Just entering GCC after graduating from Crescenta Valley High School, Ana Gjesdal has quickly become the top runner on the women’s cross-country team.
Gjesdal helped Glendale win its first meet of the season, the Antelope Valley Invitational, and had her best time of the season with 19:565 in the 5k run at the Los Angeles City Invitational at Pierce College.
In her spare time, Gjesdal, 19, writes letters to people in different countries. For the last four years she has been writing to a girl in Sierra Leone named Hammina. Sierra Leone is in the middle of a terror-ridden civil war that has been going on since 1991. The war has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, and has crippled an equal number. In her letters, Hammina, 18, has told Gjesdal about all she has gone through in the war.
“She wrote me about 10 pages about everything that happened to her,” Gjesdal said. “I can’t try to imagine what she has been through. She is very interesting in what she has to say about life.”
Gjesdal got involved in writing the letters when she was 10 years old. She forwarded a chain letter, where one is supposed to get postcards from people all over the world, and when the postcards came back to her, she replied, and continued during her eight years in Norway.
“Living in Norway, and with the people I was writing to gave me a new perspective on life,” Gjesdal said. “Many people don’t know much about the rest of the world, and I have those experiences.”
When she was 9 years old, her father, who is from Norway, wanted her and her brother to see a different part of the world.
“[In Norway] everything is more relaxed, and nobody is really in a hurry to get anywhere, and people here are always going somewhere,” Gjesdal says. “Everybody is much more social and family oriented.”
She plans to go back to Norway in the summer.
After finishing up at GCC, she plans to transfer to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, as a movement science major in the school of kinesiology. Movement Science prepares one for sports medicine and involves both body movement and sports psychology. She did not plan on going to the University of Michigan while at Crescenta Valley high school, but she visited the daughter of her mom’s best friend there and fell in love with the school.
“It’s a real college town,” Gjesdal says. “The atmosphere, and the environment is exactly what I want.”
If she doesn’t get into Michigan, she plans to go to USC, or UCLA.
While at CV, Gjesdal received the Crescenta Valley Town Scholarship, which is awarded for academics and community leadership.