By Suzanne Schmidt
It is Thompson’s fourth year as a team captain for the The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The event will be at Wesley Chapel High School May 7 and 8. She has already raised $1,699 making her a Star Supporter of the Relay.
“It is my sixth year doing the Relay,” Thompson said. “My Nene (grandmother) was diagnosed with cancer four years ago. My family and I all wanted to help. I think it is a great way to help raise awareness and to help people.”
Betty Border, Thompson’s grandmother, was diagnosed with colon cancer but is in complete remission for two years. Thompson said she will be walking the survivor lap with her and her sister, Lynzie, and her mom Sandy because they were all caregivers.
Her team is called the Extreme Teens and is made up of her, her sister, her parents Sandy and Alex and five other teens. She has raised the money for the Relay through several fundraisers including restaurant nights, asking for donations in front of Publix and sending letters to friends and family who then send them on to their friends and family. The team has raised $2,100 with a goal of raising $2,500.
“Since the theme is 50 states for a cure, I am trying to get money from all 50 states,” Thompson said. “I like to read about witches so we chose the state of Massachusetts and our theme is the Salem Witch Trials.”
It is not enough to just raise money to fight cancer, she is also involved with helping children with autism. She is a peer volunteer at Watergrass Elementary School.
“I work with the special needs kids on Tuesday and Thursday,” Thompson said. “I help with snack and do crafts with them. I love it because their faces light up when they see me. It is so rewarding. I love those little guys.”
In December, Thompson won third place for her age group in the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital Kids are Heroes program. She said it was a surprise and an honor.
Stephanie Watts, staff partner for the Wesley Chapel High School Relay for Life, nominated Thompson for the Kids are Heroes award because she deserves the recognition.
“She is a stellar young lady and has a lot of potential to do amazing things in this world,” Watts said. “She has done so much for the community and she is such a giving person. She doesn’t do the good work for any purpose except to give back.”
Thompson volunteered at the Special Olympics for the last three years, because she loves how excited the kids get.
“I go with the school I am volunteering at and I just stay with the kids to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to,” Thompson said. “The kids get so excited because they get to be with kids like them. They get to interact with each other in friendly competition. I love cheering them on and seeing them smile.”
Thompson also volunteers in Susan Fischer’s fifth-grade class every Wednesday at Watergrass because she wants to someday be a teacher.
“Ever since I was little I wanted to be a teacher,” Thompson said. “I get to work with them with crafts and help to grade papers. I also sometimes get to help teach the class.”
Thompson decided when she was only 3-years-old that she wanted to be a teacher. Her mother said she used to try to get her 1-year-old sister to sit down so she could teach her things.
“When she was little, she would sit with her sister and show her flash cards,” Sandy Thompson said. “She always would try to make her sit and read with her.”
Not only is Thompson very involved in the community, she also finds the time to be an exceptional student. Her grade point average is 4.19 and she is a member of the high school’s Interact Club, which is through the Rotary, and a member of the National Honor Society. Through the community service club, she has helped to sign up people for blood drives and gift-wrapped presents at Barnes & Noble during Christmas.
Her favorite thing to do is read. She said she loves to read science fiction, fantasy and youth.
“I am always reading,” Thompson said. “I think reading is better than movies, because I can use my imagination. When I read something I can picture it how I want. There are so many details in the books and you can learn so much from reading.”
Thompson also recently found out she is the student of the month for Wesley Chapel High School.
“I think she is awesome,” Sandy Thompson said. “I am very proud of her. She puts her heart out there. She would rather help people then go out with her friends.”
For more information about the Wesley Chapel High School relay, visit www.relayforlife.org/wesleychapelfl.