By Jeanette Bennett and Amy McDonald

This 14th annual success syllabus isn’t about teenagers out of the blue. These young learners are true-blue academics, athletes, leaders, performers and entrepreneurs — and their teachers, advisers, administrators and local journalists are taking notice.

We’ve done the impossible and categorized them by their world-changing strengths. Please take notes on their personal mottoes, their social media habits and what they plan to do after they toss the graduation cap. And yes, this information will be on (life’s) test.

The Academics

All 17 students in this year’s feature are college-bound, AP-test taking seniors. But these four are most likely to change the world with their pure brain power.

Haosheng Li goes to Meridian High School. (Photos by Dave Blackhurst)
Haosheng Li (Photos by Dave Blackhurst)

Haosheng Li 

Meridian High School
Parents: Hongxia Zhao and Bo Li

Haosheng Li or “Shawn” moved to Utah Valley from China two years ago, and he’s been fully fluent in success ever since. At Meridian High, Haosheng established Medical Mafia, in which students participate in mock triage and even witness live surgeries. Haosheng also diagnosed leadership opportunities by serving as senior class secretary, performing in glee club, and being named president of International Club at Meridian. He also completed an internship with BYU Biomedical research. But he’s not “all resume.” Haosheng’s teachers say he is liked by everyone. Translation? Shawn will change the world.

Post-high plans: This Utah Valley newcomer has scholarship offers from around the country and plans to become an anesthesiologist.

“My goal is to help relieve pain, improve quality of life, and lengthen people’s years through medicine — and maybe even save lives,” Shawn says.

Lesson learned the hard way: I was born with a corneal tumor that destroyed the function of my right eyelid. I learned how to empathize and listen to others. I am not very confident and don’t make friends easily, but I am determined to be diligent. I achieve what others think I can’t, and that builds my confidence.

Favorite teachers: Niki Fullmer (dance) because she makes us feel like family. And Mrs. Hardy (science) because she is creative.

Biggest pressure: Getting into medical school

Guilty pleasure: “Grey’s Anatomy”

Advice for incoming freshmen: Don’t take education for granted. In some countries, people don’t have the opportunity for education.

Typical Friday night: Korean Food with friends at Sam Hawk in Provo

Most common items on to-do list: Practice piano, homework, YouTube

How do friends describe you? Shy, perfectionist

Personal motto: Everyone lives. Some people live in past memories. Some people live in future illusions. Only people living in the present can take full control of their destinies.



Megan Pachner
Megan Pachner

Megan Pachner

Karl G. Maeser Preparatory
Parents: Sara Benedict & Greg Pachner

Megan Pachner drives 35 minutes from her home in Woodland Hills to Maeser in Lindon where she has attended for four years and is the senior class vice president. On her way to school, she drops her dad off at Novell where he is a software engineer. Megan is also in the driver’s seat of her future with plans to study neuroscience and criminal psychology.

“My goal is to make reformation more effective,” she says.

“Effective” is Megan’s middle name as she took first at state debate in Public Forum and third in Oratory. She’ll be in Chicago this month competing in nationals.

Her peers also think she’ll change the world — they voted her “Most Likely to Cure Cancer.”

Post-high plans: Grinnell College for undergraduate and University of Chicago for a master’s in neuroscience and possibly a Ph.D. I’d also love to study the criminal justice system in Norway.

Lesson you’ve learned: The more stressful school gets, the more I appreciate when a friend or family member takes time to listen. I’ve started trying to be that person, too, because I know how much it means to me.

Most common things on to-do list: Homework, chores, apply for scholarships, research careers

Guilty pleasure: Pinterest and pasta

Favorite class: AP Psychology with Mr. Bown

Biggest pressure: Deciding where to go to college and finding a field I love that I can also get a job in.

Social media habits: I stay updated on news with Twitter and updated on friends with Facebook. I’m more of an observer than a participant.

Typical Friday night:  During debate season, tournaments span 20-30 hours over Friday and Saturday. I spend hours at some random high school debating my heart out with my favorite people in the world. I’m going to miss this.


