RUMFORD — Brittany Garcia wants to change lives and have a positive impact. She believes the best way to do that is to become a kindergarten teacher.
The Mountain Valley High School senior, who will graduate Saturday, has been chosen as the only recipient of the National Principal's Leadership Award in the state.
“She is a great representative from Mountain Valley High School, and she'll be an outstanding teacher,” said Matt Gilbert, principal of MVHS who nominated her for the award.
Every high school in the state can nominate a senior student for the honor.
Brittany, 18, daughter of Steven and Denise Garcia of Rumford, was chosen by the National Association of Secondary School Principals, based in Reston, Va., for the Principal's Leadership Award.
“I was surprised. I feel honored to be the only one in the state,” said Garcia, who plans to attend the University of Maine in Farmington in fall.
As part of the competition, she had to write an essay on the importance of leadership.
“Leaders don't follow the crowd,” she said. “If everyone followed the same person, you'd be stuck. It also means having the courage to do what you feel is right.”
She was also chosen for her high academic standing – she made Top 10 and has taken many advanced courses – for her volunteer participation, and a myriad of other activities.
As an active member of the youth group at Holy Savior Parish, she has raked lawns for the elderly and sung Christmas carols at the local nursing home. As a National Honor Society member, she has adopted a less fortunate family at Christmas and created care baskets for the police and fire departments, among other things.
She has been a mentor in the Big Brother/Big Sister program, serves as class vice -president, and helped collect toiletries and other items for two homeless shelters.
She has always wanted to do her best in school and outside of the classroom.
Being a teacher is something she believes will help the most.
“I want to teach kindergarten or first grade. That's where you impact them the most. You can set them on the right path to like school and want to be there,” she said. “I want to give them positive encouragement they may not get at home. I want to make a difference.”
Brittany has an older sister, Brianna, who works at Central Maine Medical Center, and a younger sister, Stephanie, who is a sophomore at Mountain Valley.
She received $1,000 toward her college tuition for the honor.