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A beautiful mind

Alex Green • Jul 20, 2014 at 12:20 PM


Gaberiel DeFreitas knows what it feels like to have a beautiful mind.

He recently received a 35 on his ACT. A perfect score is 36.

He's spent his three years in high school as the No. 1 ranked student at Port Clinton High School.

He also qualified for the National Spelling Bee in eighth grade.

And that's just part of it.

His mother, city councilwoman Nicole DeFreitas, has thoroughly enjoyed watching him develop a bit differently than the average kid, and now she is excited to watch what Gaberiel does moving forward.

"We don't want him to leave us," Nicole said. "But it's exciting to see the work he's done since he was a little boy."

Gaberiel, 17, has clearly set himself up well for at least his next four years — unless he graduates college early — and into the future.

Columbia, University of Chicago, Harvard and Georgetown are all on his short list. Columbia would be his first choice now, but he said he needs to visit more schools before he can make a decision.

Throughout the countless achievements and moments of brilliance throughout Gaberiel's young life, his mother admires other traits unrelated to intelligence.

"I'm obviously very proud, but I'm most proud of the person he is," Nicole said. "He's very kind. He thinks of others and his determination is his greatest strength."

She said all the intelligence in the world is useless if it's not put to good use, something she has gotten through to her son.

"He puts his mind to it and accomplishes it," Nicole said. "He tries to do the most with the gift he's been given."

Gaberiel says he would like to study either economics or urban planning, perhaps in pursuit of a government job in a big city.

"So many people live in (cities), they're very important," Gaberiel said.

He's had a passion for government, big and small, since he was young enough to understand the concepts. And that mark came earlier for him than for most.

He volunteered for the Obama campaign as a sixth grader and has worked on a multitude of local campaigns since then.

With election season around the corner, Gaberiel has spent this summer volunteering for the Ottawa County Democratic Party.

There is no doubt he's gifted. But to get to his level of brilliance, it takes more than genetics, or natural gifts, or anywhere else his intelligence might derive from.

"There's a lot of hard work that goes with it," Gaberiel said.

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