Cole Thatcher attends Pleasant Grove High School.
Cole Thatcher

Cole Thatcher

Pleasant Grove High School 
Parents: Amy and Blaine Thatcher

   Cole Thatcher’s classmates call him “36” because this 6’4” Viking got a perfect score on the ACT. And he’s not a one-test-wonder. Cole will graduate high school with his associate degree from UVU, was Sterling Scholar in math, and received the National Merit Scholarship. When he’s not studying to maintain his self-proclaimed title as “nerd” of the school, Cole tutors other kids and plays basketball in city leagues.

Post-high plans: Cole plans to serve an LDS mission and attend BYU, where he will study engineering.

“I want to invent something that makes life easier and more enjoyable,” Cole says.

Most common things on to-do list: Homework, homework, homework. And sometimes I work on cars with my dad.

Best thing about PGHS: Even with a good amount of diversity, we are close-knit.

Favorite teacher/subject: Mr. Van Dijk (biology and chemistry) and Mr. Palmer (math). They are ingenious, but also their sense of humor is funny to me.

Study tips and tricks: Be in an environment where you can focus. Get comfortable and get food.

Grateful for … Parents who support me and gave me genes — both my parents are really smart.

Personal motto: Knowledge is power.

Biggest pressure: To succeed

Guilty pleasure: Chocolate

How would teachers describe you? Studious, attentive, sometimes loud

How would friends describe you? Tall and smart


Rachel Uhl
Rachel Uhl

Rachel Uhl

Provo High School
Parents: Philip and Karen Uhl

      With a 35 on the ACT and a 4.0 GPA, Rachel Uhl is smart enough to know how to reach her goals. When she wanted to go to Spain and Morocco with her school in 2012, she got to work. She’s had seven jobs since age 14, including Coldstone and Jamba Juice. But her “day job” has always been as a student athlete. She’s played varsity soccer and softball for three years at Provo High.

Her next sport will be medical research so she can solve world problems with disease and illness.

Post-high plans: Attend BYU and earn a degree in medical laboratory sciences, then medical school to study a disease I will later cure. Somewhere in there, get married!

Social media habits: Little to none. I don’t have a smartphone, which has been a huge factor in my grades because I don’t have anything competing for my attention, so I always do homework. My advice? Unplug for a week and see how it affects your grades.

Biggest pressure: My friends expect me to know the answer to every question, and my teachers expect a high level of work from me. It’s exhausting to worry about being practically perfect in my schoolwork.

How would friends describe you? Definitely nerdy! Also athletic and sometimes sassy.

How would teachers describe you? Studious, hardworking, quiet, bright and one told me I have “a near photographic memory.”

Typical Friday night: During the summer, we’re always playing night games.

Fun Facts: I’ve never had a concussion from playing sports, but I have from sledding. I own four chickens and a rabbit. One day I hope to visit every national park in the U.S. — I’ve been to nine so far.

Best thing about Provo High: Great teachers and diverse student body — and our school colors don’t clash with anyone’s hair or skin tone!


The Athletes

Sports scores will be yesterday’s headlines, but the lessons learned in athletics will have these four students scoring world-changing opportunities.

Savannah Park
Savannah Park

Savannah Park

Springville High School
Parents: Mandi and Cliff Park

   Don’t let this Homecoming Queen fool you. She can also bring it on the court — both basketball and tennis. Savannah has started in four consecutive state championship basketball games for Springville High and the Red Devils have won three of those state championships. With a 4.0, Savannah has also served on the Hope Squad, National Honors Society and seminary council.

Post-high plans: Savannah hopes to play college basketball and pursue sports medicine.

“I want to help design a product or instrument that will provide cheaper, more efficient ways to treat patients,” she says.

Lesson learned by experience: In almost every season of basketball I have been injured and had to sit out for some games. My mom always told me, “Keep your head up and stay positive.” I have tried to do that and pass it on. My sister tore her ACL and so I always tell her, “Keep your head up and stay positive.”

