Saige Peterson has built a lot of success in her 18 years. On Monday afternoon, the Smith-Cotton High senior shared motivation and encouragement with female students at Horace Mann Elementary School to ensure they know that they are capable of all she has experienced and more.

Peterson is a perpetual motion machine: She is an honor roll student, active in many S-C clubs and organizations, holds school records in the girls 800 meters and as a member of the girls 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams, runs her own online business and has a burgeoning career as a fashion model. Horace Mann Principal Dr. Todd Fraley saw Peterson as the embodiment of inspiration for his female students

“Ms. Peterson's achievements over the past few years present a shining example of what the American Dream is all about,” Fraley said. “I believe that too many girls in our society still don't realize their true potential. I feel as if some may still not believe in their value. This value includes equality, education, entrepreneurship, athleticism, independence and self-worth.”

Peterson serves as a "Tiger Tutor" at Horace Mann Elementary, assisting younger students. Fraley believed that “our girls needed to hear her story,” so he asked Peterson to deliver a message of empowerment.

Peterson shared stories about overcoming fears.

“I decided my fears of talking in front of people or running in front of people were only fears because I was doing something important,” she said. “I was doing something that mattered. If you are doing something that matters in life, you are doing the right thing; if you are doing the right thing, then you know you are on the right path.”

Peterson encouraged the students to pursue their dreams with confidence, which she said “starts with your brain and ends with your heart.”

“You have to feel good about yourself,” she said. “You have to think positive thoughts, you have to love the way you are.”

Peterson’s presentation hit home with the girls.

Sedalia School District 200
Sedalia School District 200

"It was inspiring," said fourth grader Emma Olmedo, "because she talked about … dreaming big, and she always had that picture about dreaming big to remind her."

Fourth grader Sophia Carver said, "I liked it. She was telling people how to be kind to others. She was telling us to pursue our dreams."

Dr. Fraley also was pleased with Peterson’s talk.

“She presented a great message of dreaming big, working hard, spreading kindness, how life changes, and how to follow your mind and heart to achieve success,” he said.


In the photos: PIC1: Smith-Cotton High School senior Saige Peterson stresses the importance of kindness during a presentation Monday afternoon for girls in grades 2 through 4 at Horace Mann Elementary School.

PIC2: Saige Peterson explains to Horace Mann female students that the “butterflies in the stomach” she experienced when she was younger were signs that she was about to do something important.​

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