Recent Big Spring graduate Gabrielle Reifsnyder is excited to continue her education at a university that makes her feel at home.
Gabi has been named the second Founder’s Scholarship recipient at Waynesburg University, which will give her full tuition to study Early Childhood Education with a certification in Special Education.
“My biggest draw to Waynesburg was the community and family feel I received from everyone I met there,” Gabi said. “Everyone from the university -- students, professors, coaches, and anyone you met -- was so incredibly friendly and showed a strong desire to help you in any way possible. This past fall, I had the opportunity to do an overnight visit at the campus where I got to meet many students as well as sit in on some education-related classes. I loved the atmosphere of the classes, as well as the strong connections that the professors had with their students. It truly felt like a place where I could get a great education and be surrounded by people who would push me and encourage me throughout the whole process.”
Gabi explained the Founder’s Scholarship recipients must be a first-year student, reside in Pennsylvania, have a cumulative high school grade-point average of 3.5 or higher, and either an SAT score of 1200 or higher or an ACT score of 26 or higher. Applicants must also complete an essay and interview process.
Gabi credits her education at Big Spring with fully preparing her to face the challenges ahead in her next chapter. During her tenure at BSHS, she completed the Mount Rock Elementary internship and the Elementary Water Safety internship.
“The biggest way my education at Big Spring has shaped and prepared me for college would be through the real-world and practical experience they have provided me with,” she noted. “Since my junior year, I have been able to intern in a wide array of classes at the Elementary Level with several different teachers who have all provided me with more experience and guidance than I could ask for going into college. The internship program, and all the teachers who mentored me, have helped me learn countless skills that are essential for a future teacher. I am so thankful for all of those opportunities to be working with kids within our district and to have learned all that I have already about teaching.”
Gabi competed in swimming, track and field and cross-country at Big Spring, where she was named MVP for cross country and received a Sportsmanship Award for track and field. She served as a school board student representative, as well as a senior class officer and treasurer of the National Honor Society. Gabi was also a member of Club C.A.R.E., Mu Alpha Theta math honor society, served as a member of the tech crew for the spring musical and was a Special Olympics volunteer.
Gabi also received the WoodmenLife American History Award, the Undergraduate English Award and the David B. Eavenson Sr. Award, in addition to being a John Travers Award nominee.
Gabi’s career at Big Spring will also help with the transition to enter the tight-knit community at Waynesburg University.
“To me, being a Bulldog means being a part of a never-ending family and support system. It means knowing you have people all around you who are willing to help you and who wish nothing more than to see you succeed. I know that I will always be a part of the Bulldog Family, and am so grateful to have grown up in such a supportive and loving community.
Gabi, daughter of Sharon and Michael Reifsnyder of Carlisle, also credits her own family for helping her along the way.
“My family has always been a huge influence to me. Whether it is my parents, grandparents, sister, or aunts and uncle, so many people in my family have always had a huge impact on my life. They have always supported my many endeavors in the classroom or athletically. They have always been incredible role models who teach me how to lead, to support others, and how to always work hard in everything you do. I have my family to thank for always being there for me and for helping me accomplish my goals and supporting me so much over the past years.”
Her parents expressed how proud they are of Gabi’s achievements.
“As her parents, we always thought she was a bright and talented young lady. She is always striving to do the best that she can at all times. Gabi has always put a lot of hard work into everything she does, whether it’s sports or academics. To see her awarded the scholarship shows that all her hard work and time spent doing the best she can has paid off. We are looking forward to what she learns and how she further improves herself as she continues her education at Waynesburg University.”
In her spare time, Gabi said she loves to spend time outside, whether it’s “running, hiking, biking, or anything else that gets me outdoors.”
“Being with friends and family, playing games or just spending time together is always a favorite way to spend my time,” she added.
Gabi has some sound advice for underclassmen who are figuring out which direction they want to go upon graduation:
“My biggest advice to underclassmen, as cliche as it might be, is to enjoy the moments. Whether they are big or small, cherish these years and all that they bring. When figuring out what your future holds, know that some people know what they want to do and what their path will be from a young age, and others it will take a good amount of time. But understand that both scenarios are entirely OK, and each will bring you great success. Don’t be afraid to explore your options, try out different interests, and keep looking for your niche. There will be bumps in the road and times where you feel stuck, but know that you are beyond capable and that there will always be people around you to help you along the way.”