Genevieve is very active in her school community at Willis Jr. High. She is part of the Chandler Gifted learning program (CATS) and maintains a high GPA with her full load of gifted classes. Being the top reader in the district by breaking the record, Genevieve participates in the reading club and currently has a total of 13 million words.
Q. Tell us more about the reading club you are involved in?
A. So at Willis, our fantabulous librarians, Ms. Farkas and Ms. Celmins, created a reading club. We met and named it the Fellowship of the Readers. We have meetings one Thursday every month where we write book reviews for the kids at our school, play games, and plan activities. We are currently planning to create a few books themed song parodies as well as a book trailer, so excited. If you join the club, then you can take AR tests, which are, what records the number of words you’ve read. Once you read 1,000,000 words, you get VIP status and get certain privileges such as sitting in the millionaire’s lounge and attending the library lock in & movie night. For the different word counts, there are different prizes. I think this is a really cool idea because it gets kids excited and motivated to read. My current word count is just above 13 million words which breaks the Willis record and the CUSD record!
Q. You are a part of the Chandler Gifted Program (CATS) tell us more about that?
A. CATS stands for Chandler Academically Talented Students and is Chandler District’s gifted learning program. The CATS program is absolutely amazing! I love it. I first tested when I was in 1st grade and made it in. I went to Knox Gifted Academy, and that was where most of my experiences have been. The CATS program allows students to learn through application. This has allowed me to remember things I don’t think I would’ve, had I not been in the program. We did most of our learning through hands-on or visual methods. This is an AMAZING way to learn. I didn’t know it then but can tell now that we learn a lot more quickly and in depth. In fifth grade at Knox we did this little side challenge to help us with remembering facts. We each had a strand that we would add beads to. Each bead was for something different, like the geography pearl, for which we had to memorize the states and their capitals. There were upgrades for like the presidents and the first ladies as well as the statehood dates. I love challenges and took this one with vigor. In the end, I gained 41 pearls. This was a helpful skill learned in fun and motivational ways. One skill that I remember focusing on a lot was engineering. Although not everyone will go into a field of engineering, everyone will need to use the skills of problem solving, teamwork, and working on a time crunch. These are all skills acquired in engineering. We learned all of the necessary content, but because we learn really quickly we were able to learn these skills which will, in some cases, be more beneficial than content.
Q. You play volleyball and soccer for school. How long have you been playing? What position do you play on these teams?
A. I have played soccer since I was in second grade with my brother Richard. We are exactly a year and two months apart, which makes us almost Irish twins. He has been one of my best friends growing up. For soccer, I played positions everywhere as a little kid but I most recently play in the position of left forward. I started volleyball in 5th grade and have most recently played as an outside hitter and when not playing in this position, I am always in the front row. My brother also plays volleyball on his school team at Chandler.
Q. What is your favorite part of being on a team?
A. Being on a team is like having another family. Even after a season is over, many of us stay in touch and become best friends. It feels really cool when everyone is in touch and doing everything right. A team can be either a well-oiled machine, or a creaky ancient torn apart one. When there is dissension among teammates, we will often not play as well in games so even if you don’t like someone on the team, mutual respect is required to attain the ability to play as a well-oiled machine. Though after a season of working together, it’s pretty hard not to become friends with a team.
Q. You are also in musicals, choir, and marching band, all while maintaining a 3.7 GPA…how do you do it all?
A. So to clear up a few things, I am planning on being in marching band and choir next year for high school, but currently am not. I have done numerous musicals in the past, but am not currently in one. Nonetheless, I am extremely busy between school, church, sports, hanging out with friends, and extracurricular activities. I play trumpet in the Willis jazz band, which meets zero hour before school at 8 am and play soccer, which also meets, before school at 7 am. I also have reading club and National Jr. Honor Society meetings after school a few times a month. I will soon have soccer games after school too. I sing in my church choir and have church youth activities every Wednesday night. My mom has taught me how to manage my time wisely which has helped me a lot. Another major factor is my lack of a TV. Our TV broke a while ago and we chose never to get a new one. I also work very quickly and finish most of my school work at school and complete any homework very efficiently, so that I can spend the majority of my time after school doing activities that I enjoy such as soccer games, clubs, singing, acting, or chilling with my siblings. I thrive on physical activity and keeping busy, I have a hard time sitting still.
Q. Tell us about the community volunteering you do with organizations like Feed My Starving Children and Sole Hope?
A. I have done numerous service projects with my church groups and on my own. We love FMSC because they are extremely efficient and effective in their work and they make it fun to serve others. We do a lot of Sole Hope because it is convenient for big groups because the cutting parties can happen anywhere so travel isn’t required. Basically, you collect old jeans and cut out pieces based on templates that they give you online. You mail them the pieces and they employ people mainly in Uganda to created shoes using old sterilized tires as the soles. The shoes are then given to their community. I’ve also done service at clothes cabin as well as for other people in my neighborhood and community. Service is really cool because whenever I do it I feel really happy. It also can help people recognize the bigger picture of some of the problems in our world that we often distance ourselves from through the holes we get ourselves stuck in through social media and selfishness, as is the human nature. Service has only positive repercussions.