Favorite teacher/subject: Psychology with Priscilla Leek

Biggest pressure: Performing well in sports and maintaining good grades.

Best thing about Springville: School spirit and pride. We have the best fans in the state no doubt.

Guilty pleasure: I am a sucker for a good bag of salt-covered, crunchy potato chips.

Social media habits: I’ll admit I spend more time than needed on almost all social media websites. Before I go to bed I have to go through my Instagram feed, Twitter feed, and at times Facebook as well.

Study tips and tricks: Study in a classroom where the teacher is available to answer questions. If not that, have your sibling hide your phone for an hour and go to work.

How would teachers describe you? Outgoing and curious.

How would friends describe you? Hard working, loyal, crazy and a practical joker. I like to scare people!


Hayley Ford
Hayley Ford

Hayley Ford

Westlake High School
Parents: Wendy and Daniel Ford

Hayley Ford has been flipping her fins since she was 2 and swimming on varsity at Westlake High for four years. But Hayley is also making a splash out of the water. With a 4.0 GPA, a 33 ACT, and a David O McKay science scholarship under her suit, Hayley knows her strokes but she also plans to help folks. “I want to be an influence for good,” she says. “I want to be a bearer of light.”

Hayley has lit up Westlake as Math Club president, a capella choir member, and Sterling Scholar in science.

Post-high plans: Hayley will study biochemical engineering at BYU, where she wants to research antibodies that attack cancer cells.    Hayley also plans to serve an LDS mission and eventually put her professional career on hold to start a family.

“I hope to be part of a research team that engineers medicines for targeting cancer cells,” Hayley says.

Lesson learned by experience: My sophomore year I developed tachycardia, a heart condition, and I couldn’t swim like I used to. To my shock, my junior year I was elected captain of the swim team. That year I discovered you don’t have to be “the best” to lead.

Guilty pleasure: Reading instead of homework or sleeping

Social media habits: Pinning exotic recipes

Study tips: Pay attention in class. It’s a lot harder to learn it on your own.

Personal motto: The end will come!  Give it all you’ve got!

How would teachers describe you? The smart one who eats too many apples in class.

How would friends describe you? Annoyingly optimistic — and they’d say I eat weird food!

Grateful for? My parents. My mom got me interested in science. And I think my dad is more excited for me to find success in life than I am.


Amelia Weight
Amelia Weight

Amelia Weight

Salem Hills High School
Parents: Sean and Karen Weight

Amelia Weight took state in softball as catcher for Salem Hills, but she’s caught more than balls in her successful high school years. She’s also grabbed the limelight in the National Make It With Wool competition, where she took second in the senior division by making a peach dress. Now she’s running for Miss Salem as a pianist.

This self-described “country girl” wants to change the world by bridging the generation gap and helping younger people see eye-to-eye with the older generation.

“I’ve learned to listen to all the stories my grandparents have told,” she says. “We shouldn’t try to talk over them. They’ve had experiences, too.”

Post-high plans: UVU to study dental hygiene.

Study tips: I have my mom quiz me, and then I quiz other people on the material, too.

High school jobs: I’m a swim teacher at the Spanish Fork pool. I’ve also worked at Parley’s Place and for J Jeans and Things.

Favorite subject: AP Psychology

Favorite thing about Salem Hills: Teachers and administration want us to be strong as a school. We are classy and don’t put others down.

Guilty pleasure: Fried ice cream, Cadbury eggs.

Biggest pressure: Making sure I’m on time.

Advice to incoming freshmen: Go to class, do your homework, and then have fun. 

How would your friends describe you? As a mother hen. Everywhere we go, I’m asking if they remembered this or that. I take care of everybody.

Weekend plans: On Friday night I’m tired and go to bed early, but Saturday night we go country swing dancing.

To-do list: Homework, athletics, taking care of animals for a stock show. (Amelia has pigs, steers, chickens, horses and a dog.)


