CABOT, Ark. (KTHV) -- All this week, we are featuring “Gold Medal Kids,” the best of the younger generation, showing the kids who are working to change the world someday.
On Friday, we featured one amazing girl who is finding a way to serve others through her future career. Ryane Thurman is a senior at Cabot High School. She has traveled two separate times to the Dominican Republic working to help build a school for a community in need. She said she started the adventure thinking it was all about building a school, but she found out it was really building hope. Her father, Tony Thurman, said it was a life changing experience for her.
“She stepped right in, she did everything she was asked to do, and she learned a lot about the Dominican Republic and about herself,” he said.
Ryane helped to build a school from the ground up because the old school in the community was the size of a closet. Students were having to walk up to six miles to get to other schools. Ryane said that through her group’s service work and building process, they were able to build a two-story educational building. Ryane also realized she was building the foundation for her future.
“I saw the need for an educational building and educational needs but I also saw a need for healthcare that they lacked in the whole area,” she said.
Now, Ryane is preparing to graduate from high school and planning to study to become a dentist and Spanish speaker. She hopes she can return to the Dominican Republic someday to provide for her new friends.
“She has a heart for people and now that she has seen what she can do and the difference she can make, I think that will be her life’s passion,” her father said.
Ryane's mother, Tara Thurman, said it's a miracle Ryane has remained positive and driven over the years. She said Ryane suffered from a major illness and car wreck that kept her confined at home and isolated for much of her freshman and sophomore year.
“She showed us how she can overcome adversity and stepped up to the plate,” she said.
Ryane’s teacher, Jennifer Akers, said she is sure Ryane is going to be a positive world changer.
“She knows what she wants and she is going to get that no matter what,” she said. “The empathy she has toward other people really makes her stand out.”
Another one of Ryane’s teachers, Brandon Daughety, said Ryane is the perfect embodiment of a gold medal kid.
“When we think of gold medalists we think of people that are heroes but the real heroes are people that help other people with their lives and give of themselves. The fact that Ryane wants to do that is inspiring to me and makes me happy to be a teacher.”
Ryane plans to attend Ouachita Baptist University to study Biology and Spanish.