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Serena Engle
Heritage Hall

College: Oklahoma State University

Intended major: Art education and business

Career plans: Teaching art while I work on piecing together my business plans and bringing them into fruition.

What has led you to pursue art? Art has always been so therapeutic for me and has taught me so many great life lessons that I want to share it with everyone in every way that I can find.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? I am self-taught in many things, such as knitting, sewing and photography, but the one thing that stands out to me is my large portfolio of artwork and the awards and shows that I have participated in.

What are you best known for? My red leather boots, ever-changing hair colors and my animal backpack; most often, however, people come to me seeking scissors, Band-Aids or hugs because those are things that I always seem to have.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? I had an art teacher, Mr. Bayer, who told me that the worst comment you can get about a piece of work is that it is “nice” because that means that it was in no way striking or controversial or anything beyond the ordinary. I’ve always kept that in mind while I’m creating my work.

Bruce Haiduk
Broken Arrow Senior High School

College: Oklahoma State University

Intended major: Music performance for trombone

Career plans: I would like to play trombone in a major symphony, record solos and play a little jazz, too.

What has led you to pursue music? I have always been drawn to music, especially since starting piano in second grade. I enjoy listening to and playing classical music, especially with focused, first-rate musicians. I enjoy many subjects and work hard to succeed, but music is my main focus.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life? My mom has always pushed, encouraged and supported me.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement? I had the privilege to play jazz and solo with Lenny Pickett (band leader for Saturday Night Live) at the Ovations Concert at the Broken Arrow PAC.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I have a first-degree black belt in Tae Kwon-Do and was a National Spelling Bee semifinalist.
If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be? Joseph Alessi, Principal Trombone of the New York Philharmonic; his job is exactly what I want to do as a career. He is one of the most respected and influential musicians in the world and is very active in the musical community as a teacher, clinician, performer and solo artist.

Caleb Cook
Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics

College: Harvard University

Intended major: Physics

Career plans: Research physicist or electrical engineer

What has led you to pursue that field? When I was young, a pet dog mangled a cord connecting my video game console to our television set. Spurred on by a desire to continue my game, I independently repaired the cable with duct tape and wire from my bed frame. The experience taught me to always question how things work – whether it be a game console or the physical laws that govern the universe.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life? My grandmother for working tirelessly to give me educational opportunities not available in my hometown; without her selfless six-hour round-trips to and from Oklahoma City, I would not be able to attend OSSM.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I repeated my junior year of high school in order to attend the Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics; as a result, I am a fifth-year high school senior.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? My late father once told me that if I sought out a profession that I enjoyed, it would never seem like a job.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be? I would trade places with Drew Brees. I can’t image how incredible it would feel to throw an NFL pass while wearing black and gold.

Sarah Dagget
Union High School

College: Johns Hopkins University

Intended major: Biomedical engineering and a minor in applied mathematics

Career plans: To design prosthetic limbs for those who have undergone amputations or to research and develop medications to alleviate the symptoms of debilitating diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

What are some characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? The characteristic that makes me stand out from the rest of my peers is my success as both a student and an athlete. I have been a cross-country, track and Academic All-Stater, which I believe shows my ability to effectively manage my time and reveals my devotion and passion in what I pursue.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? Personally, I am most proud of my winning the MVP award for my high school cross-country team. The fact that my own teammates voted for me for this honor makes me feel like I truly am an integral part of the team and looked upon with respect by my own peers.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? People would be surprised to learn that I am obsessed with mystery books, specifically by Agatha Christie. I have read all of her novels, and she has over 80.

Nancy Ha
Bishop Kelley High School

College: Baylor University

Intended major: Biochemistry and business

Career plans: Enter medical school and study to become a physician.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life? Mother Teresa has been my biggest influence and my biggest inspiration. She was so giving of her time – and life – to helping the most impoverished. She was so humble and her kindness was full of love for every human being.

