by LYDIA COBB | photos by Soul of Photography

Scanning the Horizon

People who make positive impacts inspire Louisa Nickerson. She’s a senior at Torrey Pines High School and is active in her school, church, and community. Louisa’s biggest hobby is running but she “loves being outside and in the ocean.” When she was eight years old she attended her first Del Mar Junior Lifeguards program.

“I loved it so much, and was so inspired by my instructors, that I made it my goal to someday become a lifeguard,” reflected Louisa. She was awarded Most Outstanding Junior Lifeguard in her group for five out of six years. Louisa interned as a lifeguard at age 15 for two summers and by 17 she joined the City of Del Mar as a student lifeguard. This distinction was unique. Louisa was one of two girls invited to the Lifeguard Academy with 80 hours of intensive training. She elaborated, “I worked almost full-time throughout the summer and continue to work sometimes on the weekends in winter.”

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During the recent winter break, Louisa traveled to Australia through a cultural lifeguard exchange program organized by Vince Askey of the Del Mar Bodysurfing Club. The students stayed with host families who made the visit more meaningful, according to Louisa. They learned about Australian lifeguarding and surfed the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast. “We became honorary members of the Coolum Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and earned our surf rescue certificates to become official Australian surf lifesavers,” she added.

“I was so inspired by my instructors that I made it my goal to someday become a lifeguard.”

On land, Louisa is the captain of both the cross country and track teams at school. In addition, one of her favorite parts about this year is her internship at a local preschool. She’s also the president of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a peer leader of the Best Buddies Club, which fosters friendships among disabled and nondisabled students. Her family attends St. Peter’s Episcopal, where Louisa was baptized, and where she’s giving back through church youth leadership.

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As for what’s next, Louisa has her eye on Pepperdine University, Cal Poly, or UC Berkeley in pursuit of her interests in childhood development and business. Her dream is to be a teacher and own and run a preschool. Above all, she’s committed to her faith, and added, “I know that God has provided me with countless blessing and opportunities.” She’s using her gifts as a role model for positive living.


Name: Louisa Nickerson (18)
School: Torrey Pines High School
Grade: 12
Parents: Loretta West and Andrew Nickerson
Sibling: Derek Nickerson (15)
Favorite Spots in Del Mar: Del Mar Bluffs, 17th St. Lifeguard Tower, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, North Beach Overlook, Coast to Crest Trail