August 11, 2018
School & Youth
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  • Maryland Commission for Women members Lorna Forde (far left) and Lee Bachu (far right), along with First Lady Yumi Hogan (middle left), presented a certificate to 2018 honoree Vivian Flanagan.
    Maryland Commission for Women members Lorna Forde (far left) and Lee Bachu (far right), along with First Lady Yumi Hogan (middle left), presented a certificate to 2018 honoree Vivian Flanagan.
  • Severna Park High School’s Vivian Flanagan joined an impressive cadre of female leaders at the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame and Maryland Women of Tomorrow 2018 induction and awards ceremony in March at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis.
    Severna Park High School’s Vivian Flanagan joined an impressive cadre of female leaders at the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame and Maryland Women of Tomorrow 2018 induction and awards ceremony in March at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis.

Vivian Flanagan Earns Maryland Women Of Tomorrow Recognition

Judy Tacyn
Judy Tacyn's picture
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June 8, 2018

Imagine being just 16 years old and being recognized by the Maryland Commission for Women as one of just five youths across the state to represent the future of women in leadership roles. For Severna Park High School’s Vivian Flanagan, any pressure she might feel with the responsibility bestowed upon her simply fuels her passion for activism.

“I do feel some pressure,” said the poised and articulate high school junior, “but at the same time, it just feels so right. We need strong women in government now more than ever. Women have such incredible compassion and strength that I don’t believe people see on the surface. So much of our roles as women include fortitude that flies under the radar.”

Perhaps it’s her ability to manage stress. Perhaps it’s her activist energy. But Flanagan wrote her state-winning application in less than 48 hours after Angie Rodriguez, vice chair of the Anne Arundel County Commission for Women, nominated her.

“I think the quick turnaround actually made my essay better,” explained Flanagan. “Applicants were asked to define a ‘woman of tomorrow’ and leadership within their community. I just wrote from the heart. I didn’t have time to feel restricted by thoughts of making it better. I wanted to make it real.”

Flanagan joined an impressive cadre of female leaders at the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame and Maryland Women of Tomorrow 2018 induction and awards ceremony in March at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis. The theme of the event was “Changing Our World: A Legacy of Leadership, Service and Excellence.”

As a student member of the Maryland Commission for Women, Flanagan joined Rodriguez on a listening tour, where people were invited to share their issues with the governor’s office.

“Vivian was right there helping and standing up for female student rights,” said Rodriguez. “This young lady impressed me from the very beginning and will be one of my absolute favorite students to serve on this board.”

Christina Bowman, English department chair and mock trial coach at Severna Park High School, has known Flanagan since she was a freshman and joined the mock trial team.

“Vivian is smart, insightful and thoughtful,” Bowman said. “Beyond that, she’s hungry for knowledge and to improve as a student and a human. I’ve been especially impressed at her ability to accept criticism and use that as an opportunity to grow. What makes her a woman of tomorrow is her ability to keep moving forward in the face of setbacks — personal and academic.”

Rodriguez called Flanagan a woman of tomorrow because she lends her voice to causes she feels are important to young people.

“She is not a student to stand by and take what is handed to her or told ‘this is how things will be,’” Rodriguez said. “She looks for the best way to solve a problem, and if that means standing up and challenging the norm, she is the one to do it. In fact, I expect her to be the first one to stand and speak out at just about any rally or event.”

Flanagan will attend the National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists Congress in Boston this summer. She will also take a family trip to California, where she will support her mother, who will participate in an Ironman competition.

This fall, don’t expect Flanagan to ease up on her senior year coursework. “I am definitely not going to let up on the gas in my final year,” said the four-time superintendent’s honor roll student.

Flanagan is undecided about college, but she does know she wants to attend a “city” school, and has targeted several of the nation’s top-rated academic institutions. Over her senior year, she hopes to find clarity in her professional career and focus on policy, medicine, law or science. She would love to work as a state attorney general or a criminal lawyer, but she’s also passionate about molecular biology and analyzing the patterns in human DNA sequences.

She calls the Women of Tomorrow recognition “bittersweet.”

“It is so hard to break through society’s expectations and stereotypes for women,” said Flanagan, lamenting the lack of local, state and federal government positions held by women, minorities and young people.

“We need elected officials who will work less for people, and much more with people,” said Flanagan. And, as she watches the national and global propulsion and mobilization of young people, Flanagan is energized by what she calls a visceral movement that is building unstoppable momentum.

“Students have a prominent place in social discourse,” said Flanagan.


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