Sidney Sinclair will be the first to tell you she was a little nervous Tuesday afternoon standing at the podium during the Washoe County School District Board of Trustees meeting. As the pressure released when exiting the boardroom she critiqued herself aloud, sporting the same contagious smile, saying “I can speak in front of 3,000 people but I can’t speak in front of 10.”
Her nerves may have surfaced after receiving the Class Act award from the WCSD Board of Trustees, United Federal Credit Union (UFCU), News 4 and Reno Aces Baseball. The award, according to UFCU Vice President of Member Relations Danny DeLaRosa, is reserved for students “who are heavily involved and looking for a way to make a difference.”
“The thing that really jumped out about Sidney was the variety of things that she was involved in,” DeLaRosa said following the award presentation. “She does everything from student advisory to athletics to Rotary Club, and really just being a leader with her peers when it comes to being that cheerleader and being really involved. She was really well rounded and that was something that really stood out to us.”
Sinclair, a senior at Spanish Springs High School, cannot be involved in just one activity or sport or club. She wants a piece of all of them, and the ones she cannot be a member of she will be an “unofficial cheerleader” of to quote her principal Tasha Fuson.
“I don’t think I have ever seen her frown, even when she is having a hard time. She has the most positive attitude of anyone I have ever met,” Fuson said Tuesday. “We have a lot of good kids, but Sidney is one of those very rare people that you only get once or twice in a career and has that outgoing personality and compassion for the school and true desire to make her surrounding better.”
Student Body president, tennis and softball team captain and Interact Club president are some of the titles Sinclair holds within the school, not to mention her active role in the Leadership class. It’s those in-school commitments -- plus many others outside school -- that make her a product of her own environment.
“The environment of everything really keeps me going,” Sinclair said Tuesday prior to receiving the Class Act award. “All of the kids in my (Leadership) class who spend so much time with me are a huge part of it, and I think it has been a great year and my adviser is just amazing. The reason that I get involved in everything at my school and I try to make it the best is because I want everything in my life to be the best. I want my family to be the best and have everything go the way I want it.
"My family is a huge part of it as well because I really want to make them proud. They are the ones who drive me to everything and I want everything in my family to be the best that it can be."
Needless to say, Sinclair keeps herself plenty busy during the school year planning and attending as many school events as possible -- the same attitude that earned her News 4’s Fan of the Week earlier in the school year. With Spanish Springs coming off the weekend’s Homecoming games Sinclair said she emceed the halftime show for the school in front of “the biggest student section we have ever seen at Spanish Springs,” a crowd that easily tipped the 3,000 mark.
“All it takes is a handful of Sidneys to change the culture on a school campus and I believe she is the heart of our change,” Fuson said adding that her first year as principal was also Sinclair’s freshman year. “Pretty much any student you ask on our campus if they know who Sidney is they are going to tell you ‘yes.’ She talks to everybody, she smiles at everybody, she makes it a point to interact with all kids especially our special needs kids and she goes out of her way to talk to all kids.
“She is the type of person who sees someone who is a little sad or set aside and make it her business to walk up to that person and get them to become involved. She wants everyone to get involved and everyone to get connected. She is definitely one of the students that will be on my watch list to see where she is in 10 years because I am sure it will be somewhere at the top.”
It all makes a full plate, right? Add ‘learn new language’ to her to-do list.
Sinclair recently received confirmation of her Rotary Exchange Program application that will send her to Brazil in August for a fifth year of study. Sinclair said she has always loved to travel and experience new cultures, but this new endeavor brings a new dynamic to her life.
“I know for a fact it is going to be really overwhelming,” Sinclair said from her family’s experience hosting an exchange student from Denmark this year. “Right now I am learning a new language and I am going to be thrown into a whole different culture. I am going to be with a different family and not with my family for a full year, and that is crazy to me.
“(The biggest impact) may be the independence because I am going to have to grow up really fast, and that is intimidating for sure, because I am going to be speaking a new language that I know very little about.”
After her year of study Sinclair will begin college stateside for a major in International Business coupling her studying abroad with the shadowing of her father as owner of CEI Alarm. She said being able to shadow her father has helped forge a new career path that she hopes will lead her to entrepreneurship.
“One of my goals is find something that they need down there and then I will come back and maybe start a franchise or something like that. I want to go big. I am not a small person,” she said laughing. “I have been privileged enough to work with my dad and seeing how he runs his business has driven me and now I want to run multiple businesses and be an entrepreneur.”