So would the week she spent in her sophomore year at an orphanage in India, where she played math games and made crafts with the children.
That trip, her second to India, stuck in her mind - the noise in the streets from honking trucks, the poverty. The children had so few possessions.
"Everything they owned could fit on a shelf," she said. "Maybe half a shelf."
She was thinking of their needs when she designed one more service project. She's planning a fund-raiser to help collect clothing and supplies for another orphanage. This institution is in St. Petersburg, Russia, and is called Baby Home No. 7.
It was once her home.
Vika spent her first year there. She was a sickly child, born prematurely, with a stomach disorder that required surgery. She didn't leave the hospital for 13 weeks.
In 1994, when David Guendelsberger traveled to Russia to pick up the girl he and his wife, Linda, had adopted, Vika looked more like a 4-month-old, he said.
Vika remembers nothing about the orphanage, of course, or of her birth parents. She has no picture of the place in her mind.
Which is why she has decided that after she collects the donations for the children of the orphanage, she will deliver them herself. She has a reservation to fly to Russia in June, after school ends, and her parents are going with her.
"I kind of wanted to follow in my dad's footsteps," she said in the living room of the family home in Abington. Mom is an accountant; Dad left electrical engineering to teach junior high math.
Now 17, Vika is anything but sickly. Her tenacious defense in field hockey has won regional recognition. Her dream is to become a pediatric nurse.
Before her lay a giant box of diapers, the first contributions for her project. Her father isn't sure how the family will transport everything to Russia, but that's an issue they're happy to face.
Vika's plan is to hold a spaghetti dinner May 7 at the Elkins Park Presbyterian Church. Friends will cook. All proceeds will go toward supplies.
Her father remembers being pleasantly surprised with the orphanage when he picked up Vika 16 years ago, he said. "I was figuring there'd be just desolation. It was clean, with good carpeting, tile floors in the baby rooms. The play cribs were humongous - 14 or 15 infants put together in the hope they'd interact."
His strongest memory is from meal times. The staff wrapped up the children in towels, put bowls to their mouths, and shoveled in the food.
When the couple brought Vika home and sprinkled cereal on her high-chair tray, she didn't know how to use her hands, because she'd always been bound at meals. "She didn't even play with her food," her mother recalled.
David Guendelsberger said he doesn't know how his daughter might react to the trip to Russia. "She holds her emotions fairly tight," he said, "even though we were very open about adoption from Day One.
"She is very open about that, too. When she was touring the junior high, one of my colleagues asked if anyone had a brother or sister who had gone here. When she said her brother Zach had been there, the teacher said she didn't look anything like Zach. 'Of course not, I'm adopted,' she replied. My colleague told me he was so sorry. I said, 'Don't worry. She was messing with you.' "
The Guendelsbergers met while both were studying at Temple. He was a Big Brother, she was a Big Sister. Even before they married, they talked about having a family that included an adopted child. They had two sons before working through the International Assistance Group in Pittsburgh to find a Russian orphan. That year, 1994, U.S. visas for Russian orphans doubled, up to 1,530. Those children are reaching adulthood now, and the nonprofit is helping connect many of them with translators and guides for trips to the mother country.
Mary Rodgers runs Abington High's service program and has seen a lot of projects, but none like Vika's. Often students find their community experiences useful when it's time to write college applications.
Vika told me she hadn't even thought about taking notes on her trip, or using it for some other purpose.
Contact Daniel Rubin at 215-854-5917 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more, go to philly.com/blinq.