball team, a member of National Honor Society, senior class officer, member of student council, member of Black Culture Club, member of marching and concert band and an office helper. In addition, she has been involved in the cosmetology program, choir, softball and basketball. She also maintains a job at Bob Evan's.
She is on track to graduate in May and will be the first of her four siblings to graduate high school. She will attend The Ohio State University at Mansfield as a first-generation college student.
"Taylor has demonstrated courage, strength and resilience these last few years," Loughry said. "We are so excited for what she will achieve despite any challenges she may encounter in the future."
Taylor said she's honored to have been nominated.
"I felt like some of the things I have went through was just going to keep me in a dark place. Being in that dark place, I’ve learned that I must strive for the things I want in life as in success or a great life for my son," she said.
Her mother, Tiffany Phillips, said she's proud of her daughter's accomplishments.
"I know that she will go far, and she couldn’t make me any prouder of her,” Tiffany said.
The Rotary McGowan Courage Award is supported by these sponsors: OhioHealth, Richland Bank, Haring Realty, Mechanics Bank, Gorman Rupp, North Central State College, Richland Source, Shelby Rotary Club, The Ohio State University at Mansfield, Mansfield Art Center, The Renaissance Theatre, Snyder Funeral Home, Hamilton Insurance Group, Mansfield Area Y, Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development, Mansfield Memorial Homes, Buckeye Horizon, Chuck Warner & Associates, Baker's Collision Repair, Catalyst Life Services, Miller's Diamond Jewelry, Scott and Adena King, Charles Cook, Jon Young, Dan Phallen, Gary Stroup, Harold Davis, Steve Cummins, Karen Redfearn, Scott and Mary Young, Betty Preston, Pam Sigenthaler, Melanie Riggleman, DJ Daniels, Win Meek, Walt Chaffee, Pat Chilcote, and David Crawford.