GREEN When Green High School junior Isabella Doyle was an eighth-grader, she realized from personal experience that pro-life beliefs are part of her DNA.

Now three years later, she is one of only 10 high school students nationwide and the only Ohioan receiving the 2020 Students for Life Thaddeus Stevens Fellowship award for her passion, devotion and pro-life leadership in her community.

The youngest of three children of Green residents David and Rosette Doyle, Isabella, 17, was chosen for the honor from among dozens of applicants nationwide, according to Mary Briganti the effective education coordinator for Students for Life in America, based in Fredericksburg, Va.

“These students are all absolutely phenomenal,” said Briganti, referring to all the applicants during a recent phone interview. “They are so organized and dedicated, an it was very hard to narrow the list down to 10, believe me.”

Isabella applied for the fellowship several months ago after being encouraged by senior Claudia Isakov, who was the first Green student to receive the national honor. Claudia will complete her term at the end of the month three days after graduation May 28.

Two years ago, Claudia and Isabella, Skyler Arny and Ally LaPenes co-founded the high school’s Right to Life Club, which has grown to more than 20 members.

“I was very excited to see the email [announcing her honor], and I’m really excited to get the experience offered by the other Fellows and the national staff to share with the community,” Isabella said.

Mark Tomecko, Green social studies teacher and department chair who oversees the Right to Life Club’s activities, described Isabella as “a great, highly motivated student and a natural leader, with a passion for protecting the unborn.”

“She and a small group of students started the Right to Life club at GHS and have done everything to get it off the ground and growing,” he said.

Asked how she became a pro-life advocate, Isabella said she was determined to become a pro-life advocate hearing a story in eighth grade about her own birth.

“I knew my position was pro life when mother said when she was pregnant with me that a doctor recommended [to her and my dad] that I not be born because of what possibly could be a heart abnormality,” she recalled. “Because of our family’s support system, she ignored the doctor’s suggestion and had me. And there was no abnormality.

“When told that story, I realized right then that I was a pro-lifer.”

Isabella explained that because of the pandemic, the kickoff weekend originally set for July 31 to Aug. 3 will be a virtual kickoff with the fellows getting acquainted via conference calls and other means rather than going to the nation’s capital for meetings and other activities.

Briganti said all the materials the fellows would have received in Washington will be sent to them and they will work with each other and a regional mentor throughout the year to raise awareness of the program, which was started in 2010.

After high school, Isabella plans to go to college and then take her leadership skills into public service.

Claudia said she has found the year-long fellowship program to be very influential to her.

"I loved being able to learn from strong pro-life leaders and from the other fellows,“ she said. ”I made life-long friends that were just as passionate about the pro-life movement as I am.’

She will attend the University of Akron, where she will major in nursing with a minor in psychology.

“I plan on joining the Students for Life Club at UA and volunteering at local pregnancy centers to help pregnant and parenting young women. I can’t wait to be an activist for the unborn in the future,” she said.