For Hayes’ Gibbs, service is a lifestyle
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Community service is a big part of Delaware Hayes’ Miriam Gibbs’ life. It all began with the Girl Scouts, or Girl Guides as they are called in Canada where Mariam hails from. She came to the United States when she was 7.
“I’m trying to make community service a life style,” she said. That goal is reflected in Miriam’s busy schedule. She regularly works at the Free Store, helping with People In Need (PIN) activities, and is also working to start a youth group for mentally ill teens at Safe Harbor Delaware.
In addition, Miriam runs a non-profit called Delaware Free Cakes for Kids. Since March 2011, she has baked 20 birthday cakes for children who might not otherwise have had a cake. Learning about the national program and with fond memories of her own childhood birthday cakes (“My mom is an excellent baker.”), Miriam began her own branch in Delaware. With posters around the city, she receives calls with requests and then bakes and decorates according to the child’s wishes.
“I’ve met some amazing people,” she said. “I kind of feel like it’s paying forward.”
Jennifer Pollard is Miriam’s guidance counselor.
“Miriam’s genuine concern for others can be evidenced in her service to others. Miriam volunteers at the Common Ground Free store and has been doing so for more than two years. For two years, she was also was a Girl Scout Camp counselor, volunteer construction worker and a volunteer program leader at COSI,” Pollard said.
With senior year half over, Miriam is “hunkering down this year,” to make certain she is ready for next year. She is excited about the prospect of college and has decided to attend Kalamazoo College in Michigan.
“It’s amazing,” Miriam said. She is pleased with the social sciences curriculum and the strong psychology program there as she considers a future in either counseling or teaching after obtaining her doctorate.
She has already taken psychology at Ohio Wesleyan and loved it, but does not want to rule out either sociology or anthropology yet as career possibilities until she takes coursework in these areas.
“The words that I would use to describe Miriam are intelligent, articulate, mature, and musically gifted,” Pollard continued. “One of the qualities that I like best about Miriam is that she is able to advocate for herself. She is willing to have tough conversations with others to get them to understand her point of view. Miriam’s experiences in her OWU courses have helped Miriam decide to pursue a career in psychology. Miriam’s abilities to articulate clearly and advocate as well as her genuine concern for others will be assets to her in this field.”
Kevin West teaches advanced placement history.
“Miriam is an excellent student who is mature beyond her years,” West said. “She is focused and diligent in the pursuit of her personal goals. She takes a personal interest in her school subjects, not merely because she wants to do well, but because she wants to have a better understanding of our world. Her curious mind and work habits will take her far in her chosen field.”
Pollard also noted that Miriam is musically gifted. “She began playing the piano and taking viola lessons in 2003. Her musical resume is extensive. She is a member of our school’s Orchestra, the Worthington Chamber Music Connection, Southern Maine String Academy and Tri-M Music Honor Society. Miriam also conducts private viola lessons for younger children.”
Stacy Lemke, orchestra director at Hayes, said, “Miriam’s passion is her commitment to the community of Delaware. She is extremely dedicated to helping others. Miriam has good ideas and is a strong leader when it comes to volunteerism and making things happen. As the current Hayes Orchestra President she is an excellent liaison between the directors and the students.”
Miriam hopes to continue her music at the college level, noting there are great opportunities for music at Kalamazoo as well.
Playing the viola since she was 9, she chose the instrument because “I wanted to be different.” She said while music is still a huge part of her life, she is cutting back this year to focus more on what will help for college.
Admitting she is not an athlete, sports still are a focus in her life; she is a soccer referee for DYAA soccer. Playing the sport from age 7 until freshman year, she began refereeing at that time.
She also played tennis her sophomore year “just for fun.”
While music is part of Miriam’s downtime regime, she confesses her hobby is her pets. She has four — two chinchillas, a guinea pig named Mozart and a 7-pound black New Zealand house rabbit named Winifred.
Science fair is another area where Miriam excels. She was selected as one of six from Ohio to attend the 2009 International Science and Engineering Fair in Reno, Nev.
“My project was not at the caliber of most there,” she said, reflecting on meeting other competitors from around the world. She said the experience was “culturally, very immersing.”
Looking ahead to summer, Miriam realizes she will be busy getting ready for college, but also hopes it can be somewhat relaxing as she plans to spend time with her family.
She offers the following advice for others.
“I’ve always lived by the golden rule. It’s the best advice to give anyone else — the golden rule. Be nice,” she said, adding, “Do what you are passionate about.”
She also said that with meeting a wide variety of people, “it’s not always easy. You have to work to get along with and accept people, so it’s important to have a kind and accepting mindset.”
Miriam is the daughter of Lisa Tabak and Lisle Gibbs of Delaware.