Recent History – 2002
June 14, 2002
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
After winning the Kiwanis Club scholarship for the top academic student in South Peace Secondary School’s graduating class, could an endorsement from a certain running shoe company be in the cards for Carla Maxwell?
Whether she realizes it or not, her approach to schoolwork rings of a theme usually associated with big name athletes and their footwear.
“Do it all and you do it right,” Maxwell said when asked about how she goes about getting top marks. “Never settle for not knowing one of these things or leaving a question blank. Make sure you know it all.”
Get the picture?
Fortunately, it’s a pride in being thorough, not competitive zeal, that appears to be Maxwell’s prime motivation. Indeed, while her marks hover in the mid-to-high 90s, as a member of the Seals swim club she’s pretty average athletically.
“I’m not one of the uber, super, amazing people with huge piles of medals,” she said.
And she’s happy with that. Maxwell rarely keeps score — either in the pool or in the classroom. While she deeply appreciates winning the scholarship — $1,000 a year for four years — it wasn’t an overwhelming goal.
“I knew I was in the running, there’s always three or four of us,” she said. “But I try not to religiously keep track of stuff like that because it just drives you nuts.
“You can’t really control that.
“I didn’t sit down and say I am going to beat all the other kids in the school no matter what it takes. I think it’s really silly when people compare themselves to others all the time.”
Of course, parents and family have an influence. Her father, Jamie, is a teacher at SPSS, and at home schoolwork comes first. But her parents downplay any credit they may have for her success.
“She’s really intrinsically motivated, it all comes from inside,” said Jamie. “Nobody tells her to do it.”
Maxwell has a keen focus on the sciences — taking chemistry, physics and biology. Her favourite is biology, her toughest is math and she does best in physics.
She’ll be attending the University of Alberta starting in September and is angling towards a career in occupational therapy. “You get to work with kids, you get to study play methods, and there’s problem solving,” she said.
It’s doubtful she’ll be swimming competitively, but Maxwell probably will spend some time in the pool. “I love the swimming in the morning because when you get out you’re so balanced,” she said. “It actually wakes me up.”