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St. George’s Ceci Bergquist continues fight: Student body president graduates amid tumor

Ceci Bergquist is the notable graduate from Saint George's. (COURTESY / COURTESY)
Ceci Bergquist is the notable graduate from Saint George's. (COURTESY / COURTESY)
By Ian Davis-Leonard For The Spokesman-Review

Ceci Bergquist is president of the St. George’s School student body, a four-year captain of her high school basketball team, a member of the Ronald McDonald teen board, and she’s a cancer survivor.

During her sophomore year of high school, Bergquist was diagnosed with a desmoid tumor in her leg.

“She had the attitude of ‘let’s just fix it,’” Mark Rickard, Bergquist’s student government adviser and basketball coach, said. “There was no hesitation.”

Bergquist attempted to balance school and treatment, but ultimately made the decision to take a year off from school to heal both physically and mentally.

“I’ve been with that class since fourth grade, so they were my best friends and my family,” Bergquist said. “I felt like I was giving up, I felt like I was quitting, but looking back it was the absolute best decision.”

During the difficult time of not being able to attend school, she also was unable to play basketball. However, Bergquist wouldn’t let cancer keep her away from her team.

When her health allowed it, Bergquist sat on the bench as a bona fide assistant coach.

“She knew that she wasn’t able to contribute on the floor, so she was at practices helping and on the bench during games,” Rickard said.

After a year away from school, and two years away from the basketball court, Bergquist re-enrolled at St. George’s with trepidation and fear of whether she would be accepted by her new class.

Her peers welcomed Bergquist back with open arms. They elected Bergquist to be a class representative, then to be student body president the following year.

“I think there is just an ultimate respect for her as a person, her as a student and as a leader amongst her peers,” Rickard said.

In her return season to the St. George’s women’s basketball team, Bergquist led the Dragons in scoring with 10.9 points per game and guided the team to a third-place finish at the 2A level in Washington state.

During this season, Bergquist ceded the role of primary ballhandler to play more shooting guard, so two younger players on the team could experience game-action and improve.

Bergquist’s commitment to serving her team and making those around her better is representative of her servant’s heart.

“She really gives up herself, which is really impressive considering what she’s been through the last few years of her life,” Rickard said.

Bergquist’s fight isn’t over yet. She is once again undergoing chemotherapy as tumors have returned.

“It’s getting better, they’re shrinking,” she said.

In the face of adversity, Bergquist has kept going and maintained a positive outlook.

“I always just looked forward, I never focused too much on dwelling on what was happening,” Bergquist said.

This disposition has helped position Bergquist for success. She has close to a 4.0 GPA and is set to choose between two universities: Claremont McKenna in California and Notre Dame in Indiana.

In June, Bergquist’s tenure at St. George’s will come to a close, but the impact she has made won’t end when she walks across the stage and receives her diploma.

“She’s one of those people, one of those players, one of those students, who leave that impression and legacy that is hard to match,” Rickard said.

Ian Davis-Leonard is a student at Gonzaga University.

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