Luke Sagers
Luke Sagers

Luke Sagers

Timpview High School
Parents: Catherine and Paul Sagers

Luke Sagers has his head in the game as captain of Timpview’s basketball team two years running. He plays tennis and serves in student government, and also spends his free time as student representative for Keys to Success, which helps students set and achieve goals. This athlete also enjoys fly-fishing and business.

Post-high plans: After serving an LDS mission to Zambia, Luke plans to study economics at BYU. Luke is considering becoming a doctor or businessman, and he also hopes to write a book on human relations that will help people become happier.

Lesson learned by experience: I broke my wrist in the first game of the season my sophomore year. I gained perspective because it made me think what is more important than basketball — like schoolwork and my family.

Favorite teacher: Mrs. Van Orden (AP English) for her passion for literature.

Biggest pressure: Supporting myself after my mission

Guilty pleasure: I love musicals. “Aida” is my favorite.

Study tips: I use my grandpa’s model (Stephen R. Covey) of prioritizing — doing the important and urgent things first.

Motto: Try a little harder to be a little better.

Advice for incoming freshman: Have fun and make lasting relationships.

Best thing about Timpview: I love Timpview pride. We are good and we know it.

Typical Friday night: Rumbi Island Grill with friends, and then head to my grandparents’ house for swimming and movies.

How would teachers describe you? I try to deal with everyone as my real self and I have friends in all different groups.

How would friends describe you? I joke around and mess with people, but I’m also a sincere listener.


Jake Irving
Jake Irving

The Leaders

These four leaders are paving the way for the pack.

Jake Irving

Lone Peak High School
Parents: Bryan and Janeal Irving

As he was about to take over as student body president of Lone Peak High School, Jake Irving heard a talk about doing daily acts of service. He decided to serve someone every day and record the details in a journal. On the first day, he helped his friend’s little brother open his locker and find his classes.

“I loved doing that! It felt awesome,” Jake says.

He kept at it, and his journal chronicles what he considers the highlights of his senior year. His journal details an act of service for every day of his senior year except one (Oct. 21, and he can’t remember why).

“It helped me make sure not all my thoughts were inward,”says this captain of the football team and rugby player.

Post-high plans: LDS mission and then try out for BYU rugby team. I’ve played football for nine years and rugby for four years.

Guilty pleasure: Spending money on good food.

How would friends describe you? I’m wearing a Hawaiian shirt to an interview. I’m obviously pretty chill.

Social media habits: It’s fun to keep up with friends and see them opening mission calls. Instagram is the best. Twitter is fading for me. My mom and best friends are Snapchatting.

What challenges have you overcome? My first several months of being student body president I was so hard on myself. I was comparing myself to last year’s president. The only thing that can stop me from being successful is my attitude toward myself.

Advice to incoming freshmen: Get to know the names of the janitors.

Typical Friday night: Set up for dances, go crazy having fun at the dance, then go to Beto’s afterward with friends.

Personal motto: Serving Irving

Favorite class: AP Calculus with Mr. Craig Smith. Math doesn’t come easy to me, but he’s been cool and encouraging.

Favorite teacher: Mr. Gary Dunn. He’s not only a teacher but a really good friend. He is our student council adviser and has had a huge impact on me.

Study tips: Get rid of procrastination. Put in time every day and every night.


Austin Weenig
Austin Weenig

Austin Weenig

Timpanogos High School
Parents: Polly and Karl Weenig

   As LDS seminary president, homecoming king, regional finalist for Social Studies Sterling Scholar, NHS vice president and member of the tennis team, you’d think Austin Weening would be booked. But he still finds time to serve as president of PACK, the school-wide service organization that raised more than $7,000 last year for families of cancer victims and Sub for Santa. This AP whiz has a 3.9 GPA and scored 30 on the ACT, but what Austin talks about most is his recent trips to Mexico with Builders without Borders, and a service trip to Samoa to build prosthetic limbs for amputees.

Post-high plans: After an LDS mission to Malaga, Spain, Austin plans to attend BYU to study business management and law.

Favorite subject: Mythology. I’m going on a senior trip to Greece with my mythology class this summer.

