May 24, 2012 in Washington Voices

St. George’s Gimbel leads pack with her dedication

Running, volunteering set senior apart
By The Spokesman-Review
Tyler Tjomsland photoBuy this photo

Hope Gimbel, a senior at St. George’s School, is an accomplished cross country and long distance runner and spent many practices running on the trails around school.
(Full-size photo)

It’s hard to keep up with Hope Gimbel. From the time she gets up she’s running. She runs before school and, during cross country and track season, after school as well.

“It’s a good way to get out some stress. I like the long distance,” she said, though the double workouts are also indicative of her approach to life.

Gimbel, who is a stellar student athlete at St. George’s School, started running in sixth grade and has gone to state all four years of high school. But she doesn’t stop there.

Gimbel is active in the community service club at school and has earned the community service award for the past three years, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity and organizing other events including a bake sale, a penny drive and a talent show to benefit Haiti relief efforts, the Guild School and Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, respectively.

“I enjoy volunteering,” she said. “It’s good to get out of your comfort zone and see other people’s way of living. I really like talking to the people when we volunteer and hearing their stories. They are really inspiring. … It makes me realize how lucky I am.”

Gimbel said she is also inspired by her parents. “They work really hard to let me come to St. George’s, and they’ve always been really supportive of my sports and everything,” she said.

Track and cross country coach Rick Riley said Gimbel also works hard. “She exhibits a really high work ethic. She is extremely dedicated,” he said, noting that this is especially impressive because Gimbel has struggled with a knee injury the past two years.

Throughout her injury, he said, she never complained. “She did physical therapy and medical things to get her knee well, but she obviously was in a lot of pain and continued to persist and that is pretty much her mentality,” he said, describing how Gimbel persevered to help her cross country team qualify for state during her junior year.

“If she didn’t run, the rest of the team had a very slim chance of qualifying,” Riley said. “Despite being in a lot of pain and not being at her best, she basically just ignored the pain and did the best she could. As a result, our girls cross country team went on to the state meet. That is pretty exemplary of her courage. She is very courageous. She is not a hugely gifted athlete but she works very, very hard.”

For Gimbel, the injury inspired her to pursue a career in physical therapy and also gave her confidence. “It helped me realize I was stronger than I thought I was,” she said.

Riley said the unassuming, hardworking Gimbel is also a leader. “She is our team mother. She takes these girls under her wing and is very patient with them. I would say as a coach I’m hugely dependent on her for that role. She is like the assistant coach.”

Math teacher John Nord said those same qualities make Gimbel a joy to teach.

“She’s dynamite. She’s eager, willing, able, competent and jumps in with both feet,” he said. “She has everything, in apple pie order. She’s lined up, has the right book and is ready to get to work. … If you want something done well, ask Hope.”

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