Daisy Brummer, ANC Carr Fire Scholarship Recipient: ‘The future is what I am focusing my energy on’

Last fall ANC raised $5,300 in its first online Carr Fire Scholarship auction to benefit graduating north state seniors who’d lost homes in the Carr Fire during the summer of 2018.

In the spring of 2019, the ANC Carr Fire Scholarship committee –  comprised of myself, Eleanor Townsend, Anita Brady and Joanne Lobeski Snyder – selected five students from the applications we’d received.

Eleanor Townsend and I shared the honor of presenting five $1,000 scholarships to five worthy recipients during year-end high school award ceremonies. The recipients are: Daisy Brummer and Sophie Bunton from Shasta High School, Madison Morton from Central Valley High School, Justin Matties from U-Prep High School, and Mason Buck from Foothill High School.

Join me today in welcoming Shasta High School graduate and Carr Fire Scholarship recipient Daisy Brummer.

Hi there, Daisy. I can imagine you’ve had a busy summer, so thanks for taking the time to chat here with me today on ANC. First, congratulations on being a recipient of ANC’s first Carr Fire Scholarship.

To start, how’s your summer been since you graduated?

To be honest, my summer has been fairly boring. Though as I’m writing this I’m on vacation in Portland with my aunt, which has been pretty fun so far. It’s nice to take a break from the Redding heat. I learned to drive over the summer, that was cool. Other than that I haven’t really left the house. I guess I’m still recovering after graduating. I still have dreams about needing to wake up at 6 a.m. to get ready.

Portland is a cool city – in more ways than one. I’m glad you got a chance to be there on vacation. And congratulations for learning to drive. That’s a big deal. (As an aside, I don’t know if you’ve ever taken the train from Redding to Portland and back, but it’s pretty neat, I mean, other than the fact the Amtrak rolls through Redding around 3 a.m.)

So you’ve graduated high school. Is there anything you’ll miss about high school? Anything you won’t miss?

I don’t miss high school at all. I feel like there’s a lot of social pressure put on kids to like high school. People refer to it as “the best years of your life” and there’s just so much media romanticizing those four years. I just don’t get it at all. To me, high school was a thing that briefly happened and I’m thrilled to have done with it. I was just not invested in being there. I’m really excited to move forward.

Daisy, I felt pretty much the same way about high school when I was your age, so I understand where you’re coming from.

If you could do a high-school do-over, what would you do differently?

There are definitely a lot of things I definitely could have done better with. mostly in terms of getting homework in on time. I also feel that I isolated myself socially due to shyness and anxiety. I didn’t think very highly of myself. Even so, I wouldn’t redo any of it if given the chance. No sense in trying to change the past. The future is what I am focusing my energy on.

Well, I hope that here at ANC we can help you see that we think very highly of you, and we are rooting for you!

What’s your academic plan for the fall?

I’m going to attend Shasta College for the next two years, then hopefully transfer to a four-year. I’m going to major in English language and literature.

As someone who attended Shasta College and then transferred to CSU, Chico, I’m a huge Shasta Community College fan. I think it’s a cool way to break up an education into manageable semester chunks. Two years there, and two years more at a university and the time will fly by.

If all goes according to your hopes and plans, how do you see things progressing the next few years for you?

Again, I hope to transfer out of Shasta College to a four-year as soon as possible. After college I’d like to get out of California. I’d prefer to live farther north, perhaps in Oregon or Washington. The sooner I do that the better. I promise that’s not just because I happen to be in Portland right now. It’s been an aspiration of mine for a long time.

No harm setting your sights on a different state. See the world! Speaking of world, in your perfect world, what would be your dream job some day?

Currently, I like the idea of teaching English literature or being some kind of fiction editor. I’d like to do something quiet and stable. Mine has been a hectic life. I feel like I allowed myself to become consumed by issues with my family. Which, to be fair, was often because I was a child. Now though, I have the opportunity to decide who I want to be. I hope to have a more peaceful life from here on out.

Daisy, that’s one of the things I loved most about growing up: strapping on wings to leave behind a stressful childhood and soar to places I wanted to be, to live a calm life of my own choosing. You can do it!

Subject change: This is the 1-year anniversary of the Carr Fire that took your home. I speak on behalf of myself and everyone at aNewsCafe.com when I say that we are so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine what it was like for you and your family, although some of our ANC family did lose homes.

Is there anything you want to say about how you’ve changed since the fire, or what you’ve learned about life or people or yourself since then? And please, if you’d rather skip this question, that’s absolutely fine and I’ll understand.

This question is really hard to answer. It hurt a lot, to lose everything so suddenly. Not to mention that it happened during a very painful period in my life that I don’t really feel comfortable talking about. It wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, but it’s up there. I’ve learned to accept that sometimes awful things happen, but that doesn’t mean the good things aren’t there. There’s still a lot that I have to be happy about. There’s nothing to do but move forward.

That’s quite a mature attitude, Daisy. We chose you for a reason; because we believe in you and your goals, and are here for you, cheering you on. We created the Carr Fire Scholarship so that we could bring some joy and encouragement to young people like you who’d lost their homes to the Carr Fire. We believe that fire can destroy a lot, but it can’t touch your hopes and dreams.

We hope every so often you’ll check in with us, and let us know how you’re doing, OK?

In the meantime, is there anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you to aNewsCafe for the generous help with my scholarship, and your immeasurable patience with how long it took me to fill out this Q&A. I can’t thank you guys enough.

You did just fine, Daisy. And you are so welcome! We’ll be thinking of you as you start your Shasta College classes. Take care, Daisy.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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