The 18-year-old freshman, who chose Dominican after considering the University of Southern California and Whittier College, is a Girl Scouts of America Gold Award winner – the equivalent of a Boy Scout achieving Eagle Scout status. It is an honor so prestigious that she was invited to walk for the first time in the annual Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena in 2012 to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Girl Scouts.
Zadravecz, who was a Girl Scout for 13 years, earlier this year, received the Golden Oak Leaf Award for serving the most volunteer hours at Twelve Oaks Retirement Lodge in Glendale. For her Gold Award, Project Smile, she created and led a 75-hour project at the retirement facility after she noticed senior citizens there had no activities or an activity director available on weekends. She introduced bingo games, cooking classes, the popular card game “Apples-to-Apples” and she continues to go back and engage the seniors.
"It was fun for me and it was fun for the residents" she says.
All told, Zadravecz has logged 627 volunteer hours at the retirement home since seventh grade when she joined the National Charity League.
In addition, Zadravecz volunteered at a summer camp for the Glendale Adventist Therapy and Wellness Center for three years where she worked with physical, speech and occupational therapists. That’s where she decided to pursue a career in OT.
“In the future, I want to become a Pediatric Occupational Therapist,” Zadravecz says. “I just love kids. There is such a wonderful innocence about them and you really can impact their lives. And I have patience for kids.”
When it came time to pick a college, Zadravecz was patient, too. She looked at USC then applied to both Dominican and Whittier. She was impressed by the personalized attention she received from admission counselors at Dominican and felt more comfortable with the small campus and class sizes, better than what she experienced at Crescenta Valley High School. Moreover, she can complete a Bachelors-to-Master’s OT program in five years and is readily qualified for real-world service opportunities sooner in her college life.
“I do like school,” Zadravecz says, “but most of all I want to be in the clinic working with people.”