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Blue Valley CAPS student recognized in Reaching for Excellence program

Fox 4 News Reaching 4 Excellence recognizes young achievers in subjects like academics, the arts, leadership, community service, volunteerism, career exploration, overcoming obstacles and heroism. 

Graduation for the 2016 senior class of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy is next Monday. It’s a milestone moment in their lives for the graduates, including this week’s FOX 4 Young Achiever. And it’s even more special because Kansas City’s only Jewish Day School is marking its 50th anniversary this year.

She’s done it so many times, presenting to peers and faculty or judges and business professionals.

“I work at it ever single day,” said FOX 4 Young Achiever Gabi Cabell.  “It never stops getting nerve wracking.” But every time she tells people about the ideas she’s come up with the past two years at CAPS, the Blue Valley School District’s Center for Advanced Professional Studies, it’s a thrill for Gabi Cabell.

“I’ve worked on them for so long and you become attached to it like your own baby,” said Gabi. “You want to coddle it. You want to show it off to the world. And I’m so proud.” Gabi’s latest project is TMD AWAY, a face massaging device to ease the severe pain of a jaw disorder. She and project partner Jon Meyer developed the concept and designed and built a prototype of the device this year for their challenging coursework in product innovation at CAPS. And last year, in global business studies, Gabi came up with Lavish Lure — an award-winning and scholarship-winning concept for an on-line personalized prom dress shop for plus-sized girls. Both were inspired by Gabi’s own personal experiences.

“Whatever you’re doing in your life you have to be passionate about it,” said Gabi. “I can’t be passionate about selling socks. I have to be passionate about something that is going on with me. And it’s like, if not now, when? If nobody else is going to do it, I should.”

“Students like Gabi don’t understand the word ‘no,’” said Scott Kreshell, Gabi’s instructor for both Global Business and Innovate at CAPS. “It doesn’t exist in her vocabulary. There have been barriers that have come her way and it’s always been this, ‘Yes, Can Do’ attitude. I have a vision of what this needs to become. I’m not going to let little things get in my way. And that drive and that ownership to get beyond that is really where Gabi excels.” The Blue Valley School District CAPS program has been a focal point of Gabi’s life for two years now.

“Drive is something I’ve learned from CAPS,” says Gabi.  “To push myself to figure out what I want to do with my life.”  But for the past 13 years, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy has been where Gabi’s intellect, talents, community spirit and high aspirations have taken shape.

“I’ve grown up with these people,” said Gabi. “I’ve learned everything about them. They know everything about me. If you have that close connection, you literally become a family. And when you have a family, family brings you up.” Gabi’s an all-around scholar, athlete and school and community service leader and volunteer at HBHA. Her tireless service includes a lot of tutoring of children in lower grades, like elementary student Elia Ellis, to help them become the same kind of stellar student she’s become.

“When we tutor, I can see how bright she is and how much potential she has,” said Gabi. Gabi treasures her Jewish heritage and this school that along with her family have been the bedrock on which she has built her remarkable success and that has encouraged her to do good and give back.

“And it’s just something as a Jew and growing up in this culture and in this microcosm of a Jewish school that we’re taught,” said Gabi. “And it’s something that I love to do.” For Gabi, Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy and Blue Valley CAPS are the perfect compliment to each other in her drive to success.

“I love how they work together simultaneously,” said Gabi.”

Blue Valley CAPS says Lavish Lure and TMD AWAY are both market ready and could be turned into business opportunities or sold to investors by Gabi. Gabi’s putting those on the back burner, however, because this fall she’ll start her studies in the prestigious Foster College of Business at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois where she intends to major in accounting.