Jul. 24—Of all the impact Mia Chapman made during her time at Mount Carmel — and there was plenty, especially athletically — volunteering with the MCA ThinkBIG Student Leader program was probably her favorite.
"This community has given me a lot; it's the place I grew up," said Chapman. "Being able to give back to this community is really an amazing feeling."
ThinkBIG is an organization created in 2012 to help local pediatric cancer patients and their families receive cancer treatment at the Janet Weis Children's Hospital.
"It's personal for me because I have family members who have suffered through cancer," Chapman said. "It's important to have a program like that around here, especially with so many families who are affected. It's a good thing that everybody should participate in — some kind of community service.
"Those types of things are very important to me."
Chapman competed at a high level in four sports at Mount Carmel, which, combined with her community service and 4.0 GPA, is why she was selected as The Daily Item's Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, sponsored by SUN Orthopaedics of Evangelical, as well as PPL Electric Utilities.
"Mia is a special student-athlete," Mount Carmel girls basketball coach Lisa Varano said. "It's been an honor to be her coach.
"Her work ethic and leadership are incredible. She is a role model in our school and on our team."
Chapman graduated third in the Mount Carmel Class of 2022, and took college classes through an agreement with Luzerne County Community College, as well as Advanced Placement courses.
"I liked all my classes; I was a fan of all my subjects," she said, before adding with a laugh. "Well, maybe I wasn't a big fan of math."
Chapman was the only starter returning from the 2021 Mount Carmel girls basketball state champions, and she helped the team return to the state semifinals.
"I knew it was going to be different," Chapman said. "We had a great group of athletes, and this group was all basketball players.
"I knew we were going to be good because we have such a good program. It was hard at the beginning because we were like, there's an expectation here, and it was new for them. But once we found it, everything clicked."
In the fall, Chapman scored 45 goals as a senior to break Nicole Varano's career scoring record for the Red Tornadoes, with 112 total goals.
"The record was something I thought about since I was younger," Chapman said. "I didn't know if it was going to be achievable, I just wanted to try my hardest every single day."
Chapman was also a big part of why Mount Carmel had one of its most successful seasons in recent history.
"I absolutely loved every second of high school soccer," Chapman said. "Getting to play with girls you've known since pre-K and in front of your community, it was really a family atmosphere. I loved getting to play for my town."
In addition to her more traditional sports, Chapman also was a cheerleader for Mount Carmel, both on the sidelines at football games and as part of the Red Tornadoes' district champion competitive squad.
"I loved football cheerleading," Chapman said. "It was relaxing. If you've got a tough soccer game coming up, you just go to cheerleading and have fun with your friends. Competitive was different because there was more pressure on us."
She is headed to East Stroudsburg next season and will play soccer there.
"My recruiting process was pretty late," Chapman said. "My sophomore year was shut down by COVID, and my junior year I was hurt, so I got to my senior year, and I was like, 'I don't know what I'm going to do.'"
She sent an email to East Stroudsburg because her brother, Jack, goes there, and she knew she liked the school. Chapman went to a December clinic on the campus — on the same day Mount Carmel had a basketball game — and soon got an offer and quickly committed.
"I loved every part of it," Chapman said. "It felt like home there."
Daily Item correspondent Alexandra George contributed to this report.