PORTLAND — Elicia Fortier did more during her four years at Deering High School than many people accomplish in a lifetime.

This fall, Fortier’s list of achievements will grow when she becomes the first person in her family to go to college.

Propelled by her desire to be a doctor, Fortier took every science class offered at Deering, from physics to forensics. She participated in the Medical Explorers program at Maine Medical Center.

She ran three blood drives at the high school that collected more than 150 pints of blood. She attended a National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine, where she relished watching open-heart surgery and holding human organs that made other students queasy.

In between, she worked part time as a cashier at Shaw’s supermarket on Congress Street throughout the year and as a counselor at Center Day Camp in Windham each summer.

She also played girls’ ice hockey and softball for Deering, then dropped softball her senior year to play for the Portland Area Girls Under 19 Rugby Team, which placed seventh in the nationals in Salt Lake City last month.

When Fortier describes what she likes about rugby, a forerunner of American football that is most popular in England and Ireland, she offers a glimpse of the passion that drives her.

“There are no boundaries in rugby,” she said. “You wear no padding. You play and you play hard, and you leave everything on the field.”

Fortier, who graduated earlier this month in the top 6 percent of her class, achieved high honors and maintained a rigorous course schedule throughout high school, including more than 20 top-level classes and no study halls.

She was secretary of National Honor Society and a member of the Deering Student Senate, and she received the 2010 Youth Service Award from the Rotary Club.

Fortier credits her family with always pushing her to do her best and setting good examples.

“My mom is the busiest person I know,” Fortier said. Andrea Garland runs the cafeteria at King Middle School and also works as a cashier at Shaw’s.

Her stepfather, Chris Garland, is a former Marine who is a corrections officer at the state prison in Windham. Her sister, Michelle, will be a sophomore at Deering.

Her father, Glenn Fortier of Newcastle, is a mechanic who can fix and build anything, she said, and her grandfather, Bruce Fortier, is rebuilding his house in his 60s.

In the fall, Elicia Fortier will start the pre-med program at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn. She wants to be a cardiac surgeon so she can continue to help others.

Her mother has no doubt that she will.

“She’s very determined,” Andrea Garland said. “She sets goals for herself and she usually meets them. She never backs down from a challenge, especially when it’s about helping other people.”

Staff Writer Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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