Chaparral High School
Chaparral High School
When Rachel Turner was named captain of both her cross country and track & field teams in the 10th grade, she became the youngest student in her school’s history to earn that honor. While she competes and excels in sports that are very much about personal bests and individual performance, Rachel has always been much more focused on serving the teammates around her and putting others first. This attitude starts at home with Rachel’s younger brother, Adam, who is also a runner. Adam has Down syndrome and competes in the Special Olympics and on his middle school track team. He has taught Rachel the invaluable lesson that second place in a race is okay when family comes first.
Instead of going to camps or working with a personal trainer during the offseason, as many athletes do, Rachel chooses to spend the time at home with Adam. She says he has taught her that how you improve the future for others is far more important than improving your own time. Just as Adam cheers on Rachel at all of her meets, she cheers for him, too. At one of his school track events, she watched him cross the finish line to the thunderous applause of the crowd. It didn’t matter that he was in last place. Rachel realized then and there that success is measured in many different ways.
“Our culture defines greatness as being smart, athletic and famous. We should redefine greatness as being kindhearted and compassionate,” she says. She lives by this belief, volunteering countless hours to work with children through various organizations including Girl Scouts, her church, and Best Buddies, a club at school that pairs students with disabilities with a buddy. She hopes to one day start a service organization that promotes inclusivity and the value of accepting others for their differences. For now, she makes the effort to treat every person with an attitude of understanding and to provide ways for people of all abilities to achieve their personal bests.
“Each of us is destined for greatness, but it is how we define greatness that is most important.”
~ Rachel Turner ~