COMING DAILY IN METRO: This is one in a series of stories about members of The Gazette’s Best and Brightest Class of 2005.
In grade school, children teased Lindsay Renkel because, as the daughter of a struggling single mother, she did not have as much as other kids.
For a while, the barbs left her shy and afraid to venture out. Eventually, the depression and embarrassment fell away as she saw how her mother, Julie Renkel, persevered — going from a young mother needing public assistance and food stamps to an account manager at an insurance firm. Those difficult times, Lindsay Renkel said, molded her values. It became important to be part of “a chain of giving,” she said. “I truly believe that as one person is helped, they will give to others.” She has immersed herself into not only in academic work and school activities such as the school newspaper, but also in community service. “I’ll never forget when I was an intern with Christmas Unlimited and met a woman who had been hit by a hard time,” she said. “Her son wanted a ‘Lord of the Rings’ doll, and I was able to find one. She told me the help I gave her meant the world to her. And it meant the world to me, as well. It showed me how much one little thing can mean a lot to someone.” Renkel also worked after school as a restaurant hostess and retail clerk to help pay for things like her college tests. A school friend, Kacy Dahl, said Renkel doesn’t volunteer just for credits. “She puts her heart and soul into a cause,” Dahl said. Once, when delivering valentines to a senior center with other students, Renkel “was the only one who really sat down and talked to them,” Dahl said. Dahl said Renkel has a knack for making situations fun, like volunteering to salsa dance in the cafeteria to help out the Spanish Club, even though she didn’t know the dance steps. “She went into an uncomfortable and dorky situation with a huge smile,” Dahl said. LINDSAY RENKEL
Mitchell High School Parent: Julie Renkel What’s next: Study business at Denver University, then create or work for nonprofit charitable group. If you had to lose all your material possessions except one, what would you keep and why? “I’ve had this burgundy and pink blanket since I was little. My great aunt Adeline crocheted it before she died for my mom and me. So it reminds me of family, her and my mom, and my grandmother Darlene who always helped me. I look at it and feel comforted. I’ll probably take it to college.” Other stuff: Christmas Unlimited volunteer and intern; Girl Scouts; Pikes Peak Library Summer Reading Program volunteer; Care & Share food drive; student government, executive secretary to adviser; Future Business Leaders of America, vice president; National Honor Society; El Pomar Youth in Community Service.