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Best and Brightest: Pine Creek senior learned the value of service to others

By: Tony Peck
May 1, 2018 Updated: May 1, 2018 at 4:08 pm
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This is another in the series of 20 profiles of The Gazette's Best and Brightest Class of 2018.

The definition of success changed for Isabel Harris in 2014 as pressure and anxiety forced a new perspective - shifting from unrelenting personal achievement to service and sacrifice.

That doesn't mean the Pine Creek High School senior stopped achieving. She will head to Simpson University in Redding, Calif., with a grade point average floating around 4.4. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and an AP Honor Scholar.

While such achievements used to consume her, Isabel has discovered a different approach to success.

"To me, a heart of servanthood and a passion for serving the most vulnerable in a community is at the core of leadership," she said. "Being involved in my local, national and global community has been my passion and a priority for me throughout my high school career."

She spent eight weeks in Galveston, Texas, preparing food for people displaced by Hurricane Ike.

She volunteered with Harvest of Love, a local food drive, and worked with the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

And most important to her, she has made mission trips to help impoverished women and children in India and Mozambique.

"I had the opportunity to wash their feet, love on them and help them heal from the oppression they endure daily," she said.

But Isabel once felt driven by selfish goals, which harmed her health.

"A constant drive for success and not accepting others' successes was really hurting me," she said.

During her sophomore year, Isabel began having blackouts and severe medical problems. A specialist blamed stress.

"I am a high school student. I have no reason to have that amount of stress on me," she said.

So she made tough decisions. She quit basketball - a passion of hers - and started to serve others.

"It humbled me in a really good and growing way," Isabel said.

Those changes helped her develop a vision of her future, one where she still can be a first-generation college student. But instead of achieving more than others, she plans to help people become the best they can be.

"I believe people are inherently good. And when given the right opportunities for prosperity and success, they will work to better themselves and the world around them," she said. "I want to one day to play a role in helping to make the world - my global community - a place of equality and safety for all."

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