JDP senior Gabby is the baby of her family, so this is going to be rough for her sweet mom and dad. She’s the one who asked her Mama as a little girl at bedtime, “did I bring you joy today Mama?” So the heart strings are being yanked especially hard on this one for Mama.
Gabby had the unfortunate timing (like all of the class of 2023) of starting her high school years at the start of Covid. She was sent home her freshman year, for what the world thought was only going to be a few weeks, and instead became the remainder of her school year. Then her sophomore year was at home as well. Finally her junior year had some semblance of normalcy. She’s hopeful for a wonderfully normal senior year experience ahead!
Gabby attends FSK where she is the National Honor Society president. She chairs the Homecoming and Prom committees where her talent for decorating, art and organization shine. She also attends Young Life where she appreciates the sense of community with another set of kids in her life. She values the adults who are there for her when she needs support and guidance.
Gabby is an old soul at heart. She’s wise beyond her years and has been a joy for her parents to watch grow into a young woman that everyone loves. She’s fiercely loyal and ready to meet challenges head on, with no shrinking back. Her family has been through the ringer the last few years. Gabby is showing these times become an opportunity to develop and grow a strength and grace that is indispensable for life.
Gabby’s mom, who is also widely loved by so many, was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma last year that the doctors feared had metastasized. Thankfully, her surgery to remove the cancer revealed it had not metastasized. Now Carrah has frequent follow ups but is breathing a sigh of relief. Gabby’s sister Kylie also walked through a devastating anorexia diagnosis simultaneously. Gabby feared for the lives of the two women she loves most in this life. She was and is her mom and sister’s biggest cheerleader and supporter through all these challenges. Her compassion and kindness has knit her closely to her family and makes others in her life feel as though they are a part of her family as well.
Gabby’s grandmother has also had to come live in their home because of declining health. Gabby’s resilience did not develop accidentally, but incidentally. This is no snowflake, but instead a warrior!
Gabby’s mom also credits her commitment to gymnastics in developing Gabby’s resilience. Gabby took her first gymnastics class, “Mommy and Me” at just 2 years old and she was hooked! She started at Carroll Gymnastics where it wasn’t long before she was invited to pre-team to prepare her for competition level.
Gabby transitioned to Frederick Gymnastics for her whole competitive career since the level of competition was stronger there. She started in their training team, where she was groomed for competition for two years before she began her competitive career at 6 years old. Her favorite to compete on is the beam but she competes in bars, floor and vault as well.
Gabby recognizes the contribution that being a competitive gymnast her whole life has meant for developing her into who she is today. The life skills of time management, confidence building, accomplishing goals as a part of a team, taking risks when the timing is right–are all invaluable assets she credits from her time as a gymnast.
I asked Gabby what her favorite memory was related to her competing and the water works opened. “I’m going to cry, there are so many!” In particular, her team worked their butts off this year to win States. They were hungry for this victory and didn’t let anything get in the way. They also won Regionals.
And while those championships are amazing, it’s the camaraderie that the girls on her team provided for one another while they walked through prepping for this competition that caused Gabby to overflow with emotion. Those girls were there for one another, in and out of the gym.
Having a school life/social life/athletic training life balance is no joke for kids today. Gabby did something unique for a serious athlete related to her training as a gymnast. She signed a contract that she would not be attending any Friday night or early Saturday morning practices through high school. Her coach agreed and she flourished. Quite a lesson there for keeping the love of the sport in tact while still keeping a semblance of a teenage social life as well.
Sadly, on the heels of winning the State championship, Gabby’s coach has made the decision to step down to spend more time with her family. Gabby could see the writing on the wall and knew it was probably time to end her competitive gymnastics career as well. Since then, others have made the same decision and while ending is hard, they are all going out on a high note.
To everything there is a season. To quote the song Closing Time, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” So Gabby we are all so excited to see what this next chapter holds for you. The discipline you have built, the tenacity of spirit, the compassion and the love that spills out of you for your people is going to be an incredible blessing for you and everyone you do life with in your next chapter! Go get ’em girl!