Nikki Ringer says she'll never take her drive to school for granted.
The Palos Verdes High senior starts each day driving along the coast overlooking the ocean.
The petite blonde lives in Rancho Palos Verdes with her paternal grandmother, Dolores Davis, her parents, Diane and George, and her twin brother Rex.
“It’s really nice living in a multi-generational home,” Ringer said, “because there are lots of different perspectives. My grandmother sees the bigger perspective—the whole thing. I love living with my grandma because she’s very wise. Sometimes I walk into the room and she knows what I’m thinking.”
Ringer said sports plays a big role in her life.
“I love watching hockey, especially the Los Angeles Kings. My family has season tickets, so we go to the games a lot, and personally, I love to play soccer and lacrosse.”
She enjoyed soccer and has volunteered at a soccer summer camp, teaching 5 to 8-year-olds how to play. “We’d go through the same drills that I did when I was young,” she said, “so it was enjoyable and really cool to help them out.”
Ringer wrote for the “The Point”—the school newspaper in her junior year and she’s doing it again. “It’s fun. I do a sports overview of the fall, winter and spring,” she said. “I interview two players from each sport, get quotes, and write it up for the paper.”
Ringer has also volunteered for Camp Escapades, a two-week summer day camp for 5 to 14-year-old children with special needs and developmental delays.
“We were given two hours of mandatory training before we worked with the kids,” she explained, “but sometimes it was difficult, because, when you’re one-on-one with a 5-year-old with special needs, it can be very hard, but the leaders help you. Although it was frustrating at times, it was really rewarding, and at the end of the day, I was glad I did it.”
The busy teen also volunteers for Trades of Hope, an organization that empowers women worldwide to rise out of poverty through sustainable business and realize their potential. Ringer’s aunt, Juliet Davis, is a Compassionate Entrepreneur in the organization, and last summer she invited Ringer to go with her to a three-day Trades of Hope conference in Orlando, Florida.
“We met artisans from Gutalama,” Ringer said. “Each woman had a story and it was interesting seeing what they made. It motivated me to help my aunt at her parties where we showcase and sell the jewelry, handbags and more that the women make.”
“The important thing,” Davis said, “is that Nikki is very involved in the organization and always takes time out of her busy schedule to volunteer. She sets up whenever I have a party for Trades of Hope, and includes her friends. She tells our guests the stories of the women who made the products and buys the products herself. She’s amazing.”
Ringer said her parents are supportive of her philanthropy.
"They’ve always told me how lucky I am," said Ringer. "They don’t push me, but they want me to give back in my own way with organizations that I’m passionate about. Volunteering has made me realize that a small act of mine can go a long way for people who might not have as much. And, I don’t really feel like I’m volunteering per se because I enjoy what I do.”
This summer Ringer is spending a lot of time out of the country.
She just returned from a international business conference in Singapore sponsored by the Yale National Student Leadership Conference. The NSLC is a program that hosts career-focused leadership conferences for hand-picked high school students. It’s a highly selective program that only accepts students with exceptional leadership and academic skills.
“I learned so much,” she said. “We had lectures from experts about international business and leadership, did a trade simulation, toured the stock exchange and visited the sights, including the Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Bay Sands. It was amazing experience for me.”
Ringer and her family enjoy traveling.
“I love to go on trips with my parents and my brother because at home everyone is going in different directions, but on trips we bond a lot and it’s nice,” she said. “I’ve been around the Baltic Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Australia and New Zealand. This summer we’re going to Kenya, Zambia, Botswana and Capetown, South Africa. We’ll see elephants—my favorite animal—and fly over Victoria Falls. I come back on August 9, just in time to go back to school.
Ringer intends to study marketing and business in college and she’s considering Michigan State, Penn State, and Ohio State.
“But, I’m going to miss my brother,” she said thoughtfully. “We’ve always hung out together and had the same friends. I don’t want to be super far away from him. When we’re in college I’m going to have to FaceTime him every day.”