PCDS Seventh Grader, NIAMH, is a Dedicated Student and Athlete

Niamh started school in London, England, before moving to Chicago and then Phoenix. Niamh has played tennis since she was 3 years old, and her favorite athlete is Roger Federer. At PCDS, she has been on the golf, soccer, basketball, and flag football teams. She has also been a class representative on the student council and a mentor for new students. She is the Junior Captain of the Middle School Speech & Debate team, which won its second consecutive national championship over the summer. She loves everything related to sports, and her favorite academic subject is Science. While she is a dedicated student and athlete, she truly shines as a caring and thoughtful person.

Q. How does life in the U.S. differ from England?

A. Life in the U.S. and England is very different. In the U.S., I can actually go outside without worrying, “Hey, where’s my umbrella?” I do miss England; I miss my family, the stores, restaurants, and all the different types of candy, and just England itself. Although I miss England, the U.S. has bought me many opportunities such as my sports, school, and outside activities. When I was in England, it was in the years equivalent to preschool to 1st grade. School is different in England because, first off, you had to wear a uniform with a blazer and tie, and second, instead of starting half-day kindergarten at five years old, you start full-day school at four years old.

Q. Being a skilled tennis player, who do you play with? Do you have any family members or friends that can keep up with your level?

A. I play tennis with my coach and in groups. I enjoy playing against my dad because although he takes the edge, they are close matches, and I know I can beat him pretty soon! I also enjoy playing with my coach, Matt, because he is like a best friend to me and it is challenging to play against him, which is what I like. The reason I am at my current level is because of my coach.

Q. What drove your interest to become involved in speech and debate?

A. In fifth grade, I knew I wanted to do something in addition to sports. When I learned about the extra-curricular activities you could be involved in, I knew I wanted to do Speech and Debate. Nearly the entire 5th grade came to the first practice, but only three of my friends and I stayed. I knew that I wanted to keep doing it, and it payed off. Since then, I become the state champion in storytelling, and was a semi-finalist at the national tournament, and now I am the junior captain of the team. All of this would not have been possible without my amazing coach Mr. Joyce, all of the other coaches and my Speech and Debate teammates.

Q. Have you learned any skills from the debate team that you feel will be put to use in the future?

A. Before Speech and Debate, I knew I had a strong speaking voice, and by doing Speech and Debate, I have taken those skills I already had to a new level. I have learned a lot of public speaking skills and how to form an argument in debate. I am really grateful that I have these skills because in the future they will come in handy if I am giving a speech or in a press conference at a tennis tournament.

Q. Outside of school and sports, what do you do for fun?

A. I am the oldest of three. I have a 10-year-old sister who also goes to PCDS, and a seven-year-old brother who is on the Autism spectrum. For the activities that I do with my family, we have to do them a different way because of my brother. He has shaped me into the person I am, and I couldn’t ask for a better brother, or sister, mum, dad or dog. On my own, I enjoy watching TV, especially sports, and I also love to cook and bake. I enjoy cooking for my family because it really takes my mind off of my school work. I love to bake, partly so I can eventually eat my cupcakes or cookies, but mainly because I really can create cool designs with icing and sugar glass. I also enjoy magic, swimming, and fantasy football.

Niamh Campbell is a seventh grader Phoenix Country Day School.

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