Mental health issues prompt graduate to become psychiatrist | Herald of Copperas Cove

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Ariel Draper, a graduate of Copperas Cove High School, always has a smile on his face. Draper graduated in the class of 2022 from Copperas Cove High School in May, placing eighth out of 464 students in his class. Draper has always strived for success, enrolling in college-level courses at Central Texas College, the University of Texas at Austin, and advanced placement courses in high school.

Draper is a known leader, having been selected as early as fourth grade to attend the Lone Star Leadership Academy, which hones the skills of young elementary students demonstrating leadership traits. Draper was selected every year she was eligible, then was chosen as a teen camp leader for two years in college and went on to lead young people.

Draper’s room is filled with trophies and ribbons she earned as she strived to reach the highest levels. But beneath the surface, Draper admits she’s struggled with self-esteem, confidence and self-esteem.

“Throughout my life I’ve struggled with mental illness and I hope I can help those who are fighting similar battles,” said Draper, who plans to become a psychiatrist. “Not only have I seen up close how mental illness can destroy someone, I have felt it. I never want anyone to go through this. So, I hope to help wherever I can to make sure people can have a healthy mindset.

Draper was accepted to the University of Texas at the Austin College of Natural Sciences. She will be majoring in biology with a pre-med focus, aiming to complete her bachelor’s degree and graduate early as she continues to push her limits.

“After I complete my undergraduate studies, I hope to attend Harvard Medical School to earn my doctorate,” Draper said. “Although Harvard is my dream goal, I would be content to attend any medical school. Aim for the moon and you will land among the stars.

Despite lofty goals, Draper remains grounded in her hobbies, duties, and passions. Currently, she works at Domino’s Pizza as a delivery driver, earning her tuition one tip at a time.

Draper also loves a lot of the little things in life. Draper is a self-proclaimed “connoisseur” of breads and pastas, and enjoys art, video games, hanging out with friends, and reading. Her favorite book is “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

Draper has raised thousands of dollars for various charities through her annual “kick-a-thons” where she uses her taekwondo and hapkido skills to teach others how to properly “cut” mannequins and various other art skills martial. Draper holds a black belt in taekwondo and hapkido.

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