Caragan Olles–Freshman with Big Dreams, Big Actions


Clare Ravizza, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

If you’re an NDA student, by now you’ve probably heard the name Caragan Olles.

Perhaps you heard her speech at the Green Bay Optimist Club Oratorical Contest, which earned her a Gold ranking and advancement to the district competition. Or maybe you recognize her name from the Kiwanis Club Youth Awards, in which she won the Award for Excellence in Forensics.

And that’s not all. Caragan recently received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and was named the United Healthcare Youth Volunteer of the Year.

All this: an excellent orator, a decorated and selfless volunteer, and founder of Bright Young Dyslexics, and Caragan is only a freshman.

Inside the classroom, Caragan is a conscientious, hardworking, and resilient student, according to her English teacher Mrs. Brown.

Outside the classroom, Caragan and her brother Carter, a senior, are founders of a non-profit.

The Olles siblings founded Bright Young Dyslexics in March of 2013. In third grade, Caragan was diagnosed with Dyslexia. According to Caragan, she and Carter were witness to “the struggles that Dyslexics and their families have to go through,” specifically in the Midwest, and were moved into action.

Today, Bright Young Dyslexics has spread into a successful, statewide non-profit. You might recognize its initials, BYD, on a water bottle around the building, framed inside a butterfly.

“We raise money for k-12 dyslexic students in Wisconsin for assistive technology, tutoring (because it is not provided in schools and very, very expensive), and other camps and classes to help the dyslexic student succeed,” explained Caragan.

In the past, events to raise money for BYD included “chocolate sales, brat fries, bracelet sales, tennis tournament fundraisers, dress down days, fundraisers at restaurants, grant applications,” and more, according to Caragan.

Additionally, BYD’s most profitable fundraiser is the annual dinner, silent and live auction event.

This year’s event took place on March 4 and successfully raised around $12,000 for Wisconsin dyslexics.

“To date, we have raised over $75,000,” said Caragan. “We also have done six presentations to schools and more to homeschool groups, and set up dyslexia resource centers at three different library systems. We’ve also established a Youth Advisory Board with around 30 students at 5 area schools (some of which attend NDA).”

Caragan, herself an inspiration to many others, is inspired by her brother Carter.

“He’s my role model because he works hard, creates his own path and stays true to himself. Also because he has supported me throughout my dyslexia journey and in everything I do,” she explained.

“I would like to set up different branches of Bright Young Dyslexics in other states to reach more people,” she said.

Caragan hopes to expand BYD even further by doubling their funds, thus extending their reach to even more Dyslexic students.