CHARACTER COUNTS

Gilbert Classical Academy senior thrives on keys, track and volunteer work

Dec 12, 2023, 5:02 AM | Updated: Feb 22, 2024, 5:14 pm

Gilbert Classical Academy (GCA Spartans/Facebook)...

Gilbert Classical Academy (GCA Spartans/Facebook)

(GCA Spartans/Facebook)

PHOENIX — Regan Birk has made an impact in his community through many different facets before he looks ahead to the transition to college next summer.

You can find the 17-year-old from Gilbert Classical Academy doing so in musical performances, athletic competitions and volunteering to help those in need.

Birk is a part of Wind Ensemble, the top band at his school that puts on multiple concerts throughout the year and attends band festivals. He plays the piano and took his abilities to an international stage, competing in an international piano competition that ended with a performance at the renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City. He competed with other students from across the world and was awarded third place.

“It’s something I find fun. It’s a good way to have a break from school and academics,” Birk said. “At the same time, it also can be a way to challenge yourself. … You can play a song for many years and still find things to improve on.”

That break is from a 4.6 weighted GPA that helps Birk stand as a semifinalist for the National Merit Scholarship. He’s also an AP Scholar.

In athletics, Birk earned his varsity letters as a freshman competing on the cross country and track and field teams. He is a part of two school records.

“I found the miles and miles of running to be fun. … I think the competition part is what is the most enjoyable to me because it shows how your hard work pays off over the years,” he said.

Birk works with Feed My Starving Children. Since he learned about the organization’s work in seventh grade, Birk has spent over 40 hours packing meals, seeing his impact come to fruition.

“I think that was just something that resonated with me and something that I wanted to help fix,” he said. “And with all the volunteering, it’s a very direct impact.”

Two of Birk’s passions come together through the five 15K races he’s participated in that raised funds for local groups such as Saint Mary’s Food Bank.

Birk has also long been a member of Boy Scouts of America, holding a leadership position for over two years. He is a senior patrol leader of his troop, making him responsible for facilitating meetings and monthly campouts. Birk said this has helped him learn a lot about conflict management, and he has also racked up plenty of time volunteering through the organization’s work as well.

All of these life skills should serve Birk well in his pursuits going forward, and he said in college he hopes to focus on finance while pursuing a career in financial management.

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Gilbert Classical Academy senior thrives on keys, track and volunteer work