The valedictorian of Whiteland Community High School’s 2017 graduating class was spanning the globe at an early age.
She hopes to spend the rest of her life doing the same.
Micaela Gaviola was born in the Philippines and spent three years there before her family picked up and moved. After a less than a year in Ireland, they relocated again, this time to central Indiana.
Those moves, she says, are one of the primary reasons she’s pushed herself to succeed.
“I think a big part of why I work so hard is that my parents and my family did so much for us to come here so that I could have a good education,” Gaviola said. “That’s really the driving force.”
Gaviola certainly hasn’t wasted the opportunity. In addition to being ranked at the top of her class, she’s also the president of the student council, plays flute in the school band and serves as drum major in the marching band.
She’s involved with the Riley Dance Marathon, Social Justice Club and academic tutoring, and she also was a part of the school paper for a while.
When she’s not busy with that, she enjoys debating her friends about politics.
“My parents like to complain that I’m never at home,” Gaviola said.
After graduation, she’ll head off to IUPUI, where she plans to major in public health on her way to becoming a pediatrician.
The daughter of two nurses, Gaviola says that she grew up around hospitals and developed an interest in health care at a young age.
“I’ve been exposed to that field ever since I was little, and it was such an interesting field for me,” she said. “I love science, and I love helping people and I love seeing people get better.”
Gaviola adds that she focused on pediatrics because she loves young kids, and that “if you help the health of the future, you’re helping move society forward.”
Once she becomes a doctor, Gaviola would like to go to work for a health-related global nonprofit, such as the World Health Organization or Doctors Without Borders.
Much of the globetrotting she’s done in her life came at too early of an age for her to remember — she’s lived in the United States since the age of 4 and last visited the Philippines in fourth grade — but she hopes to make up for that as an adult.
“I definitely want to travel and experience the world,” Gaviola said.
Name: Micaela Gaviola
Age: Turns 18 today
Parents: Van and Shelley Gaviola
College plans: Attending IUPUI in the fall with plans to major in public health
Career goals: Go to medical school and become a pediatrician