When it comes to optimism versus pessimism, there's the glass half empty versus glass half full perspective, and then there's the Gabi Geoia perspective … the glass is overflowing and let me figure out how I can add more.
Geoia was born and raised in Susanville; a label she wears with great pride. She grew up playing sports, enjoying the natural wonders that Lassen County has to offer, fishing with her dad and volunteering through various organizations. Volunteering quickly became a passion of Geoia's and by the time she graduated from Lassen Union High School in 2017, she had completed more than 700 hours of community service through her eight years with 4-H; Future Business Leaders of America; California Scholarship Federation (CSF), a nationally recognized academic club that emphasizes community service; her appointment to the Miss Lassen County Court, and on her own. She earned all those hours and still graduated in the top 10 of her class with a 4.0 GPA.
Well before her graduation, she began prepping for college, both financially and academically, taking AP classes to help gain college credit. She was well aware of the high-cost of education and knew she could knock out her first two years of college tuition-free while also playing more years of volleyball, if she attended Lassen College. Geoia received the Lassen College Foundation scholarship in late spring of her senior year. She was excited to begin the next phase of her life and her hometown was just the place to get started.
"What I love about Susanville and LCC is the community," said Geoia. "The community is so supportive, whether it's coming to sporting events, or coming together during difficult times. As I have gotten older, I have been able to appreciate growing up here more."
Geoia, a recent graduate of Lassen College, is studying to become a teacher, something she's wanted to be since she was a little girl. Her dad, Paul, is a history teacher at the high school and greatly influenced and inspired her decision, along with her high school English teacher, Shelley Bennett, an LCC alumnus. She is undecided about which grade and subject she wants to teach but plans to transfer to Chico State, where her dad attended, and will go through their teaching credential program.
With her career at Lassen College behind her, which includes two seasons of volleyball for the Lady Cougars, Geoia is working part-time to save for Chico State. Unfortunately her work schedule leaves less time to volunteer, but says it is something she will always do throughout her life.
"The community was always so giving to me growing up," said Geoia. "Whether through sponsoring my sports team or buying my pig at the fair, they have always been so kind, generous, and supportive. It feels good to give back to a community that has given so much to me."
Academically, she continues to excel. She's made the Dean's List every semester in college and attributes much of her success at Lassen to the help she's received from her teachers and counselors. Geoia specifically has great appreciation for Sue Mouck, who recently retired, and her anatomy and philosophy two semester class. Geoia recalls having to learn how to study and incorporate studying into her every day routine. Mouck's classes and style of teaching were key to preparing Geoia for her harder classes this semester, and for her transition into a four-year school.
"LCC has shaped me into a more responsible student," said Geoia. "In high school, I took many AP classes, which prepared me for college. However, LCC really taught me how to study, and how to study well."
Lassen College has given Geoia the support she was hoping for in college. She proudly boasts about how she can reach out and have access to her teachers and counselors at almost any time. It doesn't matter if it's receiving helpful advice and information on Bagel Thursdays, help with class material, planning her future, or for a pep talk, the sense of community has been positive and abundant for Geoia and that includes the student body.
Though Geoia is excited to start the next phase of her life, she looks back at her past 19 years in Susanville with great appreciation and happiness. Her time at Lassen College opened doors to experiences and friendships she wasn't expecting and has reinforced her desire to return to Susanville to work and raise a family, or a town similar to Susanville.
We can only hope that Geoia decides to return to Lassen County to flood the area with her overflowing optimism.