- Cece Bouska
- The Galloway School, rising senior
When Cece Bouska was born, her mother knew something was not right.
At birth, Cece was diagnosed with a rare heart ailment called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). A part of her heart was too small to function properly.
During the first two years of her life, Cece underwent three surgeries. She was given a pacemaker when she was 12 in order to speed up her heart rate and give her more energy. Her most recent surgery occurred last year.
“I think I am more down-to-earth, empathetic, and accepting because of all the surgeries,” Cece said.
But Cece doesn’t always accept things just the way they are, she and school officials say. She always has been willing to fight back to try to make things better.
After her mother passed away from breast cancer in 2003, her willingness to give back was strengthened.
Two years ago, Cece and one of her friends, Julianne Lang, put together a fundraising walk at The Galloway School to raise money for cancer charities. The first year, about 500 people took part, she said. Last year, 300 joined the march.
Cece’s success doesn’t surprise people at Galloway.
“As a junior, Cece impressed her teachers, and she worked hard to raise her grade-point average to above 4.0,” Galloway Upper Learning Principal Gordon Mathis said.
“She was an active participant in all class activities, and she applied classroom learning to real-life situations. Cece is always hard-working, and unfailingly polite and courteous. She has overcome significant health issues to be a model campus citizen, a leader both inside and outside of the classroom setting.”
Cece says she doesn’t remember who originally came up the idea for the walk, but she knows she and Julianne “could not have done it without one another.”
The two met with the principal and headmaster of Galloway and were shocked when they loved the idea and told them to go for it. Parents and staff members all helped get the word out.
CeCe also has a strong interest in Spanish. She has been studying the language since elementary school. This summer, she went to Costa Rica for a month for further study.
“I think learning another language is incredibly important, especially today with global markets and affairs,” she said. “But more so, I hope to be able to use Spanish in whatever career I chose.”
Cece hasn’t settled on a college she wants to attend. She is considering Tulane for its service orientation, Vanderbilt for its atmosphere, or Claremont McKenna for its opportunities.
This article was prepared by Sierra Middleton, a junior at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School.