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STUDENT FEATURE: Ouachita Senior Kelsha Goins, Published Author

Posted Date: 04/03/2024

STUDENT FEATURE: Ouachita Senior Kelsha Goins, Published Author

Ouachita Parish High School senior Kelsha Goins always felt she was a writer, but she didn’t really have the confidence to put herself out there.

She started journaling from an early age about her life experiences and the emotions that came with them, but it stayed between the pages and the four walls in her bedroom.

That all changed when Goins was introduced to the non-profit program Family Development Enterprise, led by Dr. Lula Williams. The program held workshops centered on healthy relationships. At the end of it, Dr. Williams presented aspiring writers with an opportunity to work alongside a college mentor and write a book about the challenges today’s youth face.

Goins’ journaling over the years was about to have a platform.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but I wasn’t really in the position – I have school, I have work, I have all this going on and things to do,” Goins said. “But if you’re really passionate about it, you’re going to do what you need to do get it done. It took a lot of sacrifice when it came to my social life, but I’m proud of it.”

Growing Pains published this past June on Amazon and is made up of 52 pages detailing the struggles of a teenager growing up in the southern part of the United States. Goins created the book’s main character Keela, who struggles with bullying and identity issues, but it is Goins’ own personal journey.

“A lot of people my age judge their confidence by what they do in high school,” Goins said. “Some boys are like, ‘I have to play football’. Some girls are like, ‘I have to do the dance team’. That was me. I was a dancer and wanted to do cheer because I felt like that was something I had to do to be accepted.”

Goins also enjoyed playing softball, but a tumbling injury prevented her from making the high school team.

“I never got to play high school sports, but I know God and my purpose was to write a book,” Goins said. “We all have different passions – cooking, art, some people run. It’s something you have to find – what am I good at? What do I enjoy doing instead of, ‘What is expected of you?’. It took me a long time to realize that.”

Goins said it was difficult to put herself out there at first by addressing her personal struggles, such as mental health, entering high school in the thick of the COVID pandemic and even her attempt at suicide. However, it ended up being therapy for her.

“It forced me to grow out of my shell,” Goins said. “Telling my truth and perspective on things … you can’t be scared to speak your truth. Everyone has a life story. We all have different paths. We all go through something, but going through it in different ways.”

By telling her truth, Goins found out that several of her classmates went through the same struggles – and some, who are currently going through issues, found comfort in her book and her transparency.

“When I look at the reviews, everyone has supported me,” Goins said. “Some make me want to cry – that much support from my teachers and colleagues. You’ll be surprised how somebody is going through the same thing as you, and you just being relatable can change their whole reality of life. It’s not just me that goes through that.”

Goins is a 3.6 student at Ouachita and is a part of the Grid Iron Crew, JROTC and Talented Art. She plans to study business in college and possibly minor in film studies. Her bigger vision includes seeing one of her books possibly be made into a movie one day.

Growing Pains ranks in the Top 200 in books in the category of Teen & Young Adult Nonfiction on Peer Pressure on Amazon. It is also available through Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble.

Book Overview:

GROWING PAINS are inevitable in the lives of children, teens, and young adults. So many children growing up in today's world are facing challenges unlike what previous generations have experienced. With social media and the pressure to portray yourself as something you are not simply to keep your "audience" entertained, to like you, or to gain fans and followers, children, and teenagers these days are experiencing emotional and mental issues far beyond what their parents or grandparents went through in their generation. Many are witnessing divorce within their families, as well as bullying and identity issues they simply do not know how to handle. Kelsha Dione Goins shares her transparent journey growing up in a broken home, as well as her personal experiences dealing with many of these "growing pains" in her own life. May her story bring encouragement and hope to your life