Lowell — When it comes to leading, Leah Davidson is the event coordinator — the one who makes the plans and recruits the people to show up.
“It’s a lot of time management and prioritizing, which is a struggle, but I think it’s good to have to struggle with it before I need to actually be good at it,” said Leah, a senior who is graduating in May.
From organizing blood drives at Lowell High School to volunteering at a local women’s center, the senior has made service a major part of her life. A busy soccer player and student who’s taken advanced classes, her high school experiences have been a blend of academics, athletics and service.
“I love people and interacting with them. I love helping them. That’s one of my passions, just helping out people,” she said.
Leah has organized small and big things, from passing out treats at school to organizing a fundraiser to pay for polio vaccines. As president of the school’s Interact Club, a service club affiliated with Rotary International, she’s learned that a lot of work and logistics go into efforts like raising enough money for 200 vaccines for people in developing countries.
Community and Schoolwide Efforts
The thoughtful but talkative student has gotten volunteer crews together for 5K races, Maple Syrup Days and other events at the Wittenbach Wege Center; they’ve sold hot dogs at Fallasburg Art Festival; and worked resource drives at Alpha Women’s Center. She creates the Interact Club’s agendas and posts sign-up opportunities. She usually recruits about 20 students for after-school and weekend events.
She’s an effective communicator, getting information from community groups regarding their needs, said student leadership teacher Chaye Klomparens.
“Leah is such an inspiring young leader,” Klomparens said. “The motto of Rotary and Interact is ‘Service Above Self’. This is something I think Leah has truly taken to heart … It is clear that Leah does all of this because she truly enjoys helping others and serving her community. Leah is calm, organized, honest and responsible. She is the type of student leader that you don’t see often. We will really miss her next year.”
Leah’s work has sometimes been just about making others happy. This winter, she reintroduced Be Nice Week, an annual occurrence at Lowell that was put on pause during the pandemic. The goal was to spread kindness throughout the school through a slate of events and activities. As part of student leadership class, she helped plan an art contest, shared personal affirmations and compliments on sticky notes, handed out treats and greeted students at the door.
“We wanted to lift people’s spirits and have a good reset because coming back from Christms break, it’s January and gray and sad,” Leah said. “Obviously it’s about being nice to everyone but it’s a bit more than that, it’s about reconnecting everyone … It was really beneficial for everyone.”
‘Through leadership, I’ve learned that I can accomplish a lot more than I give myself credit for.’— senior Leah Davidson
She also signed up to volunteer at her school’s blood drive last year, because donating blood was something she was afraid to do, but she still wanted to be involved. She is now the blood drive leader.
“I really grew to love it,” she said of the event. “There was also something about helping with a blood drive specifically, knowing people’s donations were going to local hospitals to patients in need, that was so gratifying to be a part of.”
“It’s been very rewarding putting in the work for each drive and seeing everyone — the donors, volunteers, phlebotomists — come together for the sake of people we don’t know who are in need.”
New Adventures and Exploration
Leah is graduating summa cum laude May 25, with plans to embark on a gap year with The DISCOVER Program with YMCA of the Rockies, where she will work in the hospitality industry in Estes Park, Colorado.
While college is in her future plans, she said she wants to take the year to live in the mountains, enjoying the scenery, working, hiking, visiting national parks and skiing, before enrolling. When she does choose a career path, she’s considering journalism.
“Going out to Colorado, it’s the whole ‘trying to find myself’ kind of thing, but more trying to narrow down the things I’m interested in to pursue for a career or a college degree … I think I will have a lot of time to talk to people there and figure things out.”
Navigating her way through leadership projects has given the confidence to find her way.
“Through leadership, I’ve learned that I can accomplish a lot more than I give myself credit for. There are people who believe (in) and are counting on me, and if I believe in myself and my abilities, I’m capable beyond what I would’ve originally thought,” she said. “That’s very reassuring and encouraging, especially as a young adult getting ready to make my own choices, important ones, and be proactive for myself, instead of relying so much on other adult figures to do so for me.”