Top Scholar - Barker credits work ethic for honor

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One of several honors presented to Alyssa Barker, left, at Central’s annual honors’ event was the KWWL Best in Class Award. Alyssa, who is Central’s top graduate, is pictured with counselor Shelby Huster.

By Pam Reinig

Register Editor

The valedictorian for the Central Class of 2017 is Alyssa Barker. It has been a Register tradition to feature the top graduate or graduates. Here are the answers Alyssa gave to our questions. 

We congratulate all members of the Class of 2017, who will receive their diplomas during the May 28 commencement ceremony, which begins at 2 p.m. in the high school gym.

What does it mean to you to have achieved the distinction of being the top graduate in the Class of 2017?

I feel that being the top graduate in a class can be accredited mostly to an individual’s work ethic, and only partially to intelligence. The vast majority of a high-school student’s grades are based on the completion of work or participation in class. This being said, GPA is principally reflective of a student’s work ethic rather than intelligence. To achieve the distinction of being the top graduate in the Class of 2017, means to me that I have consistently upheld a strong work ethic. 

What are your outside interests/hobbies?

Outside of school my hobbies and interests resemble those of other high-school students. The activities that I most considerably enjoy are sleeping, listening to music, and getting outdoors when the weather is nice. 

How did you balance studying with everything else?

Time management was a crucial and significant factor in my academic success throughout high school. Regardless of how I was feeling or whether or not I felt like studying or completing assignments, if I told myself I would work on schoolwork at a certain time or on a particular night, I (with few exceptions) followed through. 

What have been your favorite and least favorite classes, and why?

My absolute favorite class that I have taken in my four years of high school is AP Literature and Composition with Mrs. Gunderson. This class has, without a doubt, benefited me in more ways than any other class I have taken. I feel well equipped to overcome any academic challenge that I will encounter in college with the knowledge I have attained during my year in AP Lit. Each student who has remained in the class for the entire year has shown significant improvement in the quality of their essays, and their ability to interpret even the most challenging texts. The class has also given me a newfound confidence in my ability to form my own unique ideas about pieces of literature, and justify them with textual evidence. I would strongly recommend to every Central student that they take this class. 

My least favorite class that I have taken during my four years at Central is Modern World History taught by Mr. Wiley. Mr. Wiley is an excellent teacher and taught the material in a way that I could learn and understand it, and even teaches a couple classes that I genuinely enjoyed including Ethnic and Gender. However, history is not my strong suit and is a less enjoyable subject to learn about for me, so Modern World History was one of my most challenging and least favorite classes. (One thing that I took away from that class is that there are too many Henry’s and Elizabeth’s for me to keep them all straight).

How do you think you’ve benefited from attending a small school?

Truthfully, I aspire to be in a bigger place after high school. I am attending school in Kansas City, Missouri this fall and am really looking forward to it. Despite my desire to move somewhere larger, I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to experience life in a small town, and that small towns are where I have developed my values and character traits. I think that this makes me a more hardworking and empathetic person who is equipped with the work ethic and social skills to be successful in a larger city. 

What are your plans after graduation?

After graduation I plan to live in Elkader for the summer, and will then be attending Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, Missouri this fall. I plan to earn an A.A. degree in my two years at MCCKC, and am not yet sure where I will transfer for the following two years. 

What advice do you have for other Central students?

The biggest piece of advice I have for other Central students is to take AP Literature and Composition your senior year regardless of your current writing ability. Each student’s writing abilities will substantially improve during their time in the class, and the student is graded by their individual growth, not by comparison to other students. 

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