Favorite teachers: Mrs. Crampton, Mrs. Herrick, Mr. Barth. They are passionate about their subjects.

Biggest pressure: AP Tests. I’m trying to sort out 10 different Henries right now for AP European History.

Guilty pleasure: Reading books such as “The Hunger Games.”

Grateful for … My family who pushes me and for service opportunities to meet people and see how they live.

Personal motto: “Success isn’t final, failure isn’t fatal; it’s the courage to continue that counts.” —Winston Churchill

Best thing about Timpanogos: Our principal is so friendly and reaches out to everybody.

Typical Friday night: Go to Menchies or Riverwoods with friends.

Advice to incoming freshmen: Find a balance between school and activities.

To-do list: Homework, piano, running, clean bathroom and bedroom.


Brenda Quintana
Brenda Quintana

Brenda Quintana

Maple Mountain High School
Parents: Barbara and Jose Luis Quintana

Brenda Quintana was 3 when she moved to the United States from Mexico with her parents. They had few belongings but many aspirations. Now Brenda aims to give voice to the underrepresented and to teach that being different is not a weakness.

“My main goal is to promote diversity and cultural awareness in my community to further inclusion and acceptance of minority and disadvantaged groups,” says this Spanish Fork Youth City Council mayor, who is also the salutatorian of the 2014 class and was named the Wasatch Front 2014 Sterling Scholar in Social Science (Maple Mountain’s first Sterling Scholar). Since her freshman year, Brenda has been a hospital volunteer.

Post-high plans: Attend Wesleyan University in Connecticut to major in government and international relations. Then Yale’s Global Affairs graduate program and then a career as a foreign service officer.

Guilty pleasure: Foreign films on Netflix.

How will you change the world: By paying it forward and helping those with disabilities reach their dreams.

Lesson learned: I am above any stereotype assigned to me. I am not “too smart to be a Mexican” as one of my peers once told me.

Study tips: Always keep a good record of when things are due. Just getting work in on time can really help your grade. I’m also a fan of rewriting notes taken during school. Don’t wait to review until the day before the test.

Challenges: Regardless of the setbacks or disadvantages I’ve had growing up, the moments where I doubted myself and my abilities were the moments I failed. Taking risks and ridding yourself of self-doubt allows for growth.

Advice for incoming freshmen: No one should struggle through high school, which is filled with people who are willing to help. Also, don’t do an activity just to bulk up your resume.


Jakell Larson
Jakell Larson

Jakell Larson

Lehi High School
Parents: Laura and Jerry Larson

As the class president for four years running, Jakell Larson also has time to work at a gas station, go to nationals for

SkillsUSA and serve on the Lehi City Youth Council.

With a big family of “yours, mine and ours,” Jakell is the baby by 7.5 years and has 17 nieces and nephews.

But she’s not the baby at Lehi High — she’s the spirited leader who wears her pride on her face (see the cover of this issue).

Post-high plans: Still deciding between scholarships/acceptance offers from Georgetown, UVU, University of Utah and USU. Plan to study political science, law or photojournalism.

Advice for incoming freshmen: Get involved and make friends, which is the No. 1 thing to help you get through high school and avoid depression.

Guilty pleasure: Driving! I have a stick shift, bright yellow bug.

Personal motto: Love like crazy! Be your best friend. Tell the Truth. Never let your praying knees get lazy. I also overuse “I love you.”

Typical Friday night: If there’s a school game, I’m there. If not, we’ll go Jeeping up the canyon or hang out in a big group.

Challenges: My family is a non-typical Utah County family. My siblings are all a lot older than I am. One of my biggest challenges is knowing when their examples are good examples and which are bad examples. I try to learn from both. I’ve also learned to love someone even if they are making different choices.

Biggest pressure: I put myself up to an expectation level nobody puts me up to. I’m disappointed in myself easily.

Study tips: I use flashcards like crazy. And study groups really do work.

What do you love about being class president? I love being in charge of events, and I love making people smile. I micromanage everything — I’m always planning something!


The Traveler

Seeing the world is the first step in changing the world.

