Sibley Senior Spotlight: Meital Gewirtz
Sibley Senior Spotlight: Meital Gewirtz
Posted on 05/29/2015

The Senior Spotlight series features interviews with Sibley seniors who have shown a commitment to academic excellence and personal achievement. The series will highlight two seniors each week until graduation.

Meital Gewirtz
Senior Meital Gewirtz 

Daughter of Abigail and Jonathan Gewirtz, of Mendota Heights

As a sophomore, Meital Gewirtz had an idea for a non-profit organization. Through their travels, her family had acquired a collection of complementary hotel toiletries. Gathering the miniature soaps and shampoos had been a hobby for her family, however Meital knew that others were not so fortunate. She quickly turned her attention to finding a way to turn her family’s avocation into assistance for those in need. The result of her efforts has been Soaps for Hope.

“My family travels a lot and we always collect the complementary hotel toiletries however, they usually ended up lying around my house going unused. I thought that it may not be unique to just my family, so I thought of the name and started talking to principals and administrators about setting up drives at district schools,” said Meital. “We've done drives at Garlough and Sibley and collected thousands of hotel-sized toiletries that were then donated to the Dorothy Day Center and Dakota Woodlands.”

Meital, who will be continuing her studies at Yale University in the fall, noted that she has found several enthusiastic replacements to carry on her work with Soaps for Hope when she leaves for college.

In addition to Soaps for Hope, Meital also co-founded the Girls Learn International chapter at Sibley. Girls Learn International educates and energizes U.S. students in the global movement for girls’ access to education. Meital has also served as an editor for the Sibley Scribe, the Henry Sibley student newspaper, and participated on the Henry Sibley Math Team.

Throughout her time at Sibley, Meital has sought to test herself with many of Sibley’s most difficult courses. Among the advanced level courses she has taken are eight Advanced Placement (AP) offerings, including AP Biology, AP Chemistry, AP Calculus AB, AP US History, AP Calculus BC, AP Physics C Mechanics, AP Psychology, and AP Language and Composition. She has also take a pair of College-in-the-Schools courses in German through the University of Minnesota.

Meital has been recognized for her outstanding academic achievements through a 2014 Scholar of Distinction award from the Minnesota Department of Education, as well as AP Scholar with Distinction honors and an academic letter award.

Previously in District 197, Meital attended Friendly Hills Middle School. She is currently unsure of what she will study in college, but has given some thought to biomedical engineering.

District 197: How has Sibley prepared you to succeed after graduation?
Meital: Sibley's environment has taught me the responsibility and independence required to succeed academically. Throughout my time here I've developed the ability to know when to ask for help and when to tackle something on my own. I've learned the importance of hard work in pursuing challenging goals.

Who is your favorite teacher or what is your favorite subject at Sibley?
My favorite subject at Sibley has always been math. I've really enjoyed all of my math classes, especially AP Calculus. In this class I learned critical thinking and problem solving skills that I've found to be applicable in many other classes and outside of the classroom.

What’s a memory from your time at Sibley that will always stay with you?
My junior year, I started a gender equality club, Girls Learn International, along with two of my closest friends. Every week we meet and discuss complicated human rights issues and eat donuts. I've loved watching the club grow, and seeing more students become involved and excited to take on these important problems.

I've always been interested in and passionate about the injustices that women face globally and closing the gender gap, in schools and the workplace. It's because of this that I read the book Half the Sky the summer before 11th grade. This book explores some of these inequalities and mentions the international organization Girls Learn International as a good tool in teaching about them in high schools.

What advice do you have for younger students about high school?
My advice for younger students is to always challenge yourself academically. Don't be afraid to take difficult courses because often you're capable of more than you give yourself credit for.

Read about other achievements by students in the class of 2015:

-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Hieu Nguyen
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Catelin Do
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Adan Rodriguez
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Mario Jimenez
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Georgia Meyer
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Kyle Gilberg
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Jennifer Gravelle
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Michelle Friedmann
-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Jeyca Maldonado-Medina
-Kania Johnson named Henry Sibley's 2015 Athena Award Winner
-Menssen, Wilton, Rocke and Krisko recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Program
-Eighty-four Sibley students earn AP Scholar honors 
-Courtney Dean named Naitonal Achievement Scholarship semifinalist
-Meet the School Board's new Student Representative, Adrian Rocke