NEXT GENERATION: Gina makes a big splash

Gina has a lot of irons in the fire. She’s on the high school varsity swim team, is junior class president, loves performing on stage and has become a leader at a young age. Through it all, she knows who she is, who she wants to be and how faith plays a role in her life.

You are on the high school varsity swim team. What got you interested in that sport?

I have swum all my life ever since I was a little kid. My family has a membership at Cedar Lake Club, and I have loved swimming ever since I was a little baby.

How do you approach each competition? What goes through your mind?

I can get very anxious depending on the event, but usually I am able to focus on what I am about to do and calm myself. I take some deep breaths and swim the best I can. My teammates also help me feel more comfortable.

What has swimming taught you?

Above everything, it has taught me the importance of friendship and teamwork. It doesn’t matter how fast our times are as long as we can count on each other when we need to. It gave me a second family — one with encouragement, love and support for one another.

The stage also has attracted you. This past school year you performed in “Cinderella.” How did you become interested in performing?

Although I swim full time now, I used to dance for 10 years. I loved it. It was so much fun to perform on a stage — it’s so magical. I had wanted to join masque in junior high, but swim always interfered, but in high school, it was in the spring so I could do it. I plan on continuing through high school.

In school, you joined Leadership Core and were sophomore class president. Please explain what Leadership Core is.

Leadership Core is a school club that helps students realize their potential to be a leader. We have multiple guest speakers come in and talk about their experiences, and we do many things such as our week of gratitude for our staff, and we are participating in World Refugee Day as well as help other organizations. The club helps students become better speakers and be more confident.

What was your motivation in becoming class president?

I have been class president since ninth grade and recently got elected as junior class president for next year. I do it because I want to help my grade be better represented and help our grade with specifics that they want.

Do you have someone you look up to?

I am lucky enough to have more than one person to look up to, including my parents, of course. I have a friend who was my “big sister” my first year on varsity (swim team). I had looked up to her for years before I met her because she was such an accomplished swimmer. Meeting her just made her more of a role model. She embodies the spirit of optimism, love, support and kindness. She was so humble with all her accomplishments and helped make the team a family. For that, I will always look up to her and try to be as beautifully kind as she was.

You work at the parish festival and sing in the choir. What you enjoy most about both?

The festival is one of my favorite parish events each year. I get to meet new people and see people from our parish come together to create an amazing festival. It’s a great experience and I look forward to it every year.

What kind of spiritual experience does singing in the choir connect with you?

Singing, in general, makes me very happy and puts me in a better mood. Up in the choir loft, everyone is so unbelievably talented and kind, always helping me if I need it. They are also very supportive of me even though I had only recently joined. I makes Mass more meaningful to me. Singing at Mass, to me, makes it more personal. I understand and feel closer to God when I am in the choir. It makes me feel more involved in my faith, and I get more out of singing than anything else.

Do you share your faith with others?

It’s not something I do often because lots of people my age don’t realize the importance that faith and God have in our lives. But when people go through rough times I will tell them to pray and to have faith that things will get better one day. I also tell them that I will pray for them as well.

What does this parish mean to you?

This parish is much more than a gathering of people — it is a community, a family. We are different people with different cultures, histories and personalities, but we all come together in our faith. I have been to other parishes, but what we have here at Mount Carmel is extremely special and something I cherish.

What do you hope the future holds for you?

I’m not sure what the future holds, but I would like to go to school to become an orthodontist. It has always fascinated me, but I am excited for what the future may hold for me.

Gina C.

Family: Mom, dad, brother, sister.

Things you like to do: Swim, perform on stage, learn to be a leader.

Favorite classes in school: History, science, math.

Favorite TV show: “Friends.”

Favorite quote: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Note to readers

Diocesan guidelines prohibit the publication of last names, ages, parents and siblings names, and any other personal information for people younger than 18.