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Reese Gillespie is Kiwanis Student of the Month

Reese Gillespie is Kiwanis Student of the Month

Ferndale High School senior Reese Gillespie has his sights set on earning a degree in criminal justice and working as a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent. With his focus on learning and leading now, we have no doubt he will accomplish his goal.

Reese spoke about his goal and his contributions to the students of Ferndale High School and to the Ferndale community at a recent meeting of Ferndale Kiwanis where he was honored as its Student of the Month for February. From his excellence in academics and athletics, to his dedication for his community, Reese is the definition of "leader" — humble, honest, focused, passionate, respectful, confident and caring.

Reese maintains a 3.6 grade point average which has placed him on the honor roll for the past three years. While he manages to keep his academic success high, he participates in three sports, works at three jobs, is in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Explorer Program and is a Young Life student.

Although Reese is a member of the baseball and cross country teams at FHS, he most enjoys basketball. He said, "There's a lot more freedom in the sport. You can be creative with it and more spontaneous." He currently plays post on the basketball team. In baseball, he serves at shortstop, pitcher and catcher. As far as cross country, Reese says he uses that opportunity to get in shape for basketball.

Reese works at three jobs — one year-round and two during the summer months. His year-round job is at the Bellingham Gun Club where he ensures the setup and maintenance of microphones and trap houses, and greets patrons checking in to the club. Also, he has volunteered at Kiwanis Turkey Shoot events that have been held at the club. In the summer, he works for Northwest Pyro, a firework company, and he has his hand in the family landscaping company that he dad owns.

Reese’s passion for leadership and leadership work are apparent. "I think it is very important to reach as many kids, and get as many kids as I can, involved in school events and activities. You never know what someone is going through so inviting them to an event or even saying ‘Hi’ can change their whole day," said Reese. "I'm proud of the relationships I've made over the years."

In his Leadership 2 class, he and classmates work on passion projects to get more kids involved in the school. These projects include all student assemblies and activities. In the Leadership 1 classes, Reese is a student-teacher who teaches leadership skills to other students. Reese noted, "Leadership class is focused on empowering and enriching the lives of others. It's very focused on getting as many people involved as possible."

Reese's leadership passion takes him beyond the school. As a student team member in Young Life, a Christian organization, he attends club meetings twice per month for fellowship and helps plan events such as family nights. 

And, in the Explorer Program, Reese is a deputy chief of his team. The Explorer Program lets high school students train and experience what it might be like if they were to become a customs officer. They participate in trainings and help at community service events. As deputy chief, Reese interviews prospective program members, helps advisors plan meetings and trainings, and competes with the team at competitions. In a competition held last year, the team placed first out of 19 teams.

Besides his parents, Reese credits Young Life Leader Clayton Sin with being influential in his life. "I met him my freshman year and he has shown me how to be a respectful adult, how to stick to a task, how to build and strengthen relationships, and most importantly, he has shown me how to love and appreciate life, family and friends," said Reese.

Following graduation from high school this spring, Reese plans to begin post-secondary education at Whatcom Community College to pursue a degree in criminal justice. Following completion of college, he will apply for a job with Customs. "I've been on a few ride-alongs, I see the impact you can have on people's lives. I could make a small part of a person's day," said Reese as he spoke humbly about his future.

Congratulations, Reese. Thank you for all that you do for your school and the greater Ferndale community. We encourage you to continue your passion for leading and serving others.

Reese is the son of Gavin and Dianne Gillespie. Dianne is an administrative assistant at Vista Middle School in Ferndale.

Thank you to Ferndale Kiwanis for its continued support of our students. In addition to annual scholarships, each month Kiwanis recognizes one of our high school students.