This is the eleventh in our series of stories celebrating the outstanding accomplishments of youth in our community. These inspirational young adults are enriching our lives with their passion and commitment to the betterment of society.
The accomplishments of the youth we’ve been interviewing over the last several months continue to amaze us. Cetareh’s diverse interests, academic achievements and demonstrated leadership skills are no different. It only took us a matter of minutes to understand why Cetareh’s long term goal was to become a doctor with a general practice that would allow her to work with families and in particular, children. She is bright, caring, personable and loves interacting with people. Many of her extracurricular activities involve healthcare, in one way or another, and Cetareh was focused, genuine, and authentic throughout our interview with her.
Cetareh was born in Saskatoon and moved to Victoria, where she attended school and is now in grade 12 at Oak Bay High School. She has been in French Immersion since Kindergarten and is presently taking a heavy course load in preparation for university in 2015.
Cetareh has outstanding academic achievements, earning Honours with Distinction and a GPA of 5.0 in both grades 10 and 11 (with something like a 95-96% average). She has applied to a number of universities across Canada with the singular goal of eventually earning a medical degree. It’s pretty clear to us that Cetareh will be accepted into every program that she applies for, and the only uncertainty is the level of entrance scholarship that she will be awarded.
Cetareh has been a volunteer at Royal Jubilee Hospital since 2013. She volunteers on the nursing units, spending time talking to patients and taking them on walks. Most of the people she interacts with are elderly and many have dementia. In volunteering to “see what it’s like in a hospital setting”, Cetareh discovered that she loves interacting with people of all ages: infants to elderly. She looks forward to further volunteering with the Victoria Health Unit, helping with immunization preparation, weighing and measuring babies, under the supervision of an RN.
In June 2014, Cetareh was selected as one of 94 students from across North America, and one of nine from Victoria, to spend time at a medical school in Grenada. They spent ten days in an intensive medical training program taught by professors (complete with exams) that included case studies and learning how to diagnose patient illnesses and ailments. Although gruelling in terms of its workload, with daily classes and work nonstop from 06:30 to 22:00-23:00, Cetareh thoroughly enjoyed the experience and believed she learned a tremendous amount. Cetareh noted that she “knew I wanted to be a doctor, but this experienced was confirmation for me.”
An accomplished musician, Cetareh played flute from Grade 6 to Grade 9, then switched to saxophone. While still in Middle School, she had an opportunity to play at Hermann’s, a local jazz club. She has been in Oak Bay High’s Senior Concert Band since Grade 9.
Cetareh has many interests and activities outside of academics. She has been in the Leadership program at Oak Bay High since Grade 10, undertaking large projects in Grade 10 and Grade 11 such as serving as Project Manager for the Victoria Middle School Conference – a one day conference for 200 middle school students. She’s coordinated elementary school visits, organized an Olympic Games day and a school 28-hour famine event which raised funds for African Aid Angels. She also volunteers as a Peer Tutor and Peer Counsellor for fellow students and was involved in the Philippines Typhoon Relief Project where, along with teachers and students, she put together a bake sale on Oak Bay Avenue and raised over $2,000.00 to assist typhoon victims. She “really likes people, and enjoys interacting with and helping people.”
Helping people, particularly children, is what motivates Cetareh. “It’s inspiring to see smiles on kids faces,” she notes. Cetareh also conveyed to us several “unforgettable moments” including one that happened very recently. Cetareh has worked as a swim instructor, for children aged two to nine, at the Crystal Pool with Tyee Aquatic Club since 2011. Several weeks ago, when her beginner swimmers finally put their heads under the water for the first time, she recalled the smiles on their faces and the joy it brought them “It is the little things that change peoples’ lives that I find inspirational.”
Cetareh has been swimming since elementary school when she was a member of her school’s swim club. In middle school she participated in the biathlon, swimming 600m and running 2.2km to win the silver medal. The following year she won bronze in the same event. Cetareh is presently working towards qualification as a lifeguard.
Cetareh has entered the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair in 2009 and received several awards for her projects, including the Foundation Certificate of Merit and a 2nd place award Overall at the Intermediate level. Her entries in the Science Fair were further recognized by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geophysicists of BC (Gold and Silver Achievement) and VIA Rail Environment (Expo Award).
Like many of the student leaders at Oak Bay, the Cops for Cancer campaign has great importance for Cetareh. She recalls being profoundly impressed when she first saw the Tour de Rock team of riders arrive at her school in her Grade 9 year. She thought “Wow, I want to be a part of this” and has been a passionate participant in the campaign ever since. She has been involved in fundraising and was Project Manager for the Kid’s Fair held at Willows beach this year, where $2,000 was raised. Cetareh is proud of her schools’ accomplishments and how the money raised this year ($44,000) will provide funding to send 25 children to Camp Goodtimes.
Other activities Cetareh enjoys are hiking, camping, running, reading and baking.
In 10 years’ time, Cetareh hopes to be finished her medical training and practicing as a physician. She loves Victoria and hopes to return home someday. Her love of connecting with children and passion for medicine are very evident; it’s clear to us that she will become a wonderful, caring doctor. Children and people of all ages will benefit from the hard work and dedication Cetareh puts into everything she does. Our community already benefits greatly from Cetareh’s numerous volunteer activities and will benefit even more so when she sets up her family practice here in the years to come.
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