Yes, that's me: Reisha Holton.

You may have run into me: mom of Hallie and Katie, Girl Scout and church youth leader, softball coach, cyclist, hiker, crafter, journalist and editor. And thanks to my husband, Steve, I occasionally hook a Kamloops trout on a fly line.

Issaquah and Sammamish have been home for the past 22 years.

During those 22 years on the Eastside, I've written about some of my adventures, and some of yours. And now I'm helping high school juniors and seniors write about theirs in college essays. 

Since students I mentor are asked to respond to prompts to let college admissions officers get a sense of who they are, I'll do the same.

Common App Prompt #1

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. (650 words max)

I think I was born with a spiral notebook in one hand and a Number 2 pencil in the other. My mother will not verify this information. 

I crafted stories silently on long road trips across Georgia to visit grandmothers in houses that spoke their own tales to me.  Some of these found their way to Big Chief tablets or were pecked out on a dusty Remington or Smith-Corona kept on Pop's desk for the sole purpose of typing envelopes.  There were the wild, verbal fourth grade stories we read aloud, complete with burping and bathroom noises.  Later came a refinement of my prose, predicated by high school English teachers and the study of Chaucer and Somerset Maugham, Carl Sandburg and Frost.  

It was the smear of newsprint and the clack of the typewriter keys that captured my heart.  A weekly byline in the hometown Dothan Progress was the encouragement I needed to spur me towards a Journalism degree at The University of Georgia. 

The magnetic pull and passion for the byline still exists for me, but is coupled now with an equally strong desire to help high school juniors and seniors write their college essays. Connecting with these students at this pivotal time in their lives has become pivotal to me. 

My journey to this place, to this time in my life, begins with my name, Reisha. What? Daddy, the mastermind behind this moniker, recently asked, “How’s that been working for you, your name and all?” I stared blankly at him, a myriad of names I’ve coveted flashing in my mind.  I don’t remember what I said to him. But silently to myself: You should have thought about that 54 years ago!

I have a last name – had a few actually, all legally documented. And still I wonder if my dad was trying to follow a growing trend: Cher, Madonna, Bono, Sting, Adele, Prince, Eminem.

What’s this got to do with a college essay? Everything. While I’m not sure what Sting or Eminem actually mean, my name has significance to my family and me. Re – Reuben, is – Isadore, ha – Harry.  A great-grandfather I never knew, and two grandpas: one who kept Bit o’Honeys in his pocket for me, another who taught me to crack pecans.  And since she wanted to name me Annie, my mother will verify this.

I help students find their significant story. I use the tools I was taught in a dusty upstairs classroom that housed The Red and Black. The students don’t write about the experience the world deems important. But the one about them, the one that bears their name.

We are called by our names. We are known by our stories. Now you know a part of mine.