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2015 Students of Distinction: Heather Selby

Heather Selby started cultivating a passion for the arts when she was in preschool. She began dancing ballet at age 3, and started piano lessons at 6.

“Both of those show my love for classical arts,” she said.

Selby continued piano lessons for 10 years while also participating in a variety of performances and devoting six hours a week to her music.

She became involved with Harbor Dance Senior Ballet Co. in eighth grade, becoming lead soloist by 10th grade. Dancing eight hours a week for 50 weeks of the year, she’s made ballet a big part of her life.

“It’s a way to express myself through movement,” she said.

As the lead soloist, Selby has served as a role model for other dancers, even helping them outside of class. She’s also performed in festivals, recitals and benefit events.

Looking for yet another way to express herself, Selby joined Gig Harbor’s speech and debate team, participating in as many as nine tournaments per year. She said that as a quiet person, she was able to express her opinions where she normally wouldn’t.

She competed at state the past three years, placing in the top two. The debate team is what influenced her decision to pursue a career in international affairs.

“I speak specifically about world problems,” she said.

This year, Selby has been serving as the president of the team, which has nearly 100 members.

“Heather has been an outstanding leader,” coach Chris Coovert said. “She is taking on the important job of teaching new students how to debate and deliver speeches, while also coordinating fundraisers and organizing team events.”

Despite a busy schedule, Selby has maintained a near-perfect GPA while taking rigorous classes.

She said academics are her top priority and she has to stay focused in order to do her homework and have the time for all her activities.

Selby has devoted time to community service, including three mission trips. She said she’s been fortunate to have a great life, and it’s important for her to give back.

“The mission trips help broaden my perspective of the world and motivate me to pursue social justice,” she said.

She plans to continue mission trips and her involvement with piano and ballet after high school.

Selby’s plan is to attend a university on the East Coast and study international relations. Her goal is to pursue a career in foreign affairs that will involve diplomatic or social justice work.

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