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Through Her Voice

By: Adriana Ferrufino Gomez
Springbrook High School ’24

Kira Walters found her passion for journalism as well as her voice during a tragedy her sophomore year.

Walters, 16, is a student at First Flight High School in North Carolina where she expects to graduate in June 2024.

Walters had a close friend who was struggling through drug addiction. Peers saw him as nothing else but a druggie; however, Walters knew who he really was.

“To me he was the most generous person I knew. He was just someone who cared about making others smile,” Walters said. “He was the type of person to make you feel comfortable and safe.”

Just before he got to walk across the graduation stage after four years of high school, he died due to a fentanyl-laced overdose. Walters noticed the cruel things her classmates said.

He was blamed for his own death, she said.

“Fortunately, drugs were never around me, but addiction was,” Walters said.

She began to fight back on her friend’s behalf. Addiction is one of the topics that matters most to her because she’s seen what it can do to people and the effects it has on their relationships with others.

“When individuals witness any form of the effects of addiction, they tend to blame the person for putting themselves in that situation,” Walters said. “They never think about the reason behind the addiction. Addiction starts from somewhere, that place is often not looked at — at all.”

Walters continues to spread awareness about addiction in the school newspaper. However, addiction isn’t the only topic she writes about.  Walters has a written about issues such as suicide and sexual assault.

Walters has noticed how common sexual assault was within her school, where the main target have been women. As a woman in high school, she has heard her classmates joke about harassment and even rape.

“Sexual assault has been a prime focus to me as well,”  Walters explained. “I’ve experienced it first-hand and so have millions of more (people). I want to share my story to help others know they aren’t alone and to thus illustrate the impact it can have on individuals. I hope that with my and other people’s stories we can make today a safer society.”

Walters has written articles featuring students who have experienced sexual assault.

“People have a voice, even if it was silenced for a moment.” Walters said.