When senior Kali Smolen first reported to her elementary kindergarten class, she never imagined that she would never miss even a single day of school in her entire educational career.
And she certainly could not have dreamed that her pursuit of excellence would eventually pave the way for a perfect GPA and the title “Valedictorian.”
But in fact, that is precisely what happened.
Kali is currently taking all three advance-placement (AP) courses offered at Allendale High School: AP Calculus, AP English, and AP Biology. In addition, she is enrolled in Spanish V, Wind Ensemble, and is taking Spanish 202 at Grand Valley State University. She is additionally involved in Science Olympiad and the Equestrian Team.
“I have been involved with equestrian and MIHA throughout high school. At the state competition of my senior year, I was the only member on the team. The team was one horse, one rider. I rode in all but two events. I rode in 15 events and placed in the top five overall in division D at state. The sheer fact that I made it to state was amazing.”
Kali explained that her work ethic, intrinsic motivation, and the encouragement she’s received from staff members have propelled her through her difficult class load.
“I’ve truly adored all of my teachers — they’ve been willing to help and nice to talk to. Allendale teachers really support their students,” said Kali.
Though her senior year has been the most challenging by far, Kali has no regrets, even stating that she wishes she “…would’ve taken a harder curriculum from the get-go. I’m a pretty good time manager and I think I would’ve loved the challenge!”
Ms. Smolen has plans to attend Grand Valley’s Frederik Meijer Honors College next year to study Bio-Medical Sciences and Spanish. She dreams of interning at the Van Andel Institute and diving into the world of stem cell research to get to the heart of the issues.
“I attended the Sam Rhines genetic conference with my anatomy class during my junior and senior years. Each time, I became intrigued with genetic sciences. These conferences interested me in stem cell research. I proceeded to do my capstone research paper on stem cell research. I now want to go into medicine, with research as a high possibility. Instead of just treating the disease, I’d like to find the mechanism behind it.”
Kali’s mother, Colleen, points out that while there exists a scholarship for couples going to prom in a clothes made of duct tape, there is not a scholarship for perfect attendance. Still, her pride is obvious and we join her in congratulating Kali for her amazing accomplishments!
“I am proud of Kali’s academic success, but I’m even more proud of her good personal character.” she said.
Congratulations to Kali Smolen for an unbelievable school career!! You make us “Falcon Proud”!