While this may not have been the year she had hoped for, Neely has worked hard to determine what study methods work best for her in distance learning. And, to balance things out, she participates in extracurricular activities she is drawn to.
One activity she is currently passionate about is raising funds for cancer research and treatments. Since mid-January, Neely has been part of a team campaigning to raise money to cure cancer, alongside fellow ESHS students Valoria Miranda and Isabella Ramacciotti. “I am proud to join the battle to cure cancer,” Neely said. Their team, The Mighty Shrimps, is participating in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Students of the Year campaign, which runs from January 14 - March 6, 2021. The Mighty Shrimps are competing with other high school student teams in the greater Los Angeles area to raise the most funds. Funds raised will go to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, whose research benefits all cancer patients.
The philanthropic-minded Neely, who has a desire to help others and make a real impact, has set an individual goal of raising $5,000 and has raised $3,600 so far from generous donors. On a more personal note, Neely joined the fundraiser as a way to honor her close friend who was diagnosed with lymphoma this year. “I wanted to help in some way because I realize this must be very difficult for my friend; the treatment is a difficult process and I want to do whatever I can to lift my friend’s spirits,” said Neely. “We talk and try to stay in contact while she is going through treatment.”
She was invited to join The Mighty Shrimps fundraising campaign by her friend Frances Abu Shanab, a young leukemia survivor, who she met through club volleyball—a favorite sport of Neely’s. The Mighty Shrimps’ team name came from Frances’ love of eating shrimp as a child!
Neely is a member of the 14 PV Legends volleyball team at the Surfside Volleyball Club of Palos Verdes. Her team is currently ranked third in their age division in Southern California. Since most team sports are currently paused during the pandemic, her team is focused on sports conditioning and practices, while maintaining appropriate health safety measures. In the future, she says she will consider trying out for the ESHS girls volleyball team. In addition to volleyball, Neely also enjoys swimming and artistic pursuits.
One of Neely’s favorite classes at ESHS is Biomedical Science. She was uncertain of what to expect when she enrolled in the Biomedical Science Pathway, but she is pleasantly surprised she enjoys the class. “It’s fun to learn a subject that is different and that I haven’t been introduced to before,” she said. During her first semester at ESHS, Neely worked hard to earn a high GPA and was happy her teachers were accessible and helpful.
Not yet sure of what college major she might pursue, Neely plans to continue her education after high school and is considering a future career in the medical field thanks to her introduction to Biomedical Science at ESHS.
For anyone interested in donating to The Mighty Shrimps cancer fundraiser (through March 6, 2021), more information is available at the link: https://events.lls.org/calso/lasoy21/lneely.