Trying to set up an interview with St. John Paul II senior Ashleigh Reen was a lot more difficult than one would imagine.
Weekdays find her going through her academic schedule, while after school she is immersed in practice with the Lions soccer team. And as far as weekends – there was a slim window for this social-conscious teenager, who spent last Saturday doing a community service project with her girls’ soccer team.
“We’ve been renovating the old tennis courts behind the school. Weeding, cutting down trees, raking leaves,” she explained. “It’s nice to give back, but it also gives us a chance for some good team bonding.”
Being part of a sports team has been a big focus for Ashleigh who, in addition to being a midfielder on the soccer team, is a forward on the girls’ basketball team and first baseman for the Lions’ softball team. She had been slated to captain the softball team last spring.
“The coach sent me a letter apologizing that there wouldn’t be a (softball) season,” she noted. “I was disappointed, but I certainly understood. Hopefully this spring we’ll be able to have a season.”
“Softball is definitely team-based, and each person feeds off the other, and not having that community during that time really hurts, but I understand,” she continued. “We have to get over this (pandemic) first, then we can focus on sports.”
Ashleigh has been taught perseverance through her mother Donna who, two years ago, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“She’s persevered through a lot of challenges in her life,” said Ashleigh. “Just to see her strength, yet always there to lend a helping hand – especially to people who are struggling. It’s really an inspiration to me, in sports, in school and even in everyday life. I try to be that helping hand to someone else.”
Donna has fully recovered, and at the same time the message of giving has remained with her daughter.
As Ashleigh looks to her future, with the hopes of attending college to major in Chemical Engineering, her ultimate focus will be to parlay that into the construction of environmentally friendly materials.
“When I was younger, I remember hearing about the people of Flint, Michigan, and the crisis there, and it was something that I was really taken aback with,” she said. “These little girls, the same age as me, and they didn’t even have access to drinking water, and here I was drinking out of a plastic water bottle.”
“I mean, how lucky was I? My dream is to go into chemical engineering, but then to use those skills in order to help people with drinking water and national resources, especially in disadvantaged communities,” she said. “That’s what I want to do with my life, to be that change, and I want to help those people who can’t help themselves.”
She continuously recalls the words of her mother that have been an inspiration to her.
“My mom always says, ‘Be the stealth.’ She has said that to me constantly,” she said. “It means to be the person who is working in the background but working hard. In other words, don’t go flaunting your achievements. It’s better to do work quietly for a good purpose, than to do it for bragging rights.”
Ashleigh Reen may be someone who works quietly in the background now, but if she can accomplish what she wants in the future, she will be remembered for achieving a lot of good in this world.
20 Questions with Ashleigh Reen
1. Favorite subject: Chemistry
2. Favorite book: “A Court of Thorns and Roses” by Sarah J. Maas
3. Favorite food: Literally all fruit, especially peaches.
4. Favorite movie: “Tangled” and “Legally Blonde” – I can’t decide!
5. Favorite TV show: “Brooklyn 99”
6. Favorite Cape restaurant: Nirvana Coffee Co.
7. Favorite Cape hangout: Corporation Beach
8. Favorite sports team: Boston Red Sox
9. Favorite athlete: Lindsey Vonn
10. Favorite ’pump-up” music: “Glamorous” by Fergie
11. Best advice I’ve received: “Be the stealth.”
12. Person I’d most like to meet: C. S. Lewis
13. Hobbies and interests: Going to the beach, reading, baking, and getting coffee with friends.
14. Own greatest sports moment: Stealing the ball from an opposing player during the middle of an indirect kick.
15. Most inspirational person: My mom
16. Pregame rituals/superstitions: Hitting the top of the door before every game, pulling up my ponytail whenever I am nervous.
17. Bucket list place to visit: Sweden
18. Biggest sports setback or obstacle: Straining my knee at the end of the soccer season, then playing basketball on it while also going to physical therapy.
19. College plans / major: Chemical engineering with a tilt into the construction of environmentally friendly materials.
20. Advice to young athletes: Even when you think you are burnt out, there is always more to give.
Source By Mike Richard firstname.lastname@example.org