By Jeanette Bennett and Erica Palmer

This year’s High School Students Who Will Change The World live in a dream world. If they dream it, others will come to believe it, too. And that’s the best of all worlds. Meet a soon-to-be-world-renowned senior from every high school in Utah County.

American Fork High School 

American Fork - Josh Transtrum

Student: Josh Transtrum 
Parents: Belina & Jason Transtrum

For his science fair project last year, Josh Transtrum cultured human lung cancer cells in a petri dish and learned how to get the cells to commit autophagy, or stop growing. He took first in state.

Mini-resume NHS president, science club president, Science Sterling Scholar, 10 AP classes, 4.0 GPA, 31 ACT, “baby whisperer” of the family.

Advice for freshmen Let go of your inhibitions. Don’t let people’s judgments or preconceived thoughts about you hold you back.

Plans after high school LDS mission, U of U Honors College, medical school at University of Washington to become a pediatric surgeon.

Guilty pleasure Netflix. “Grey’s Anatomy” is amazing.

Biggest pressure you feel In Utah County there is a  high standard for perfection in school and physical appearance.

Discouragement Sophomore year I didn’t take first place in the science fair, which seemed like a big deal, but it gave me better drive for the next year, when I did win.

Best high school memory

We leave campus for lunch, and when we come back in the parking lot we roll the windows down, no matter the weather, and blast the Olympic theme song.

How will you change the world? I’m looking to my medical career to change the world. Saving one life would make it all worth it to me.

Favorite restaurant JCW’s is the stomping ground for American Fork High. Onion rings and cheese fries are just the way to go.

American Heritage School

American Heritage - Josh Crocket

Student: Josh Crocket 
Parents: Randy & Deanne Crockett

Josh Crockett composes piano pieces in his free time and keeps a pocket Constitution in his backpack “to reference when applicable.” In addition to his academic talent, Josh has starred in at least five school plays, his favorite being “The King and I.”

Mini-resume Worked at a scout camp doing rock climbing and rappelling, 32 ACT, 3.99 GPA, theater, student council.

Personal motto I can’t go around saying “Hallelujah, amen, praise the Lord.” But for whatever reason I can get away with “Hurrah for Israel.” It’s fun to say.

Plans after high school LDS mission to Calgary. Then BYU for constitutional law or chemical engineering.

Guilty pleasure Wrapping up in my cloak and putting on my crazy Thailand hat and reading a book on my bed.

How would others describe you? The first thing that comes to most people’s minds is tall. And then kind, and then kind of impish. The people who get to know me are like, “This guy, he’s kind of mischievous.”

Biggest pressure you feel Being an example. It’s scary when you have a lot of little kids going, “Hey, Josh!” in the hall and you’re like, “I don’t know you, but evidently you look up to me!”

Most common thing your parents say to you “Caleb, Samuel, Thomas … Josh! You!” Those are all my brothers’ names.

How will you change the world? I hope I change a few people’s worlds by going on a mission.

Favorite restaurant Beto’s for bean & cheese burrito.

Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy

Karl Maesar - Eliza Crofts

Student: Eliza Crofts
Parents: G. Keith & Emily Crofts

Eliza Crofts founded MPA Cares, a youth-run, anti-human trafficking organization working with Operation Underground Railroad to raise $25,000.

Mini-resume National Merit Scholar finalist, state Sterling Scholar runner-up for Visual Arts, NHS president, HOPE Squad, Springville Art Museum Junior Art Guild member.

Plans after high school Work this summer at Cook’s Greenhouse, teach children’s art classes, work on various art commissions. Attend BYU as a studio art major.

Guilty pleasure Napping or watching episodes of Agatha Christie’s Poirot on Netflix while eating a toasted bagel with vegan cream cheese.

Challenges  After struggling with depression my freshman year, I joined student council as the chair of the service committee. Service has brought me so much joy.

How would others describe you? I’m known for my obsession with sloths and plants, constantly making bad puns, being artsy, and having long hair (although that’s going to change this summer when I donate it!).

Most common thing your parents say to you Every morning my mom says, “Make it a great day!” instead of “Have a great day.” I am in charge of how well my day goes.

Best high school memory I’ve organized frequent blood drives at my school. We just casually save hundreds of lives every couple of months.

How will you change the world? Art is my voice. I use it to tell stories, raise awareness, express emotion and communicate.

Lehi High School 

Lehi - Braxton Bingham

Student: Braxton Bingham 
Parents: Brandon & Sheri Bingham

Braxton Bingham won the stethoscope at a National Young Leaders’ conference in Boston for doing the most CPR chest compressions on a dummy in two minutes.

Mini-resume Student council, varsity football, basketball, track, Hope Squad, led food drive, 4.0 GPA, 31 ACT.

Advice for freshmen Don’t sit and wonder what could have been. Make a friend, go to a school event, do something you hate. Anything is better than sitting at home wishing you could have done something more.

