Lily Reighard had a knack for winning arguments from an early age.
Whether the goal was a pet dog or her mother’s vote for a certain candidate, the Boiling Springs High School senior made a persuasive case for why she needed a buy-in from an adult.
“If I wanted something, I would come out with a PowerPoint or close to it,” Reighard said. “I list the pros and use the sandwich method to put the cons in there.”
That means she would bookend every negative with two positives to gently push her agenda.
When in trouble, Reighard wrote an apology essay to slip underneath her mom’s pillow.
“I would win her back every time,” she said. “Of course, when I got older, it worked less. Mom knows the game a little bit more. My mom is a tough nut to crack.”
Two years ago, she said she stood by her mother as her parents went through a difficult divorce. Though she said her father never physically abused her mother she said he used words to cause emotional harm.
“I would stick up for Mom and get the brunt of it,” Reighard said. “I would never wish it on anybody but I would never take it back because it helped shape me and shaped my interest in victim advocacy. Growing up, my mom used to say I always win an argument … that I should take after so-and-so and become a lawyer.”
Attorneys abound on her mother’s side of the family, giving Reighard a familiar frame of reference to pursue a career in law. A chance meeting last spring at a rally in Carlisle provided her with a focus.
Nancy Chavez was among the speakers on victims’ rights. While Chavez survived an abusive relationship, her daughter Randi Trimble was murdered in 2003, a victim of domestic violence.
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Chavez started Randi’s House of Angels in Camp Hill to offer referral and support services to people in need. The programs of this nonprofit organization include a three-day therapeutic camp and a club for children who experience or witness domestic violence.
“She told her own story,” Reighard said of Chavez. “The whole crowd was weeping. She turned her story into something inspiring.”
The speech gave Reighard an idea. She approached Amber Stewart, the career coordinator at Boiling Springs High School. Part of Stewart’s job is to manage programs that allow students to participate in career-related internships, co-ops and volunteer experiences in local businesses.
Arrangements were made for Reighard to work a fall internship with Randi’s House of Angels. Her latest assignment is to research how youth groups are formed so Chavez could provide an outlet of support to older teens.
Reighard is not sure if she would have the room in her spring schedule to allow her internship to continue into next year. She would like to help out and interact directly with the children during the summer camp.
For now, Reighard would like to pursue a degree in prelaw with a focus on leadership and victim rights advocacy. She also hopes to dive competitively in college.
“Diving is a little known sport but one that I hold close to my heart,” she said. “I started diving officially my freshman year and fell absolutely in love with it.”
Each year of high school, she qualified for the Mid-Penn and District competitions. As a junior, she was seeded to be 17th at the AA state completion but came away earning a fifth-place medal.
“I became the highest placing female medalist for diving in my school’s history,” Reighard said. “I’m just doing it for enjoyment and improvement comes along with it.”
To her, diving is an escape, a time to get away from all the drama and focus on self-care and self-therapy. She credits her success in diving to discipline she learned in practice and applied in competition.
The high school diving season starts in early December.
Email Joseph Cress at email@example.com.