SCHOOL: Grain Valley High School

HONORS: Top 1 percent; National Merit Finalist; AP Scholar with Honors; Missouri Girls State and Missouri Scholars’ Academy attendee; received the All-School Spirit Award; president of the National Honor Society and a Duke Talent Identification Program student.

ACTIVITIES: staff writer for the Grain Valley Pointe; writer/editor for the Grain Valley High School Talon; varsity captain of the Academic Bowl; writer/photographer/editor of the yearbook; Student Council Representative; participated in theater and Harvesters Community Food Bank volunteer.

What advice do you have for next year's freshmen?

Begin planning your high school career now, but be prepared for those plans to change. When I entered high school, I had my heart set on becoming a pediatrician, as I had planned on doing since I was in preschool. However, I realized I was better suited for something that allowed me to express my unique personality and participate in one of my favorite activities (talking!), and so I set my sights on a career in broadcasting. As long as you have a goal to work towards, you’re doing just the right thing.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

I’ve been blessed with many influential teachers (Joyce Newby, Jane Dixon and Sarah Swartz, to name a few) and attribute almost all of my success to my outstanding and incomparable parents, Ted and Jessie, but the two high school teachers who have most impacted my sense of self and life direction are Eric Ball and Annette Rovello. Mrs. Rovello has encouraged me to excel since my first day of high school. She provides sincere feedback on my ideas and opinions, she lauds my writing skills and creativity, and she is one of the few adults I know who truly listens to her students when they have concerns. And on top of that, she does her job well.

Mr. Ball, on the other hand, never taught me in a classroom setting until my senior year of high school, but I learned plenty from him when he coached the Grain Valley High School Academic Bowl team I was a part of my sophomore, junior and senior years. Mr. Ball has never let me forget how valuable I am to him, to my team, and to my friends. For that, I am very grateful.

When you were not in school or studying, what did you most enjoy doing?

As much as I love my friends, shopping, concerts, festivals, goofing off, and late-night fast-food runs, the best days of my high school experience have been the ones I have spent at home with my family. From the snow days where I stayed warm inside and watched chick flicks with my mom while my dad and brother, Teej, built snowmen outside, to the (several) weeknights when my mother would ask me to bake two dozen cookies which would be gone in less than two hours, my favorite and most memorable moments have taken place with the people I love the most.

What college do you plan to attend and why?

I was lucky enough to be a National Merit Finalist, which earned me excellent financial offers from Northwestern University, the University of Texas-Dallas, Ohio University and Vanguard University. However, the best opportunity I was granted was admission to Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University, with well over a full-tuition scholarship and the ability to major in broadcasting at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. I want to impact the world and attending Barrett and ASU will help me do just that.

What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?

In 10 years, I will gracefully retire from my time as a cast member on Saturday Night Live to take over “The Tonight Show” after Jimmy Fallon’s contract expires. In my free time, I will star in “Kill Bill: Volume 3” and the re-re-remakes of the Batman movies, and hopefully marry a young Harrison Ford doppelgänger.