Gabriel Drees
Gabriel Drees
Gabriel Drees has been chosen as the Spring Valley Kiwanis Club's January Academic Student of the Month. She is the daughter of Ralph and Kersten Drees.

The Rochester Community and Technical College Post-Secondary Options Program (PSEOP) student is also a senior at Kingsland High School, where she participates in Student Council, Knowledge Bowl, National Honor Society, band, choir, volleyball and Phi Theta Kappa at RCTC.

"It's hard to decide just one favorite! I enjoy band, choir, and volleyball - they're the most fun," she stated.

"I've always been in band, choir, Student Council and volleyball all throughout high school. I've been in Mock Trial and Key Club as well."

She doesn't have a favorite or least favorite class. "It all depends on the teacher. The teacher can make the class enjoyable or can make you not want to go to class at all. I like all classes equally."

She does homework when she's not busy with school or school activities. She likes to read, watch movies, listen to music and teaching.

"Outside of school, I help teach or sub for my church's faith formation classes. I work at good ol' Sunshine Foods. I like working there because all of the employees are really nice. It's a relaxed environment and we always have fun while working."

"Pearl Harbor" is her favorite movie but she doesn't exactly know why. "It's a really sad movie and very long, but I like it."

Her reading list is long and filled with numerous recommendations. "I have read lots and lots of books, and I enjoy many. The one I just finished is probably one of my top favorites. It's called 'Heaven is for Real,' and I highly recommend it."

Gabriel's taste in music varies - she listens to "just about anything - it just depends on my mood."

"Hypocrites" are her biggest pet peeve, and she could live for the rest of her life on one food, "probably pizza, because it's so easy to make and it really never gets old."

She finds all bugs to be especially gross, and therefore wouldn't be found making free travel plans to a destination with big ones, but she'd be happy to visit any state because she hasn't ever left the tri-state area. Given a free vacation to any country in the world, she'd choose Italy. "I think it would be fun to visit everything there, go to the Vatican City. It's such an old place with a lot of history."

The 18-year-old most admires her parents and younger cousin. "I admire my dad because he is one of the smartest people I know. He's always there for me, and his faith is absolutely crazy, and I really admire that. My mom because ... well, she's my mom. She's smart and funny and caring. All things I hope I inherit. I admire my cousin Bailey because he went through major open-heart surgery at only 3 years old, and he lived through all of it. He's the happiest kid I know ...and the toughest one, too!"

If she could do one thing to change the world, she'd strive for "something like world peace."

"If everyone stopped hating on each other, and we all got along, oh, the difference!"

She aspires to examine the little things once she's graduated from high school. "After I graduate, I want to do something in forensic science. On the scene, in the lab ... all of it. It's interesting to me, and I really love solving things. I like to have fun, but I like to work hard, too, because it pays off in the end. When I was little, I probably wanted to be a teacher, or a superstar ... something along those lines."

The Spring Valley Kiwanis Club honored Gabriel and her parents during its Jan. 9 meeting.