What are some characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? One of the things that makes me very different from my classmates is that I commute as well as carpool every day from Muskogee to attend high school. I am the only student from Muskogee to graduate with the school’s Brother Bernardine Scholars program, and I am the first person in my family to graduate high school.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? My all-time biggest achievement was attaining the Gates Millennium Scholarship. Out of about 23,000 applicants, I was one of the thousand chosen. I did spend many late school nights working on the eight essays required, but every moment was worth it.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be? Michelle Obama. She travels around the world making differences with her reputation and position of power. She’s an influential and active person.

Lincoln Howard Mitchell
Holland Hall

College: Yale University

Intended major: Political science

Career plans: Lawyer, lobbyist or politician

What has led you to want to pursue that field? The 2004 and 2008 Presidential elections sparked my interest in politics. Also, controversial laws such as Proposition 8, Arizona’s immigration law and Oklahoma’s bill to end affirmative action gave me the desire to be able to have an impact on policies and laws.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life? My parents have been the biggest influence in my life. My mom has pushed me to seek out and capitalize on every opportunity available. She helped me understand that this leads to more opportunity. My dad taught me that hard work in academics, tennis and any other endeavor is what teaches one how to be successful. He also taught me that hard work does not guarantee success but inspires one to continue to strive for it.

What are you best known for? My willingness to express my opinions in classrooms and social settings.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? My 10th grade Humanities teacher, Mr. Greg Carey, told me that I viewed the world from extremes. He said that I had a “black and white” worldview and I needed to look at issues from multiple perspectives in order to see the “gray areas.” This mindset has changed the way I viewed politics, and various social encounters.

Kevin Daroga
Riverfield Country Day School

College: Drury University

Intended major: Undecided

Career plans: Physical therapy

What has led you to want to pursue that field? I enjoy helping people and I also enjoy science.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement?
Becoming an Eagle Scout and being captain of my teams.

What are you best known for? Being athletic and funny.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? That I have been active in Scouts since first grade, soccer since I was 3, and basketball since second grade. I have only played football since eighth grade.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To never give up and never let others affect the actions that you take because nobody can control you, you have the power as long as you believe in yourself.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be? I would say President Obama, because I would like to see what it’s like to be president for the day.

Kai Jones
Booker T Washington High School

College: Washington University in St. Louis

Intended major: Major in biology with a pre-medicine professional track

Career plans: I want to pursue a career in cardiology.

What has led you to want to pursue that field? When I was 10, I was diagnosed with an innocent heart murmur. At the time, I was very paranoid. I researched the illness and found the field to be intriguing.

What are some characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? The members of my class are outstanding. We are all ambitious, determined and diligent. If there were one thing that makes me stand out, it would be the leadership skills I have gained through my extracurricular activities.

What is your biggest achievement? I felt an enormous sense of pride after qualifying for state in golf this year with a team. It has been at least 20 years since a team from Booker T. Washington has qualified. I was proud of this experience because my teammates and I had worked hard to qualify. As a senior, this experience has been bittersweet. However, I have faith that my team will make it for years to come.

What are you best known for? I could say my determination, but I am probably best known for my hair.

Joshua Thomas
Jenks High School

College: University of Oklahoma

Intended major: Medical humanities scholar. I will major in mathematics.

Career plans: My goal is to become an oncologist.

What has led you to pursue that field?
Two days before Thanksgiving of 2009, I found out that my mother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. One month later, I again received heartbreaking news. Doctors diagnosed my grandfather with a rare type of lung cancer, although he had never smoked. After witnessing the devastating effects of cancer on my mother, my grandfather, and my family, I now want to pursue a career in medicine and cancer related research. My desire is to give people hope by preventing such an illness from overwhelming other families as it did mine.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? When cancer hit my family, I wanted to give everything up and spend time with my mother and my grandfather. However, with the help and advice of others, including my mom and grandfather, I decided to do what I could despite extremely difficult circumstances. Although I struggled, I took a number of AP tests, the SAT and the ACT during this difficult time and did very well on all of them. The situation showed me what I was capable of doing even when my world was falling apart.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Having lived in England for seven years, I have a passionate love for soccer.

What do you hope to accomplish while in college? In addition to doing well academically, I want to touch my community by continuing to be active in community service, in particular, with Habitat for Humanity and the Good Samaritans Health Clinic.

