Updated: May 9, 2014 at 7:11 am
This is the nineteenth of 20 profiles about The Gazette's Best and Brightest Class of 2014.
Carrie Durnell flew to Mexico to help paint a one-room church and was touched by what she saw.
"The people had very little, but they amazed me," Durnell said. "It was a very rundown community. They only had chairs in the church and the worship team was one guy with a guitar. But they were worshipping more than my church. They were putting so much heart into it."
The children also tugged at her heart. Durnell spoke little Spanish, but a girl ran to her with a request.
"I found out she was asking me to play tag with her. We ended up with several other kids playing," she said. "Even though we couldn't speak to each other, we were playing and connecting. It shows the boundaries people think are impossible to overcome are possible to overcome."
Durnell, 18, has been participating in outreaches since middle school.
"It has become a strange addiction," she said.
Durnell has helped feed the homeless and hand out clothing. During one outreach in Denver, she and a friend used $25 of their own money for a Taco Bell gift card and gave it to the next person they saw in need. They also talked with a woman who was asking for bus money.
"It turns out she couldn't pay for her rent, and we prayed for her," she said.
Durnell is so passionate about helping others that she's putting off going to college for a year while she joins Youth With a Mission, a six-month program that trains students to experience culture while helping people all over the world.
"I cannot simply live a life without meaning or aspirations, with no purpose other than to make a name and profit for myself," she said. "My destiny is greater than staying at home and waiting for fate to knock, because with determination and a lot of hard work I am going to make my fate, become a leader and do something that no one has accomplished before - whatever the opportunity may be."
CARRIE DURNELL, CORONADO HIGH SCHOOL
Parents: Kimberly DeVilbiss and David Durnell
College plans: Accepted to several but undecided.
Other: Betty Field contest winner; VP Robotics Manipulator; Boettcher Scholarship; Taught Sunday school for six years; FIRST Robotics