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Scecina senior who overcame adversity is honored by Kiwanis


Sarah Rayl’s grandmother died seven years ago. That was the last time the Scecina senior saw any of her biological family.

People at Scecina see Sarah as a happy student who doesn’t seem to have many cares. Most don’t know that she spent 11 years in foster homes, starting when she was just 2 months old. Or that her biological parents gave up custody of her and six siblings because they couldn’t care them. 

Sarah lived in 11 different homes and attended many different schools in Fort Wayne. 

For overcoming these challenges, she was honored this month by the Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis. Sarah was one of 26 Marion County high school students honored at the Abe Lincoln Scholarship awards program for courage and achievement. 

Sarah was adopted by Deborah Rayl and they moved to Indianapolis. Her adoptive family includes a sister who attends Little Flower Catholic School. 

Sarah gives much credit to her adoptive mom for the stability in her life. 

“She’s the one who’s pushed me to go to college and fulfill my dreams,” said Sarah, who plans to attend the University of Indianapolis to study music therapy and religion. No one in her biological family has been to college, she said. Her music and her faith in God, she said, have helped her over the years. Scecina also provides support. After attending a large middle school in Fort Wayne, Sarah likes Scecina’s small-school environment. 

“I definitely feel like I get one-on-one attention from teachers,” said Sarah. “I’m not afraid to go talk to them.” Scecina social worker Bridget Zobel nominated Sarah for the Abe Lincoln award and Spanish teacher Amy Fix wrote the letter of recommendation. 

“In 17 years of teaching in three very different types of schools, I have met many different types of students with varied backgrounds, needs, abilities, and attitudes,” wrote Mrs. Fix. “What I have not met is anyone quite like Sarah Rayl. This girl’s can-do spirit, positive attitude, strong work ethic, and amazing perseverance make her exceptionally unique.” 

Sarah is an Honor Roll student and 21st Century Scholar. She participates in Mass Choir, Women’s Choir and Advanced Choir at Scecina, as well as her parish choir at Little Flower Catholic Church. At Scecina she also has participated in the Baking Club, Key Club, and March for Life. 

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