Erica Humphreys’ grandparents died nearly a year ago, one month apart from each other. The tender care they received in their passing is a key reason the recent Sparta High School graduate says she is bound for Michigan State University, where she has her eye on a career in healthcare.
She’s unsure which healthcare field she’ll choose, but this much she knows: It’ll be one where she is making a difference in people’s lives.
In the meantime, Erica has been paying her dues to reach her big-picture goals.
It’s why she overcame her gag reflex and dissected a cat in her biology class. It’s why the bulging backpack she lugged around was stuffed not with textbooks but with notebook binders that catalog her class notes, homework and teachers’ handouts. And it’s why she’s a member of the National Honor Society, earning a 4.05 grade point average.
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Erica has accomplished all this not despite but because of the suffering she has seen. The compassionate and professional care her grandparents received before they died inspired her to want to do the same for others.
“I like helping people,” she said. “When I saw my grandparents in the nursing home, I could see myself caring for people. I learned to value life. I care a lot about the community.”
It would be a mistake to assume Erica is all work and no play. She was a forward guard on the high school basketball team, outside hitter on the volleyball team and played first singles on the tennis team.
Still, that wasn’t enough. Erica also immersed herself in additional aspects of the school community, serving as president of the Student Council, as student representative on the Board of Education and helping with the annual Best Prom Ever for people with disabilities.
Some would find all the schedule-juggling too much, but Erica wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I feel I wouldn’t be productive if I wasn’t involved,” she said.
Erica’s a student who leads by example, high school Principal Matt Spencer said.
“Her quiet and sustained excellence in leadership has really benefited each group she is involved with, as well as our entire school culture,” Spencer said.