gmhTODAY Spring 2022 - Page 27

Student of the Year : Gelasia Tiwana
Student of the Year : Gelasia Tiwana
Ann Sobrato Senior Gelasia Tiwana , recalled being “ taken by surprise ” when she learned of her award . Her first thought was to share it with the teachers who have supported and inspired her along the way .
Tiwana is especially grateful to her science teachers , since science is her primary focus . Ever since she read Oliver Sacks ’ book “ The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat ,” about neurological disorders , she has been interested in neuroscience , which she plans to pursue in college . “ I ’ m interested in how people ’ s different perceptions of the world are affected ,” she said .

Awards 2022

She also wants to explore ways to combat “ inequities in healthcare ,” having seen firsthand what it ’ s like when people can ’ t afford the care they need . “ I really want to focus on creating equitable healthcare and making it more affordable .” She is also an active volunteer in numerous local organizations including : AAUW ’ s Young Women Leaders , who have put on an annual conference ; the group Masking a Difference , which distributed homemade masks and cards to hospitals and community groups during the pandemic ; and NeuroHealth , an organization that uplifts the stories of patients dealing with neurological conditions and speaks to local researchers .
Her inspiration are the mentors who ’ ve supported her .
“ A huge role model for me has been AAUW member Margaret McCann . Margaret taught me leadership , public speaking , how to build my own confidence , not to be afraid to share my opinions , and involving myself in the community .”
She also credits her parents , who immigrated from India as young adults , after dealing with challenges and limits in their own country . “ A large part of my identity is Sikhism , a Punjabi religion , also considered a minority in India ,” she stated .
The “ tradition heavy background ” of her culture is something she has strived to break free from , with the support of her family , particularly ways that limit women . As the oldest of three sisters , she said , “ I felt a responsibility to show them that I can change that .” Her efforts to become a strong , independent woman have also brought her closer with her mother .
“ I ’ m really grateful to live in Morgan Hill because there are a lot of great community leaders here and supportive adults that listen .”
WERC , the Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Center provides the community with rehabilitation services for orphaned , injured and sick native wildlife .
To learn more : ( 408 ) 779-9372 / werc @ werc-ca . org ​P . O . Box 1105 Morgan Hill , CA 95038-1105
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