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Morgan Burchhardt

Explore CDSWOY All-Time Roster Members

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Rachel Wnuk

Member of the CDSWOY Class of 2020
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Written by Jim Schiltz, The Daily Gazette Staff Writer

Rachel Wnuk doesn’t seek out the spotlight, but it keeps finding her.

That will happen when a teen continually delivers in so many ways like the versatile and popular Galway Central School senior does.

“She is quiet,” Galway Booster Club president and girls’ soccer coach Rob Martin said. “She leads by work ethic and example rather than by being boisterous.”
Yet what she has done as an academic star, a three-sport team leader, and volunteer in and out of school speaks so loud, and so well of her.

Earlier this school year, Wnuk was recognized with soccer and basketball Section II Scholar-Athlete prior to being named as one of 10 high school honorees for the inaugural Capital District Sports Women of the Year awards, which also sees three college athletes recognized.

For four years she has been a National Junior Honor Society member, and she’s assembled a 99 classroom average. Among the organizations of which she belongs is Things of Our Very Own, which is a crisis intervention task force that works to assist fellow students.

“When our athletic director called me to the office my thought was, ‘What did I do wrong. What’s going on?'” the 17-year-old Wnuk said of receiving the CDSWOY award. “When she told me about it, oh my gosh, it was so incredible. I’m thinking, ‘How did this happen.'”
An inquisitive nature and willingness to dig in has helped. “I like to learn,” Wnuk said. “It fascinates me when someone says a fast fact. I have to know, ‘Where did you learn that? Where did you see that?'”

Wnuk is already taking college-level courses and is weighing between heading to RPI or SUNY Buffalo, and has a long-term goal of becoming a chemical engineer.

“Last year, I was considering the Peace Corps after high school because I love helping people,” Wnuk said. “After college, I’ll revisit that.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that Rachel has a bright and successful future ahead of her,” Galway athletic director Elise Britt said.

Wnuk serves as co-president of Galway’s Science Club and is a Student Senate member. Her vast resume also includes GTV anchor and writer for the school newspaper, Drama Club, Do Something Club, Leo’s Club and Best Buddies, which is a friendship club that pairs students with and without disabilities.

“It gets hard sometimes,” Wnuk said. “Weekends get busy, but it’s always worth it.”

“Rachel is an asset to the Galway Central School District, our community, and each program she chooses to be a part of,” Britt said. “What is striking about Rachel is her personality, empathy, and kindness. She always has a smile on her face and is always ready to reach out a helping hand.”

That reach extends to athletic circles, too. Last fall with the soccer team, Wnuk gladly shifted from forward to center midfield because she knew it would make the Eagles a more effective team. She also knew she would score fewer goals.

“She was our leading scorer as a junior,” Martin said of the two-year team captain. “We had a younger team this year and I needed her athleticism and experience at midfield. I moved her and she had no problem with that. She always tries to do the right thing for the team.”

“I just wanted to have a fun senior season and enjoy the team atmosphere,” Wnuk said. “I wanted to make memories with the girls. That was the most important thing to me.”

Along with soccer and basketball, Wnuk has lettered as a multi-event track and field performer, and as a sophomore she qualified for the outdoor state meet in the high jump. As a junior, her long list of highlights included being named Prom Queen and receiving the Rensselaer Academic Medal Scholarship.

“I want to thank all of the coaches and my parents for pushing me,” Wnuk said. “I wouldn’t be here without them.”

This article appeared in the 2020 CDSWOY Awards Program on August 18, 2020.

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