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Friday, February 21, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Cheney’s Bridget Calvert has a passion for service

Bridget Calvert is the notable graduate from Cheney High School. (COURTESY OF CHENEY HIGH)
Bridget Calvert is the notable graduate from Cheney High School. (COURTESY OF CHENEY HIGH)
By Joe Everson For The Spokesman-Review

“Every once in a while,” said Cheney High School math teacher Julie Esquibel, “there’s a student who adds so much to your life. For me, that’s Bridget Calvert.”

Calvert is a senior who’s bound for the Air Force Academy next year and who has the sort of off-the-charts resume that makes admissions officers do cartwheels. She’s on the Cheney School Board, she was Youth Volunteer of the Year at the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery, she has a 3.9 GPA, and her list of achievements goes on from there.

That list includes Cheney Youth Court, Associated Student Body officer, mentor at Cheney Middle School, Youth Leadership Spokane, National Honor Society, Key Club and CHS’s Leadership class.

Calvert has a passion for service.

“I see so many people who are less fortunate than I am, especially at Vanessa Behan. I want to use the gifts that I was given to give back. I’m on the school board because my parents give me rides. I have good grades because I have a quiet place at home to study. I do well at tennis because my family can afford lessons, and I don’t have to work.

“I define myself by my desire to lead and to be a role model and an example for others. Volunteering has shaped the goals for my life. I hope that one day I can open a nonprofit program for students with disabilities. Vanessa Behan is an amazing place, and I’d like to be involved in something like that.”

Before that, though, comes the Air Force Academy and the service commitment which follows. Bridget plans to major in civil engineering and to become a pilot. During her junior year at Cheney, she had been researching different post-secondary opportunities, but as the youngest child in a military family, the academy offered a certain appeal.

“I didn’t want to take on too much debt to go to school,” she said. “But more than that, I knew that I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. The more I looked at it, the more I knew that normal college wasn’t for me.”

She spent a week last summer in Colorado Springs with other students interested in the academy, and said she came out of that experience committed to seeking an appointment. She was Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ principal nominee, and eventually received an appointment.

Esquibel, who herself attended the Air Force Academy, was Calvert’s teacher only for her sophomore year, but recognized something special in her almost immediately.

“It was an honors math class,” she said, “and Bridget was one of my top students right away. She never complained or gave up. Instead, when she saw a challenge, she looked at it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

“She is an amazing example to other students here. She has been tutoring my 10-year-old daughter for more than two years, so I know her as more than a student. I am exceptionally proud of what she’s done here, and I have no doubt that she’ll serve her country in the same way. Bridget is exceptional in every way.”

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