Lucia Montagnoli
Lucia Montagnoli

Lucia Montagnoli

American Fork High School
Parents: Cliff and Martha Montagnoli

Lucia Montagnoli has a collection of keychains and pins that jingle her life story as a world traveler and people person.

Her father is of Italian descent and her mother served an LDS mission to Italy. The family immersed Lucia in European culture when she lived in Italy for a school year and Paris for a summer, and now she sees the world from a global viewpoint. As the chapter president of Family Community Career Leaders of America, Lucia has a clear view of how home life can alleviate world strife.

Lucia gives service close to home and has held leadership positions with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Serving with Smiles. She also interned at Osmond Designs and Deerfield Elementary.

Post-high plans: BYU, LDS mission, pursue elementary education, family consumer sciences or business management.

How will you change the world? When I was 8 years old, I was supposed to go up to the front of the room to get a certificate and sit back down. I was so scared. Now I’m a Sterling Scholar and president of FCCLA. I want to show others that they don’t need to be afraid.

Lesson learned: We moved to Europe when I was 13. I didn’t know anyone but my sister who was three grades above. I was this little shy girl from Utah, but I became comfortable in who I was and I brought that back with me.

Social media: I use Instagram and Facebook, but I deleted Twitter. Too much drama.

Guilty pleasure: Singing and dancing at very late hours of the night in the kitchen.

Study tips: Flashcards. Every time. Flash cards.

Advice for incoming freshmen: The second I stopped caring about what people thought about me, I had friends and life got so much easier. When you are confident in who you are, others notice and are drawn to that.

Daily schedule: I am a night person. I get to school at 7:44 each morning and make it to my class just in time. I like to leave flexibility in my daily schedule to help people and take care of things that pop up.

How would friends describe you? They think I’m a lot of fun. We have a lot of events at my house. They would also say I’m helpful, dependable, loving and bubbly.


Jamie Finch
Jamie Finch

The Performer: Jamie Finch

Payson High School
Parents: Reed and Lori Finch

With three major roles in three school plays (“Alice in Wonderland,” “Suessical the Musical” and “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”), Jamie Finch plans to take the drama queen role to Utah State where she’ll pursue her dreams to become a high school drama teacher and actress. She also plays the role of leader as the Choir Council secretary and member of the HOPE squad, Payson City Youth Court Board and Seminary Council.

How will you change the world? By becoming a mother someday, as well as using dramatic arts to inspire. My world was changed by seeing “Beauty and the Beast” at the Hale Center Theater. Soon I tried out for my first play, and I’ve been in love ever since. I hope to inspire future high school students to reach their potential through acting.

Social media: I love Instagram. More pictures, less weird posts.

Guilty pleasure: Popcorn. I crave it constantly.

Study tips: When I take tests in my best Sunday attire, I almost always score higher because I feel better about myself and subconsciously understand that tests are a big deal.

Biggest pressure: Being unprepared.

How would teachers describe you? They say I’m the “light of the classroom” as well as dedicated, optimistic and reliable.

How would friends describe you? Enthusiastic, faithful, curious and very dramatic.

Favorite teacher: Mrs. Chipman, my English and journalism teacher. She constantly gives me the perfect pep talks I need to reach my goals. I look to her as an example of an amazing woman and teacher.

Favorite quotes: I have two quotes I live by. First, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” My more recent motto states, “It’s OK to be a glow stick. Sometimes you have to break before you can shine.”


Daniel Harker
Daniel Harker

The Artist: Daniel Harker

Mountain View High School
Parents: Brian and Sally Harker

Ranked No. 1 in his graduating class, Daniel Harker also comes first in the yearbook — he drew the cover. He’s the resident artist on student council and was a state Sterling Scholar finalist in English.

Post-high plans: Attending BYU to major in international relations with an emphasis in Middle Eastern studies. After grad school, I’d love to work as a foreign service officer for the State Department overseas.

How will you change the world? I hope to use my writing to expose people to new perspectives from all over the world.

To-do list: Homework, complete an art project, take a nap.

