EVERETT — Gabrielle Schmidt graduated from Everett High School this month and is headed to Gonzaga University, where she’s eyeing a career that would put her artistic skills to use.
Schmidt earned a 3.7 grade point average in high school, while swimming competitively all four years. She works as a lifeguard and swim instructor for Everett Parks and Recreation.
All the while, she’s remained active in her church, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. To recognize her accomplishments, the Knights of Columbus Council 763 in Everett awarded her a $2,000 scholarship to help further her education.
The 18-year-old credits faith and family for her success.
Question: What do you plan to study at Gonzaga?
Answer: My whole life, I’ve always been art focused. I’ve always been into painting, tons of art classes. So I kind of want to do that in my life and make a difference. I wanted to do international marketing with more of a focus on art, putting my creative design into products and just travel, because I really love traveling.
Q: Speaking of travel, tell us about the church mission you took last year to the area around Antigua, Guatemala.
A: I had a 10-day mission trip to Antigua. Basically, we were just focused on immersing ourselves in the culture. We had a couple of days building ovens for the locals down there. (The stoves they helped build vented outside, preventing smoke from filling the inside of homes while cooking.)
It was amazing, just meeting everyone down there. They were all so nice and welcoming. And we went to a ton of historical places. It was just really interesting seeing how different the culture is there compared to here.
It just really humbled me. Here we are all so focused on materialistic things and having so much.
Q: What about the homeless club at your high school?
A: My three friends and I, we wanted to make a difference in Everett and get the high schoolers out and about in our town because there’s such a big homeless problem. It took most of the year to get it certified, but we started making scarves for the homeless with our teacher.
Q: Has church been important for you?
A: I grew up with church and religion and the Catholic faith. My family always made it a priority in my life, so I knew the importance of it and knew right from wrong. It was always really important to me throughout my life as I continued with harder decisions.
Q: How do you feel about the scholarship from the Knights of Columbus?
A: Any scholarship helps, but it was really important to me that it came from the Knights because my dad is in the Knights of Columbus. It meant a lot to me that I was chosen because I know the importance of what they do, and they are really great people over there.
Q: Do you want to say anything about your family?
A: Honestly, I don’t think I could do anything that I have done without them. They have always been there to love and support me. When I am down and I just want to give up, they are always there to get me going and to remind me about my faith, remind me about what’s important.
My dad always says, “Remember, your priorities are faith, family, school and friends.” That’s really stuck by me throughout my life. It helps me accomplish things and helps show me what’s important in my life.
Also my mom, she’s always been there to have that big mom hug when things go wrong in high school. I just owe everything to my parents.
Q: Swimming also is a big part of your life, right?
A: I started swimming at Forest Park for swim lessons (in pre-school). I went all the way up to competitive readiness. One of the workers there told me, “Hey, you’re ready for club.” I started swimming competitively for the StingRay Swim Club. I did that for like six years. It’s always been a constant in my life. It’s shown me discipline.
I’m so grateful for all of my teammates because they always taught me to keep going, to keep pushing yourself, don’t give up. Honestly, I thank swimming and sports for who I’ve grown to be as a person. Even in non-sport things, I’ve been taught to never give up. And I made great friends on that team.
Then, after club, I was varsity four years on the Everett (High) swim team. This year I was captain. Being captain, it taught me a lot of leadership skills, showing how to bring a ton of different people into one team.