Nicole Cavaliere

When Nicole Cavaliere wasn’t busy winning two consecutive 3A women’s state championships on her Weddington High School soccer team, she was team captain on the highly competitive Charlotte Soccer Academy Regional 3 Premier Soccer League and played in an Elite Clubs National League.

With a committed schedule of three to four training sessions each week and games on weekends, it would’ve been easy to assume the 17 year old had little time in her life for much else.

But you’d be wrong.

Over the last five years as a devoted leader and volunteer in her community, Cavaliere found time to make a difference, confirming her passion for serving others.

Her volunteer work included mentoring special needs and underprivileged children at a YMCA camp, Boys and Girls Club and as a counselor at a local gym. She led fundraisers, food drives, clothing drives and toy drives as a member of her high school Beta Club and Beta Buddies, a program designed to help special needs children. She also served as an officer in the school’s Mentors Club.

Cavaliere is one of 20 freshmen entering East Carolina University this fall as an EC Scholar, the most prestigious undergraduate award program offered at the university. The four-year merit scholarship recognizes outstanding academic performance, commitment to community engagement and strong leadership skills. Recipients receive an Honors College scholarship, along with a stipend for study abroad, for a total value of $62,000.

She said she chose ECU because the moment she arrived it felt like home. “No one treated me like a number on a chart or just a name on a piece of paper,” Cavaliere said. “They were interested in me and my future at ECU which was something I hadn’t experienced at other campuses.”

During her visit, she also learned about ECU’s volunteer opportunities and service-based clubs. “I have always enjoyed volunteer work and am really looking forward to being a part of some form of community service at ECU,” Cavaliere said.

“To me, being an EC Scholar means I get to demonstrate my strong work ethic and desire to serve others any chance I get,” she said.

With plans to major in biology and eventually attend medical or dental school, Cavaliere intends to learn more about health care systems in other countries through study abroad.

“I want to observe dental or medical systems in less fortunate countries, compare them to ours in the United States and determine how to improve flawed systems worldwide,” Cavaliere said. “Through my study abroad opportunities, I plan to take what I learn and apply it on a smaller scale in rural areas of North Carolina.”

This summer she will continue working as camp counselor for children at a local gym. The remainder of her time will be spent with friends and family.

Cavaliere is the daughter of Rick and Donna Cavaliere of Weddington.

“To me, being an EC Scholar means I get to demonstrate my strong work ethic and desire to serve others any chance I get.”

High school: Weddington High School

Intended major: Biology

Hometown: Weddington