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Flathead student shows versatility in path to nursing career

by HILARY MATHESON
Daily Inter Lake | February 13, 2023 12:00 AM

Science, art, music, volunteering and working with individuals with special needs — Veyda Anderson has pursued a range of interests during her years at Flathead High School.

The inquisitive and artistic senior is a recipient of the Winslow Nichols Leadership Award, which recognizes the academic achievement and community involvement of high school students who contribute to improving the lives of others.

Flathead Career Center Coordinator Kristin Bay, in her nomination said Anderson is an exceptional student who “holds great promise to lead in caring for her community in the future,” based on her past contributions to the FHS community.

“One unifying quality noted by everyone who works with her, is Veyda’s kind personality,” Bay stated in her nomination letter. “She is able to work with all types of students and does so with her gentle, caring and respectful demeanor. She is not one to create drama or focus on the negatives and is able to work through issues with communication and calmness. She is also able to ask for help if the situation warrants it. Peers are drawn to Veyda as she creates a welcoming and safe environment to learn in with plenty of laughs along the way.”

With graduation closing in, Anderson plans to pursue a career as an emergency room or flight nurse.

“I just really like that idea of that fast-paced emergency medicine,” Anderson said.

It wasn’t until she started taking classes in Flathead’s biomedical program that her interest in the medical field was sparked.

“Students learn high level biotechnology laboratory skills, interpersonal skills, professionalism, and complex material with an emphasis on human health,” Bay said. “Her biomedical teachers describe her as an exceptional student that stands out in her work ethic and versatility. The work that Veyda completes is impressive in its depth, accuracy and organization.

Bay said Anderson is a committed student who puts in the time and effort to study, ask questions, listen to feedback and “take risks to learn challenging material.”

Anderson said she learned about the biomedical program her freshman year after sharing with a friend how she enjoyed learning about the systems of the human body when she was in elementary school. She said her friend and then biomedical teacher Linzi Napier encouraged her to take a biomedical class. Convinced it was worth trying, she jumped into the second class of the program sequence.

“Since then, I’ve taken lots of science classes,” she said.

WHILE THE fast-paced nature of emergency nursing intrigues her, the foundation of the pursuit lies in helping others with the gentle and kind demeanor Bay described.

“I really want to help people and when people are in their most vulnerable state,” Anderson said, and times when others may panic. “I'd like to be the person to try and help them recover, or not necessarily recover, but get back on their feet a little bit once an emergency has happened.”

Helping people is something Anderson has done in school and outside the classroom at the Lighthouse Christian Home where she is a direct care staff member.

“It’s basically a group home … for adults with special needs. I help them in their daily living,” Anderson said, assisting with cooking or bathing, for example, to aid them in living quality lives

Her summers have been spent working in the Big Sky Bible Camp’s leaders in training program and as a Camp Promise counselor for people with disabilities.

As part of the Winslow Nichols Leadership Award, recipients are given $250 to donate to an organization. Anderson is donating the money to the Flathead Youth Activation Committee which raises awareness on inclusivity, fundraises for the Special Olympics and supports Special Olympics athletes. Anderson, who also designed a logo for the team, hopes the donation can go toward purchasing uniforms for the school’s Special Olympics team.

“I really wanted the Special Olympics kids here to have a uniform for their events,” Anderson said.

She is also a member of the She-Ra Book Club, whose members serve as reading buddies for Elrod Elementary School.

AS MUCH as she is focused on science and medicine, art and music have played an important part throughout her life.

“I’m very artistic … I paint, and I draw, and I [do] calligraphy and I [play] music,” she said.

In regard to music, Anderson plays violin in the school orchestra and has been playing the instrument since the fourth grade.

Originally, when the elementary school she attended asked the fourth-graders if they wanted to play an instrument, Anderson wanted to play the flute like one of her cousins. However, it was orchestra that fit into her schedule so she chose violin.

After renting a violin for two years, in seventh grade, she received a special gift from her great uncle when he gave her his father’s violin.

Anderson continued playing throughout high school using that same instrument. Playing violin is an opportunity to express herself.

“It’s kind of freeing in a way,” she said.

Bay noted Anderson’s versatility in her concluding Anderson’s nomination letter.

“Her home life has equipped her with skills that most of her peers do not have, skills of commitment and flexibility. Her talents range from being brilliantly curious about science to an exceedingly talented artist and baker. She is compassionate with children and special needs individuals and tirelessly thoughtful toward others. We are so pleased to recognize her academic achievement and service with this nomination."

The Winslow Nichols Award, previously known as the Today’s Achiever’s, Tomorrow’s Leaders program, was renamed in memory of Nichols who received the award in February 2020 while a junior at Columbia Falls High School, after his death in a climbing accident on Mount Brown in Glacier National Park June 7, 2022.

The award is sponsored by Logan Health in collaboration with the Daily Inter Lake.

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

Learn More

Winslow Nichols Award nomination criteria:

Eligibility: High school students in Flathead, Lake or Lincoln counties.

Academics: Students who value their education by exhibiting academic responsibility; preferably have a 3.0 GPA or higher.

Character: Students who display integrity, compassion, service and excellence.

Citizenship: Students who nurture healthy communities through community service, volunteerism or other contributions to their community and/or school.

Leadership: Students who take initiative and are role models for others.

Forms are available at www.logan.org/tomorrowsleaders

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