Wrestler, Deca standout and scholar Gavilan earns Kiwanis Student of the Month


Sparta High School Senior, Vanessa Gavilan, was selected by the SHS staff to represent the School, as the January Student of the Month. Gavilan was honored by the Sparta Kiwanis Club, at its Tuesday luncheon, on February 21st.

Gavilan’s history of academic excellence easily led to the honor, but what triggered her success as a competitive wrestler?  “It began with martial arts,” she said. “At first, I was the only girl wrestler. This year there are six. Wrestling takes grit. There are the practices—going out alone. Girls put in a lot of emotion. It is much more of a mental game.” Gavilan wrestled in the 114-pound weight class at the State Tournament, this past weekend, and took 6th place.

Gavilan believes her wrestling experience has strengthened her performance as a member of DECA. She and her DECA partner will compete in the Business and Ethics Event, on February 26th. Gavilan will major in journalism, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the fall. “Writing is what I want to do for the rest of my life,” she said. She likes the creative process of novel writing, yet listens to NPR News on her morning drive to classes, at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Gavilan said this, about her wrestling and DECA: “If I don’t give 100%, I don’t think I’m doing enough.”  

Her mother, Renee Gavilan, said that her advice to her daughter, has always been, “Do your best, regardless of the outcome.”

Hector Gavilan, Vanessa’s father, said it was humbling to hear the praise of his daughter. He said that as a military family they felt fortunate to have been in the Sparta School System, from Montessori onward.

SHS Nominating teacher, Julie Ender, said, “Vanessa is everything we want our students to be—respectful, responsible, safe and putting forth their best effort.” She thanked the Kiwanis Club for its support of SHS students.

The Sparta Kiwanis Club, founded 100 years ago, is part of Kiwanis International, a service club focused on improving the lives of youth. It meets every Tuesday noon for lunch and a brief program of regional interest. For information on Corporate Memberships, contact Doug Dengel, Membership Chair, at 608-633-6092.

Vanessa Gavilan, Kiwanis, student of the month


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