BEST and BRIGHTEST: De Gracia seeks out life’s opportunities

NANAIMO: Carmela de Gracia loves to try new things.

Carmela de Gracia

Carmela de Gracia

Carmela de Gracia loves to try new things.

When she entered high school, she joined as many clubs and teams as she could fit into her days – the swim club, volleyball, the school band, wrestling, dancing, basketball, soccer and sea cadets in the community.

The John Barsby Secondary School graduate loves the challenge of learning and then excelling at a wide variety of activities.

“Just seeing that I can do it, taking advantage of everything,” said de Gracia. “I like expressing myself, showing what I can do.”

Some lunch hours in her junior years, she took on so much that she had no time to eat.

Last school year, she scaled back a bit so she could focus on a few areas, including achieving high grades in science, math and fine arts courses, and taking on a leadership role with the 136 Amphion Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps, of which she held the second highest position.

As regulating petty officer, her job was to ensure the dress, drill and deportment of the roughly 80 cadets were up to standard.

“I get to really push myself,” said de Gracia. “You can’t make a mistake when you’re telling someone what to do because their safety is involved. I like having my own voice and speaking up.”

Through sea cadets, she sailed the B.C. coast with nine other cadets, captained the seamanship team that came in first in the provincials this year and played the snare drum in the provincial cadet honour band.

The leadership skills de Gracia learned along the way have served her well in school and other aspects of her life.

She is the student most often picked by her peers to speak up on issues and possess the time management skills needed to juggle a full schedule while achieving top grades.

On top of cadets and her academic success, de Gracia played the alto saxophone in her school’s senior jazz band and senior jazz combo. She also sang duets on occasion, both in the jazz band and through the glee club she formed at her school.

And for her athletic side, she joined the school’s wrestling team for fun – and while she decided not to compete, she enjoyed challenging others to unofficial matches.

“I’m quick and small and I guess I’m competitive,” said de Gracia.

She will study kinesiology at Vancouver Island University with the help of a full-ride scholarship and hopes to go into medicine.

Sandy Dudley, commanding officer of the local sea cadets squadron, said de Gracia has a strong work ethic and is a natural leader.

 

“Cadets automatically follow her,” she said. “She looks at both sides of everything to make sure that every cadet is treated fairly. She also does a lot of mentoring.”

Just Posted

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

(PQB News file photo)
Fireworks report highlights enforcement challenges for Regional District of Nanaimo

Director: ‘I just think it’s wasting everybody’s time’

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

A view of the outside of St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral on Victoria’s Blanshard Street. (Don Denton/News staff)
Vancouver Island bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon of the Diocese of Victoria voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

Most Read