Plans after high school Serve an LDS mission, University of Utah, medical school to become an anesthesiologist.

Keys to happiness in high school Be grateful for every crappy day, every stupid test, every jerk who annoys you in the halls, because it’s there to make you better than who you were yesterday. And go on lots of dates.

Guilty pleasure Hot wings and texting a pretty girl.

Challenges After my freshman year I thought to myself, “This is the last time I’m going to be too shy and awkward to talk to.”

Stress management I hug my mom when I have a bad day. I organize things I need to do into a list with time slots.

Most common thing your parents say to you Clean your room.

Best high school memory Grabbing donuts after basketball practice with my buddies.

How will you change the world? With innovation. I’m a Lehi Pioneer and that’s exactly how I plan to change the world — by leading the way in the medical field.

Liahona High School 

Liahona - Taralyn Rudd

Student: Taralyn Rudd 
Parents: Iain & NayLynn Rudd

Taralyn Rudd hates things devoid of color — as one look at her school backpack will reveal. Taralyn’s colorful approach won her the school’s spirit award this year.

Mini-resume Cheer squad, soccer, yearbook, Shakespeare competition team for four years, Shakespeare Festival first in nationals, VP in drama department

Motto Dance in the rain.

Advice for freshmen Get to know the teachers and administrators in the office. When I walk in I feel comfortable and not scared they’re going to hurt me or I’m in trouble.

Plans after high school Work for a year to save money, serve an LDS mission, UVU to major in ASL.

Guilty pleasure Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate.

Challenges Being happy with who I am, my looks and what I can do, and realizing that if I can’t do something, that’s OK.

How would others describe you? Loud, happy, smiley, enthusiastic, encouraging, obnoxious, involved, crazy.

Biggest pressure you feel Doing the right thing when it’s not popular to do. Especially with the elections coming up and making a choice I can be satisfied with.

Best high school memory Two years ago we tied for first place in nationals at the Shakespeare competition and we are the smallest school in our division.

Favorite restaurant Cafe Rio for pork salad.

How will you change the world? I’m going to have a family and teach my kids to do what’s right.

Lone Peak High School 

Lone Peak - Talmage Gunther

School: Talmage Gunther 
Parents: Bruce & Christy Gunther

Talmage Gunther is a leader whether he’s wearing his jersey, student council jacket or scout uniform. He was the captain of both the football and basketball teams.

Mini-resume Student council, Deseret News first team all-state, All Tribune team, Daily Herald player of the year, Region 4 MVP, two humanitarian trips to Mexico, 31 ACT, 3.99 GPA.

Advice for freshmen Your opinion of high school depends on how much you give to your school.

Plans after high school LDS mission to Harare, Zimbabwe, then preferred walk-on to play football for BYU.

Keys to happiness Amazing friends. We are involved and we try to be inclusive.

Guilty pleasure JCW’s raspberry cheesecake milkshake. I also waste time at espn.com

Challenges My family moved to Germany and I stayed. Also, I had knee surgery last spring and it taught me patience.

No. 1 thing you’ve learned in high school It’s important that you don’t make people feel like you’re above them.

Biggest pressure I feel like if I do anything wrong, everything good I’ve done goes to waste. I feel a lot of pressure to never mess up.

Common thing parents say “Cheer up the sad and make someone feel glad.”

Best high school memory In the state championship I threw a touchdown to take the lead. I turned and the whole sideline, thousands of students and our community were all cheering. It was a snapshot moment.

How will you change the world? Kindness.

Maple Mountain High School 

Maple Mountain - Jaren Hall

Student: Jaren Hall 
Parents Kailin & Hollie Hall

With a scholarship to play quarterback for BYU after an LDS mission, Jaren Hall will once again find himself in the center of the field and the center of attention.

Mini-resume 3.98 GPA, lettered in football, basketball and baseball all four years, football team captain and quarterback, Especially For Athletes, All-State in baseball, four AP classes.

Personal motto Be the same person in the dark that I am in the light.

Advice for freshmen Be the kindest person because you never know who’s watching or who might need your amazing spirit to help them.

Plans after high school LDS mission to Roseville, California, then play football for BYU. Then medical sports, physical therapy or sports training.

Guilty pleasure Xbox or TV. NCAA football is my main game.

No. 1 thing you’ve learned in high school Accepting everything about yourself.

How would others describe you? Respectful, always goes extra mile, honest, happy — very happy — and athletic.

Biggest pressure you feel The pressure of failing in the things I do. I hate to lose.

Best high school memory Last year we made it to the state championship in baseball against a cross-town rivalry and I was with my team the whole week. It’s something I’ll never forget.

How will you change the world? By spreading love to others and by being a good example, always.

Favorite restaurant Sakura, and I order teriyaki chicken and noodles.

