What makes Deanna Tinch the ultimate student-athlete?
Is it the fact that she plays three varsity sports, and she’s only a sophomore at Churchville-Chili?
Is it her 96 average? Her volunteer work?
Or is it because she will represent New York state at the 2015 Miss High School America Pageant at DisneyWorld this July?
All this, and she turns 16 next Wednesday.
Tinch says it’s all about time management — and a world devoid of video games.
“When I come home, I do my homework,” she says. “If I practice first, I come home and study. I make sure everything gets done. I’m very much a perfectionist.”
And then there’s her strict bedtime ritual.
“I go to bed between 9 and 9:30 every night,” she says. “I’m very much a creature of habit.”
Tinch is the only child to Brian and Paula Tinch. Brian is a mechanical engineer at Delphi. Paula is a senior vice president and the chief financial officer at Rochester General Health System.
“We’ve tried to make sure we give her the opportunity to look at a wide range of things,” Brian says. “When she was in grade school, she did a lot of different summer camps. She was a cheerleader, then she played club lacrosse. She played the trombone in elementary school.”
Deanna has played about everything except Carnegie Hall, and she credits her parents for lighting that fire.
“My parents have pushed me to do everything, to try everything,” she says. “Once I decide I like something, they give me all the support I need and make sure I’m practicing and staying on top of all my activities.”
She plays golf in the fall, bowls in the winter and plays softball in the spring. This past fall, she earned All-Greater Rochester honors in golf for the second time.
“She’s an awesome kid,” C-C athletic director Mike Murray says. “She’s really the picture-perfect student-athlete.”
Tinch started playing golf when she was 6.
“Dad took me to Buttonwood and taught me how to swing a club,” says Tinch, whose golfing idol is Paula Creamer. “From there, there were lessons with various pros.”
She has no official handicap but competed in the International Junior Golfers Tournament at Ravenwood Golf Club in Victor this past summer and shot a 93 for 18 holes. She medaled in three matches for Churchville-Chili.
“She’s the nicest person in the world,” Murray says, “but she’s dead serious on the course.”
Her bowling average is 140, with a high game of 187. And in softball, she pitches and plays center field. She started last season on junior varsity and was called up to the varsity for sectionals after hitting over .500. She also surpassed .500 on her travel team.
Naturally, a young woman as organized as Tinch already has a career path lined out.
“I want to study architecture at Carnegie Mellon (in Pittsburgh),” she says firmly.
Why and why?
“Carnegie Mellon is Division I for golf,” she explains. “Through searching around for colleges, I fell in love with the school. My dad and I go to Steelers games every year, and Pittsburgh is a perfect city.”
As for architecture, she says that comes from her math and science background and her love of art.
“Architecture is a very precise field,” she says. “It fits in with my schedule, and how I like to get things done efficiently.”
Like many high school students, Tinch is very much into social media. But unlike kids her age, she wouldn’t know Minecraft from a minefield.
“We don’t own any video game systems, and we only have two TVs,” she says. “I barely watch any TV during golf season, and maybe two hours a night in the winter.”
She devotes many more hours to a local fundraiser she started in 2012. Each year, she collects food and toys and donates them to the Ronald McDonald House for sick children. A true go-getter, she even received donations from Babies R Us for her last fundraising effort in December, and middle-school children in the district donated around 200 cans of food, 100 toys and general hygiene products.
She also has volunteered with the American Heart Association and Rochester General Hospital.
“We’ve tried to instill in her that need to help others,” her dad says. “And she really seems to enjoy it.”
She says it has become a passion.
“I know it sounds cliché,” she says, “but giving back is better than receiving.”
Despite a jam-packed schedule that would rival a CEO’s, Tinch found time last summer to submit an application to the Miss High School America Pageant.
“I got to choose a topic of my choice, and I chose what I wanted to do in the future,” she says. “I focused on architecture and how it fits into my math, science and creative background.”
She learned in September she was picked to represent New York, beating out 24 other girls.
The pageant’s anti-bullying platform is BRAVE — building respect and values for everyone. Tinch’s personal platform is STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. She has spoken at various events about her platform.
“Women are so under-represented in this field,” she says.
The pageant is broken into three phases: 40 percent of the score is from an interview, 40 percent is “fun fashion,” where the contestant gets to choose and wear an outfit of her choice. And 20 percent is “formal wear,” where each contestant picks a gown and models it on the runway.
There is no talent competition, and maybe that’s a good thing for her competitors. Tinch would have far too many to choose from.
Age: 15. She turns 16 on Jan. 21
Sports: Golf, bowling, softball
Celebrity you want to meet: Golfer Paula Creamer.
Favorite hobby: “I love to volunteer. To make sure I’m giving back to my community as much as my community is giving back to me.”
Favorite TV show:Friends. “I have the boxed set.”