Name: Taylor Walton, Avon High School Class of 2011 graduate
Senior Mastery Project: Weapons of mass destruction. Links to Al-Qaeda. Human rights abuse. It was under these pretenses that the United States invaded Iraq in 2003, beginning a war that still continues on today. Since then, we've found no evidence of weapons of mass destruction, links to Al-Qaeda or human rights abuse in Iraq. So, why hasn't the war ended? Through her research, Walton explored possible lies and deceptions that initiated the war, the war's effect on soldiers and why the war hasn't ended yet.
Her personal experience with the war: "My dad went to the war and I didn't understand why he was going when I was much younger...Now that I'm older, I still don't understand and that's after numerous amounts of research. It still doesn't make sense to me," Walton told Patch.
Lies and Deception: "Some of the lies that were told never had evidential support. They said there had been a connection between Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaeda, but they never found ties [between them]. They were separate groups," Walton said.
The War's Impact on Soldiers: According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, out of the 1 million troops that left active duty in Iraq or Afghanistaton, 46 percent used VA services. Of those veterans who used VA care, 48 percent were diagnosed with a mental health problem. Many veterans with mental health issues go untreated because they're afraid of being treated differently or seeming weak.
On why we're still in Iraq: "We really impacted [their lifestyle] and after making such a huge impact on it, their way of life really declined. I think we feel obligated to stay there until we can get it back to where it was when we first went in," Walton told Patch.
About Taylor: She works as a lifeguard and enjoys swimming, going to the beach and art. While attending Avon High School, she participated in cheerleading and the swim team.
College Bound: This fall, she's attending Mount Saint Mary College in New York to study education.