Character Counts: Chaparral freshman going the distance to help kids

Oct 5, 2015, 4:35 PM | Updated: 4:36 pm
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Rachel Turner doesn’t know what career she’ll chase. A high school freshman has years to figure it out, after all.

Turner can guess about her future: She wants to work with kids.

The Chaparral High School freshman has piled up approximately 300 volunteering hours this year alone, and many of those were spent helping kids in a number of ways.

“My younger brother Adam has down syndrome,” Turner said. “I’m inspired by him and I got involved with Best Buddies at my school, which is a club where you get a buddy with a disability and spend time with them. I just like volunteering with children and church anywhere I can.”

Giving back was a topic of Turner’s recent graduation speech. The president of the National Junior Honors Society knows that she’s fortunate enough, so she emphasized that others must think about others first.

Turner herself has worked with the City of Scottsdale Youth Corps, tutored students at Cheyenne Elementary School and helped students with reading disabilities at a local library. Turner is also a Girl Scout and spends time volunteering at the Scottsdale Bible Vacation Bible School.

She has her own interests, too.

Turner’s running career appears promising. She’s one of the best runners in her age group with a 5:28 minute best in the 1600-meter and 2:27 in the 800m. She’s broken 20 minutes in the 5K. She spent the beginning of the school year getting up at 4:30 a.m., just to get a run in before school, which, by the way, she’s productive in as well.

The freshman plays flute in band and also had a 4.0 GPA during middle school. Math is her favorite subject — “I like systematic things that are organized,” she says — which makes sense when considering all the juggling her schedule includes.

“I just have to stay on top of all my homework and study for tests, and make sure I’m not wasting time with anything else, and that I have a set schedule so I can get everything done,” Turner said.

No, Turner doesn’t know what career path she’ll pursue. But true to her word from her graduation speech, she knows that she’ll continue helping others.

“I think I would like to get a job involved with children,” Turner said. “I’m not really sure yet.”

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