Annie Hull
Edison High School

College: Yale University

Intended major: Engineering

Career plans: To help develop technology that will improve living conditions in developing countries.

What has led you to want to pursue that field? My favorite subject is math, and I like solving problems using logic and working in a team environment.

What are you best known for? Being easygoing.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I have never broken any bones.

What do you hope to accomplish while in college? I want to obtain a broader and deeper understanding of the world and learn how I can improve it.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Actions speak louder than words, but not nearly as often.” –Mark Twain

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be? Barack Obama, because he gets to interact and collaborate with tons of interesting and diverse people every day.

Anne Pennington
Cascia Hall

College: University of Texas

Intended major: Political science and English

Career plans: Practice law

What has led you to pursue that field? The want to write, travel and explore new cultures.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life? My close friends. Each one is unique in their talents and abilities. From those qualities, I model myself and am influenced to want and achieve more.

What do you hope to accomplish while in college? I hope to become enriched by new ideas and proficient in new languages.

If you could trade places with one person for a day, who would it be? It would be either Margaret Thatcher or Golda Meir because of their accomplishments – politically and socially – as women and as world leaders.

Anson Hwang
Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics

College: The Wharton School of Business at The University of Pennsylvania

Intended major: A double major in economics, with a concentration in finance, and computer science.

Career plans: In my early career, I want to go into the realm of investment banking. Ultimately, I want to try my hand in managing my own investment fund.

What has led you to want to pursue that field? From early on, I have been career-oriented, but I was not sure what I wanted to do. Through reading newspaper articles, news blogs, etc., I fell in love with the hectic, pressure cooker operations of Wall Street. I wanted to pursue a path with no limits, and I found it.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life? My parents have definitely influenced me more than anyone else. I can never thank them enough for the love and care they have put into my upbringing.

What are some characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class? The Oklahoma School of Science and Math has produced numerous professors, researchers, doctors and engineers, but only a few have taken the path to apply their math and science education to business. My passion for business has made me unique in my class and has helped me to become the first ever OSSM student to have been directly accepted to Wharton Business School.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? My dad once told me that no matter how smart someone is, there is always someone smarter. Essentially, he has taught me the important lesson of humility.

Caroline Cameron
Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School

College: University of Oklahoma 

Intended major: Some sort of health major.

Career plans: I want to be either a pediatric physical therapist or physician assistant.

What has led you to pursue that field? I enjoy helping people, and the things both professions do interest me. I also love to work with kids. 

What are some characteristics that make you stand out from the rest of your graduating class?
I feel that my leadership skills have helped me to stand out from my peers as well as a strong sense of independence and ability to stand up for what I believe in.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? Winning that state basketball tournament as a senior, after working for four years, to finally achieve the ultimate goal was one of the greatest feelings in the world.

What would people be surprised to learn about you? I like to fish.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To never give up, good things will come out of every situation. You have to keep working through the hard times to find the positive that will come out of it.

Christina Crowder
Metro Christian Academy

College: University of Arkansas

Intended major: Public relations with apparel studies emphasis, or pre-law

Career plans: My “dream job” would be to work for a couture designer in New York and travel all over the world for fashion shows.

What has led you to want to pursue that field? I am quite the “girly-girl;” I remember as early as 4 years old getting in trouble for ruining tubes of my mother’s lipstick while playing “beauty parlor.” I love fashion and beauty – every prom/formal dance at school I have gladly helped my friends get ready, and I enjoy making other people feel good about themselves. Inner beauty is so much more important than outer beauty, but a little lipstick always makes things a shade of pink better.

What do you feel is your biggest achievement? To date, the biggest achievement in my life has been managing and excelling in athletics, academics and the arts. All through high school I have excelled in rigorous AP courses, spending more than 20 hours a week at gymnastics practice and competitions and other extracurricular actives, such as orchestra and art. Truthfully, there have been times during this last year of high school where I was tempted to throw in the towel because of utter physical and mental exhaustion; but, the maxim I have lived by is proven true to me every day: “Hard work beats talent when talent won’t work hard.”

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