Hello! My name is Mary Ann Richardson Pratt. I grew up in California with 5 other fun and rambunctious siblings, and two wonderful parents. There I am in the middle of the first picture when I was a baby. Here we are at one of our many trips to Disneyland, I am the blonde on the left.
This brings me to my life of magic. Growing up life seemed perfect, and I thought it was that way for everybody. Everything went by wonderfully, and there were many magical days of my childhood life.
However, I remember the first time in history class when we learned about the Spanish conquests to South America. I cried all day when I got home from school. I could not believe that so many awful things had happened to those innocent people. That day I wrote a letter to the President of the United States, proclaiming that love must be achieved throughout the world.
As time went by, I forgot the circumstance and was soon living my life once again in my own little happy world. However, this all changed again when I decided to serve a mission. I had always wanted to go, and once the age was changed, it was the perfect chance. I soon received my call to Antofagasta, Chile.
My mission was hard. Really hard. I did not understand anything for so long, so I did not really know what people were going through. When I started to understand, I realized a lot of things about life that I never knew before. Life was rough, and really scary for most people. After a year and a half of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to many Chilean people, I came home and went back to school. Through many closed doors I discovered the Latin American Studies major. However, I still did not have a plan really, just getting through school so I could be a mom.
Then, this past semester I went to a campaign about women in education. As the speaker laid out the benefits of education, I realized how much education affects societies and people. I realized that maybe that was a way that I could continue to help the people of South America, and in my own way, spread love throughout the world, like I had so wanted to do when I was younger. If I could help girls to have the same magical experiences that I myself had, I could change so many lives. I thought of so many girls I knew that could have a chance to receive higher education if prompted and helped in the right direction.
There are so many women and girls I know who did not get an education just because it was not really what was done. I want to help more girls receive the benefits and blessings that education brings. If more women are educated, society will progress faster, families will be happier, and life will improve for all. I am still unsure of how I will accomplish this, but through my next years at BYU, I hope that I can learn how to make a small change for at least a few women to make their lives better.