Biggest pressure: Getting my life ready for college and adulthood.

Guilty pleasure: Eating Double Stuff Oreos by the sleeve.

Study tips: Study for every class like you’re on the verge of flunking it, even if you’re not. Desperation is the best motivation.

Grateful for … My family, my country, my car, fried chicken.

Personal motto: If life is easy, you’re doing it wrong.

Lesson learned: I once lost out on a big scholarship because I forgot to fill out the application. It’s important to pay attention to the little things.

Favorite teacher: Brett Andrus, my AP English teacher. He has a contagious enthusiasm for everything he teaches. He engenders an atmosphere of discussion and high-level thinking in his classes.

Typical Friday night: Watching Netflix, eating pizza, hanging out with friends.

How would teachers describe you? Engaged, curious and willing to work (most of the time).

How would friends describe you? Happy and quirky, with a sarcastic/ironic sense of humor.


Nathan Christiansen
Nathan Christiansen

The Giver: Nathan Christiansen

Spanish Fork High School
Parents: Richard and Gaye Christiansen

   Service tour to Guatemala? Check. Helping people in India and Nepal? Got it. Hiking in the Himalayas? Done.

Spanish Fork’s Nathan Christiansen has a passion for helping people in developing countries. But this football-playing choir member isn’t just a giver, he’s also a builder and has owned his own business since he was 8. He motivates employees with rewards like iPads or even service trips.

Nathan is also president of Key Club (a service organization) and is the NHS vice president of service. And when he has pockets of free time, he laces up his boots and goes hiking.

Post-high plans: Nathan’s giving days are far from over as he will serve an LDS mission in Mozambique. He plans to study mechanical engineering at BYU and has his sights set on Harvard business school after that.

Lesson learned: I’ve gained leadership skills by running my company; sometimes I’ve had to manage people who are older than I am.

Favorite teachers: Those who show confidence in their students.

Favorite subjects: Calculus and biology

Biggest pressure: AP Calculus test

Social media habits: I spend at least three hours a day optimizing Facebook for my company. I had to quit Twitter because I liked it too much!

Study tips and tricks: Eat gummy bears and stay focused.

Grateful for … Family, gospel, Book of Mormon and good food

Personal motto: Choose the hard things first.

Advice for incoming freshmen: Be unique.

Common things on to-do list: Run numbers for my business, practice music, eat a ton.

Best thing about Spanish Fork: We are unified.

Typical Friday night: Crazy adventurous date with my girlfriend

How would friends describe you? Loyal and creative.


Michael Santiago
Michael Santiago

The Entrepreneur

Michael Santiago

Orem High School
Parents: Todd and Stephanie Santiago

   Having moved 12 times, Michael Santiago is comfortable with change — both making it and pursuing it. He’s bought and sold several cars as an amateur car dealer. He also owns an office cleaning company and works as a weekend writer for Redmond Pie, a tech blog.

This Eagle Scout is the oldest of eight and set the bar high for his siblings by lettering in football and basketball while maintaining a 3.9 GPA.

Post-high plans: Serve an LDS mission to Milan, Italy. Then BYU.

How will you change the world? I want to start a business that creates a lot of jobs and solves important issues and problems.

Social media habits: Daily tweets and frequent Instagram posts.

Study tips: Don’t procrastinate! Put your phone in another room so you can concentrate.

Favorite teacher: My math teacher, Valerie Shaw.

Lesson learned: I’ve learned that managing myself is a lot easier than managing others. I own and run a small cleaning business, and my biggest challenge has been getting quality work and effort from my handful of employees — especially when they are my same age.

Biggest pressure: To succeed in everything I do. I hate falling short of my goals.

Guilty pleasure: Hours online looking at cars and current events.

Personal motto: Life responds to effort.

Advice to incoming freshmen: Frontload the pain. Do your best from the very start.

To-do list: Homework, job, help my mom with my siblings and study for my mission.

How would teachers describe you? Balanced, good student, respectful.

How would friends describe you? Laid back, fun, smart, driven.


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