Congratulations to French major Caitlin Pribble!!

December 10, 2012

Congratulations Caitlin Pribble, one of nine "Outstanding Young People" honored by the Peoria Journal Star on December 9, 2012.

Caitlin Pribble, 18 of Morton, excels in three areas: running, education and community service.

She has volunteered at several food pantries and soup kitchens. Along with her sister, she has made hundreds of pillow cases for children in local hospitals through conkerrcancer.org because she discovered a need there. Caitlin has also pursued part-time jobs at nursing homes and animal hospitals because she enjoys helping others.

As a runner, she has state-qualifying times in both track and cross country, running competitively since junior high school. She is currently running on Bradley University's cross country and track teams.

Academically, she has been a consistent honor roll recipient. "As a youth director at Morton United Methodist Church, I have known many students over the years," said Aaron Yoder, her nominator. "However, Caitlin Pribble, now a freshman at Bradley University, stands above the rest. She is more disciplined, generous and humble than most.

"Caitlin is interesting because she commits to excellence in everything, not for her own gain, but for the well-being of others."

Q: Why is it important for you to give back to your community?

A: Giving back to the community means playing a part within the community. You get to know others who live around you and not just people who are similar in character to you. You encounter lifestyles and personalities that you may not get to experience otherwise. The feeling I get after serving is joy and gratitude. I am thankful for those who were humble enough to let me serve them. Those I serve always give me more than I give to them. Whether they teach me about the past or tell me their dreams for the future, it is always a learning experience.

Q: If you could meet anyone in the world who would it be and why?

A: I would meet the Rev. Billy Graham. My faith in Christ plays a huge part in my life. I would like to ask Rev. Graham about his family and how he went about raising his children. I think that his kids are very influential people just as he is.

Q: You have been very involved with a variety of organizations? Which one is most important to you?

A: The organization that is most dear to my heart is "The Penguin Project." This is a spectacular organization that puts on a Junior Broadway Musical once a year at Eastlight Theater. The program allows those with special needs to be paired with a "mentor" who helps to guide them throughout the performance.

My sister Jessica has special needs and was a performer in the play. I became a mentor for a few years and absolutely loved it. Dr. Andy Morgan, the director of Penguin Project, brought out the hidden potentials and gifts in the performers. I think a lot of people know someone with special needs but do not realize what that person could do or who that person could be when given an opportunity.

Q: What are your future plans, where do you see yourself in five years and again in 20 years?

A: In five years, I hope to have decided on a career. I have the goal right now to go to medical school and become a doctor for those with special needs. And in 20 years I hope I can use my skills as a doctor to help those overseas. I am continuing my French language from high school and would like to use this in mission work abroad.

Q: What advice would you give a young person just starting high school?

A: I had a wonderful high school experience; however I wish I would have done more things with my family. School and activities can keep a student busy, and friends are great too, but family is first.

Q: Share something about yourself that surprises people.

A: I am a twin! I feel so blessed to have a best friend wherever I go. A fun thing we did together was switch classes once in fifth grade on April Fool's Day. Our teachers didn't notice until I had to spill the beans because the class was about to take a quiz on a book I hadn't read.

Q: How has your family influenced what you have done in your life?

A: I am so thankful to have a family who chooses to serve the Lord and has taught me to do so since I was little. My family has always supported me throughout all my passion and dreams. They are my biggest cheerleaders in my faith, school and in my athletic career.