CHEYENNE – With more than 1,500 students enrolled at East High School, it can be hard to stand out – especially if you’re shy and soft-spoken.
But that hasn’t stopped Isabelle Seivley, an ambitious and compassionate, yet reticent senior, from getting the attention of her teachers – and winning the latest citizenship award from the Laramie County Retired Education Personnel.
“If our community was made up of a bunch of people who cared as much as (Isabelle) does, everyone would have someone having their back,” said Zane Jacobsen, a guidance counselor at East who nominated Seivley for the award. “People are so fortunate to have a friend like her. More than anything, she genuinely cares about other people.”
Those are the kind of people Seivley chooses to surround herself with, too.
“She’s been the kid who’s checked on others, and the kid who others have brought to our attention as needing help,” Jacobsen said. “It’s neat to see her being part of a group of students who are so concerned about helping others.”
Jacobsen has known Seivley for the past four years. That’s when she entered the rigorous International Baccalaureate program, which she’ll complete this year. He said she’s remained quiet and reserved throughout her high school career, but has also come into her own as a young adult, finding her stride in science and literature courses.
“She’s always been kind of quiet, but because of that, her voice is almost heard more when she does speak. People truly do appreciate what she has to say,” he said, noting the passion she shows for learning new things. “It’s so fun to talk with her about what she wants to do because she gets so excited.”
Ann Zumo, an IB science teacher at East, has also known Seivley for several years, and said she stands out for her intelligence, humility and strong work ethic.
“She was always willing to do whatever. She never rebuked anything I asked. She would just step up and do it,” Zumo said.
“A lot of times, I don’t think she thinks she’s as capable as she is. … I’m really happy she won this award. She’s not one to toot her own horn, so I’m glad someone like her is being recognized for her accomplishments.”
Seivley, an animal lover who takes care of her family’s chickens, ducks and horses, said she’s leaning toward majoring in biology when she starts at Laramie County Community College in the fall.
“Once she spreads her wings a little bit, I think she’ll see she can do anything she chooses,” Zumo said, characterizing Seivley as a “lifelong learner” with boundless opportunity in front of her.
Seivley said she hopes to work for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department – or perhaps one day make wildlife documentaries.
“Sometimes, it seems kind of unrealistic,” Seivley said of her desire to produce documentaries and field research about wildlife, but even still, “it seems cool.”
Confidence is something Seivley, who also plays violin in the school orchestra, has struggled to find in the past.
As she moves on from high school, she said she hopes that will change.
“I want to be able to have the confidence to do those things I want to do and be able to help people without feeling like I’m lacking.”
But according to her teachers, one thing she isn’t lacking is compassion. Seivley said she learned how to look out for others from watching her mother’s example of selflessness.
“She’s been an amazing person to me,” she said, recalling how her mother gave up her own pursuit of higher education to devote more time to her children and support her husband’s career goals. “She’s extremely compassionate and caring. I think she’s probably the person who’s influenced me the most.”