Student of the Week: Bella Chalmers


Maya Smith

Chalmers favorite part about La Salle is the community. “When I look back on La Salle I think I’m gonna think about the community the most,” she said.

Dakota Canzano, Editor

When senior Bella Chalmers isn’t working as a student leader for the Outdoor School program, helping out as the football team manager, or acting on stage, she’s found in the classroom giving it her all. 

Chalmers is a senior this year, and even though her last year of high school might not turn out as she imagined, she is still trying to be optimistic and stay involved. 

Chalmers has taken the elective Yearbook for two years now and is the only returning student in the class this semester.

“We have a really good class this year, I’m so excited [because] we already are having lots of fun in our Zoom meetings,” she said. 

What Chalmers enjoys most about digital learning is the breakout groups on Zoom and seeing her friends. However, Chalmers misses staying involved with the theater department because it “[kept] her [more] focused,” she said.

Chalmers participated in cheer both her freshman and sophomore year and is now one of the assistant directors for the theater department. She said that pushing herself to become more involved and adjusting to a new atmosphere was not easy.

Transitioning from a public middle school to La Salle was challenging for Chalmers at the beginning of freshman year. 

“It was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, honestly,” Chalmers said. “I had no form of religion before I went to La Salle and I had barely ever even gone to church… but honestly, it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.” 

As a student, Chalmers feels “really happy with where [I am] academically this year,” she said.

“Senior year is a big deal,” she continued. Chalmers decided not to take any honors or AP courses this year because she thought it would not work well while learning digitally. Instead, she is taking harder classes such as Anatomy and Physiology. 

While in quarantine, Chalmers has been working diligently to finish college applications for early deadlines. She encourages anyone who gets frustrated with college applications to “just step away and do something else that makes you happy for a little bit and then go back in and just keep moving forward,” she said.

Chalmers had times where she doubted her ability to receive an academic scholarship or even get accepted into a school.

However, she proved herself wrong.

After submitting an early application, Chalmers received two scholarships from Northern Arizona University: the Western Undergraduate Exchange Scholarship and the Founders Non-resident Blue Tuition Scholarship. 

“I just want to put it out there that even if you don’t have the best grades, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still get into [college],” she said.

A tip Chalmers has for applications is to develop a resume that shows involvement in extracurricular activities.

Chalmers also recommends “[making] sure that you have a backup school and also know… there’s no such thing as too many schools [that] you’re applying for.” 

Chalmers has already gotten into a nursing program at Oregon Tech, but is still waiting to hear back from a handful of schools including Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles, Pacific Lutheran University, University of MissouriSt. Louis, Truman State University, University of Portland, University of San Francisco, and Montana State University in Bozeman.

Even though Chalmers has already achieved her main goal of getting accepted into a nursing program, she wants to be accepted by as many schools as possible. 

During the summer of 2019, Chalmers was selected to attend a nursing program at the University of Portland where she learned about what it takes to become a nurse. She attended multiple panels led by graduate students as well as experiencing in-depth nursing simulations. 

Chalmers received a certificate from Casey Shillam, the Dean and Professor of University of Portland’s School of Nursing, after completing the 2019 summer nursing program. (Photo Courtesy of Bella Chalmers)

The second nursing program that was held in the summer of 2019 was at the University of California Irvine, which was “far more technical” in regards to the material that was presented. After attending both collegiate nursing camps, Chalmers became certified in first aid and CPR, providing care to people with diabetes, and in emergencies in which someone is bleeding.

“If you’re interested in nursing but don’t know if it’s something you will be able to manage or need reassurance, I would find a nursing camp to go to because it shows you the real life situations that you will be put in to become a nurse,” she said. 

When Chalmers was younger she had a neighbor who got diagnosed with leukemia, “which was really heartbreaking,” she said. From this, she got to know her neighbor well by going to visit her. Chalmers’ neighbor always told her that she appreciated her nurses when she was receiving treatment.

After seeing people around her receive different diagnoses, Chalmers quickly was inspired to become a pediatric nurse that specializes in oncology, which is the study of cancer.

Chalmers realized she had a special connection with children after she became an Outdoor School student leader. “Kids are so special in their own ways and it hurts me to see them in pain,” said Chalmers. “I want to [connect with them] every second I can [and make] them as happy as possible.”

To prepare for college, Chalmers is taking Anatomy and Physiology with science teacher Mr. Ryan Kain this year, which is one class that will be “important [for my] nursing program,” she said.

“I don’t think a school could have prepared me any more than La Salle could,” Chalmers continued. “I just believe that La Salle pushes us to do as much as we can and work hard… because they’re trying to prepare us now.”

Some of Chalmers’ favorite classes have been English with Mr. Gregory Larson and religion with Mr. Noah Banks. She also liked Falcon Formation with Mr. Tom McLaughlin.

Mr. Larson enjoyed having Chalmers in class her freshman and now, senior year. “Bella makes a consistent effort to ask questions during and beyond class and constantly strives to improve [as a] reader and as a writer,” said Mr. Larson. “I’ve always enjoyed our conversations about class content and the way in which it relates to the world outside my classroom.” 

Chalmers favorite part about La Salle is the community. 

“When I look back on La Salle I think I’m gonna think about the community the most,” she said. “The community at La Salle is so much better compared to anywhere else I’ve been.”

Chalmers said that everyone at La Salle cares about each other which makes her “feel really happy” going into college. Her most significant takeaway from high school is that “when things get hard, schoolwork wise [or] friendship wise, there’s always a way to make it better.”

Chalmers encourages freshmen to “ask questions and… take every opportunity to talk to each other [and] to get to know the environment that they’re in.” 

Chalmers doubted herself freshman year but if she could provide her former self with advice, she would say “just to keep working hard and to understand it’s not easy, [and to never] give up.”