It’s hard to imagine today, but Hailey Colborn struggled with self-esteem as a youngster. Yes, the reigning Miss Kansas Teen USA, former Northwest High class president and ballerina who danced the role of the Dew Drop Fairy in “The Nutcracker” last year.
A self-diagnosed overachiever, Colborn says she wanted to be as good a classical ballerina as possible. “I continually felt like a structure in need of improvement.” Colborn credits her family, an “incredible support system” and a nutritionist with helping her learn to take care of her mental, physical and emotional needs. The upshot was “a drastic improvement in my relationship with the world as a whole.”
Colborn, the Brian Bergkamp Student Service Award winner who will graduate from Northwest in May, started a program called SelfPosi three years ago to help girls with some of the same issues she faced. Originally part of a platform for a pageant she was competing in, she first tried SelfPosi out on fellow students at Northwest. Realizing the message was needed even more by younger girls, she has directed her efforts toward middle schools.
She books her appearances, recruits others to help with presentations and uses her passionate personality to make her audiences are participants in the process. “I’m surprised by how open the girls involved are willing to be,” Colborn said. “They share very personal anecdotes and really engage with the presentation.” She credits her mother – “someone with an already packed schedule” – with helping her stay organized. Hailey hopes more people will come to realize “that self-love is such an important issue that so many girls struggle with as they grow.”
A program she organized last April at McAdams Recreational Center drew more than 50 girls ages 10 to 16, who took part in workshops on issues underlying self-esteem free of charge.
Hailey is the daughter of Kevin and Denise Colborn. When not maintaining a 4.0-grade point average or volunteering for extracurricular activities, she enjoys hanging out with friends and her two dogs. She’s also a “literature fanatic” – particularly when the writers are F. Scott Fitzgerald or Toni Morrison.
One of the proudest moments of her life to date was when she was admitted early to her top choice, Princeton University. Another was when she presented SelfPosi at her former middle school, Wilbur. “I will never forget a young girl that came up to me afterwards as I was leaving, looked me in the eyes and said, ‘Thank you. I really needed to hear that today.’”