Trailblazer Leadership Award Winner Studying Nursing at Queen’s

Focus on Youth, By Phill Potter

Name: Melanie Reinhardt

Age: 18

School: St. Mark High

Grade: 12  Graduated this past June (Once a Lion, always a Lion!)

Parents: Paul and Kitty Reinhardt

Siblings: “I’m an only child, something I used to hate, but have grown to love.”

Pets: “I have a yellow lab named Cruz who is full of energy, and actually shares my birthday! I also have a hamster named Hamlet.”

Pet Peeve: “When trying to have a conversation, or spend quality time with someone and they are on their phone.”

Part-time Work: “I work as a hostess at Red Lobster. This position has helped me develop the skills of communication, teamwork, and working under pressure. I especially love working there as it grants me access to the delicious biscuits! I also babysit around the community, and have operated my own booth as a Junior Vendor at the Metcalfe Farmers Market for the past seven years.”

Favourite Subjects: “My preferred courses are the sciences as I enjoy learning about the world around me. Specifically though, biology is my favourite as I find anatomy fascinating.”

What do you enjoy reading for pleasure? “I enjoy reading magazines like Cosmo and Vogue, because of my great interest in ever changing fashion trends. I’m also a sucker for a good cheesy romance story! Some of my favourite novels include The Fault in our Stars by John Green and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.”

Who is your favourite author: “Sarah Dessen, I’ve read numerous of her works and have yet to dislike one. My favourite novel of hers is Just Listen.”

Greatest Accomplishment: “My completion of the Trailblazer Leadership Award in Girl Guides. This award is the greatest award girl members can earn. Recognition for this award requires completion of three different levels of leadership tasks; earning numerous program badges focussed on community, self-growth, and skill building; and excellence in cookie selling. I also had to prepare, plan, and conduct a service project. Earning this award took me three years to complete and symbolizes my commitment and effort in Girl Guides.”

School Activities: “I have a lot of school spirit and try to participate as much as possible. Even during the pandemic, I was part of numerous clubs, including Den Reps, (a club responsible for promoting school spirit); HeadStrong, (a club to support mental health); the BSA, a club that educates our peers on the significance of Black Culture; Peer Helping; and I also co-lead the Women Empowerment club. As co-leader, I was responsible for planning and conducting meetings and organizing club initiatives. This year’s initiatives included making Christmas cards for women in the community and hosting a fundraiser in which we made Mother’s Day baskets for the mothers at Waupoos Family Farm and St. Mary’s Home. Prior to the Pandemic I was also a member of the Girls Tackle Football Team. We got to wear all of the equipment and actually played at TD place!”

Other Activities/Interests: “I’ve been a member of Girl Guides for 13 years. My participation granted me the opportunity to develop new skills, such as camping skills; helped me make new friends; and, as a member, I went on a two week trip to Europe where I toured Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. My other interests include hanging out with friends, cooking/baking, and during the pandemic, I have found a new interest in golf. I’m not very good, but because it’s one of the only open outdoor activities, I’ve spent a lot of time at the driving range, mini golfing, and playing on the course with friends.”

Career Goals: “I’ve wanted a career in the field of medicine since I was in grade nine. As such, I have accepted my offer to Nursing at Queen’s University. After completing my degree, I plan to further my education to perhaps become a family physician or anesthesiologist. However, my ultimate career goal is to one day volunteer as a member of Doctors Without Borders. This goal was set in grade 10 after taking part in a social justice trip to the Dominican Republic which exposed me to the stark realities of living in poverty.”

Life During the Pandemic: “My family has stayed healthy and has been spending more quality time with one another. My club participation at school continued despite the pandemic, virtually of course, which was an adjustment, but still fun nonetheless. Girl Guides also continued virtually, which I’m grateful for, as I would have hated to miss out on my last year. We, unfortunately though, were unable to go on any camping trips.

“Experiencing my senior year mostly virtually was strange. The constant change between ‘in-person’ and ‘distant learning’ was frustrating at times. I didn’t really mind doing school virtually though, as it gave me the opportunity to sleep in, have whatever I wanted for lunch, and I didn’t have to ride the bus!

“As a result of virtual learning, I did, however, miss and not being able to ask my teachers as many questions. My friends have been a great support system throughout the pandemic. We spend hours on FaceTime and the group chat has been in constant use.

“Although my pandemic experience has been pretty good, I’m disappointed to have missed out on graduation with my whole class, and not being able to do ‘swing dancing’ (a St. Mark Grad tradition).”