Caileigh Treash’s colorful passions have sparked her future fire


Trekking along the map—moving from place to place—means new schools, new environments, new friends, and new houses. For every new pin placed on the map, senior Caileigh Treash experienced changes in each of these areas, but every house change in particular enraptured her the most.

Building houses from scratch wasn’t uncommon for Caileigh and her family, so she was exposed to the architectural side of moving as she grew up, slowly sparking a special interest for her.

And that simple spark ignited into a full-on fire.

“I got interested [in architecture] through [building houses],” Caileigh said. “I also grew up watching HGTV and This Old House, so I got interested through that, too. I have always wanted to go into architecture [ever since].”

With a foundational affinity for architecture, Caileigh expanded upon this interest as she aged. In one of her many places on the map, St. Louis, she enrolled in a program offered by her school district: Center for Creative Learning (CCL). A school separate from her main school with a multitude of semester-long courses were offered to students in first grade through twelfth grade.

“Every Wednesday, I left my school and went to this school,” Caileigh said. “Each semester focused on a different topic, [ranging from] the environment, to mars, to music, to poetry. The idea was to expose students to a different way of thinking.”

Breaking out of the traditional classroom once a week to explore unconventional ideas, one of the topics Caileigh studied was, of course, architecture. Starting as young as third grade, she began studying what she would major in nine years later.

A year later, Caileigh would delve into another deep interest: French.

Offered by the same program, CCL, she started her adventure in the expansive language of French by taking simple courses in fourth grade. Inspired by her mother, who also took French in school, and the fact that she wanted to step outside of the typical Spanish box, Caileigh started studying the language and the history behind it.

“[French] has taught me a lot about how different languages work and about different cultures,” Caileigh said. “We learn not just about France but also about different Francophone countries around the world.”

Learning the language, it’s history, and about other French-speaking countries, Caileigh dedicated her time and energy into the world-expanding language that is French. With years of studies under her belt, Caileigh was able to visit France and further expand her knowledge and worldview.

Dropping temporary pins in Normandy and Paris, Caileigh spoke French here and there, conversing with the native speakers when she could, but the most impactful part of the trip wasn’t using the skill she had spent years studying.

It was the D-Day beach and cemetery.

Because history is yet another one of Caileigh’s spark-igniting subjects, knowing the stories behind the landmarks added an impactful layer of meaning to the beaches.

“When you realize how large the beaches are and how high some of the cliffs are, it’s unfathomable how it must have been when the Americans, French, and British landed there,” Caileigh said.

Caileigh found the cemetery to be even more moving.

“It’s powerful walking through the cemetery and seeing row after row of crosses, and then reading that only a small fraction of the people who died there are buried there,” Caileigh said. “Walking along the walls with name after name of soldiers whose bodies were never found is [so] impactful.”

Knee-deep in devastation, dabbling in the French language and exploring the country made up Caileigh’s colorful summer trip to France.

At the base of it all, the language—the world-expanding French language—has allowed Caileigh to stretch her mind, submerge herself in different cultures, and, to be simply put, “expand [her] view of the world.”

As Caileigh advances towards her future, which started as a simple spark ignited by building different houses, she will continue to further her French skills as she pursues her architectural ambitions. Attending Clemson University in South Carolina in the fall, Caleigh will major in architecture, with a long-term goal of getting her license for architecture.

As for French, Caileigh is eager to continue studying the vibrant language in college, hoping that it will tie into her profession somehow.

Throughout it all, throughout her colorful interests and hobbies and passions, one thing has remained constant: her family. With her mom influencing her affinity for French and history, and the rest of her family members constantly supporting her different endeavors, Caileigh is certain that she wouldn’t be where she is without her family.

“My family has been there all my life and have been [a] constant in my life,” Caileigh said. “They have made me who I am.”