Meridian School 

Meridian - Mengfan Deng

Student: Mengfan Deng
Parents: Zhang & YuMei Deng

When MengFan Deng came as a foreign exchange student from China, she hardly knew any English. As the only international student on student council, she played a huge role in breaking down barriers at Meridian. She won the school service award for volunteering in the school kitchen where she taught the cooks a few authentic Chinese recipes.

Mini-resume International club student body president, cheerleader, space camp program volunteer, Chinese immersion program volunteer at Sage Creek Elementary.

Plans after high school Michigan State to study business. Then perhaps BYU for an MBA, with plans to connect China and America through business.

Keys to happiness in high school Make friends with other cultures.

Guilty pleasure Shopping and eating. I like steak. And hot pot. And sushi.

Challenges Living in a foreign country with strangers thousands of miles away from home.

Biggest pressure High school is almost over and real life is about begin. With it will come more responsibilities and expectations.

Common thing parents say “Live in the now and be thankful for what you have.”

How will you change the world? By staying positive, being grateful and kind, volunteering and getting involved.

Favorite restaurant meal Pepper steak at the Tree Room at Sundance, as well as the fruit and custard in a cookie.

Mountain View High School 

Mountain View - Jake Holland

Student: Jake Holland 
Parents: Matt & Paige Holland

Jake Holland tore his ACL sophomore year and underwent nine months of rehab. His determination led him to be named Academic All State 4A in football where he played running back and linebacker.

Mini-resume 4.0 GPA, Academic All State 4A in basketball and football, varsity tennis, Eagle Scout, senior class secretary.

Plans after high school Serve an LDS mission in Montevideo, Uruguay, leaving on Aug. 4.

Keys to happiness in high school Don’t get caught up in failures or weaknesses. Treat yourself to chicken nuggets every once in a while.

Guilty pleasure Binge watching “The Office” and binge eating chips and guac.

How would others describe you? Strange, sweet and snuggly.

Biggest pressure Keeping up in my AP classes.

Best advice you received Hustle and have fun.

Stress management Have a good chat about my problems, blast Billy Joel in my car or eat lots of carbs.

Most common thing parents say to you “I love you” and “Put your phone away.”

Best high school memory Beating Orem on Senior Night after many, many losses.

How will you change the world? One hug at a time.

Favorite food Filet mignon and scallops at Tepanyaki.

What have you learned playing sports? Learning from adversity and developing lifelong friendships are more important than wins and losses — although wins are much more fun.

Orem High School

Orem - Sydney Jacobs

Student: Sydney Jacobs 
Parents Andy & Camie Jacobs

Sydney Jacobs organized an event to send over 2,000 Christmas cards to soldiers overseas. Her long-term plans include returning to Orem High to teach math and special needs — and hopefully coach with her dad on the cross country team.

Mini-resume Captain of soccer, track and cross country teams; Academic All State for cross country/soccer, Best Buddies Club, sports editor of Tiger Times, LDS Young Womanhood Recognition, 4.0 GPA, 31 ACT, sophomore and junior class president.

Advice for incoming high-schoolers High school is 100 times better if you are actively doing things with your school.

Plans after high school Attend Utah State on the presidential scholarship.

Challenges When I was in junior high my mom had stage 3 colon cancer.

No. 1 thing you’ve learned in high school To communicate with adults and to adapt because of how friend groups change in high school. I also learned you don’t need a title to be a leader.

Dealing with discouragement Not winning the election for student body president was the biggest bummer, but I got involved in the special needs program and decided I want to do that as my career.

Best high school memory Bus rides to soccer games.

How will you change the world? I can teach kids who struggle with math and also help special needs kids get into life.

Favorite food All-Star turkey sandwich at Ernie’s and the avocado rolls at Cheesecake Factory.

Payson High School 

Payson - Emma Harris

Student: Emma Harris
Parents: Joel & Anne Harris

As the drum major, Emma Harris led the Payson High School Marching Band to a state championship after an undefeated season. Tack on a 4.0 GPA and two ecclesiastical service awards, and her resume comes with all the bells and whistles.

Mini-resume 4.0 GPA, 31 ACT, two superior ratings at State Solo and Ensemble, Instrumental Solo winner for the Huff Music Contest, All-State band, Sterling Scholar of Instrumental Music for Payson High School

Advice for freshmen Sit on the front row!

Plans after high school Major in woodwind performance at BYU and also serve LDS mission.

Keys to happiness in high school Start every day with a prayer and a smile.

Guilty pleasure Sleep. I sleep more than almost anyone else I know.

Challenges I struggled with depression for several years of my life, but by finding my passion I changed crippling sadness into brilliant joy!

No. 1 thing you’ve learned in high school How to love and care about those around me.

Biggest pressure you feel Being good enough. It’s hard to be awesome 24/7.

Best advice you have received If you can do something about a problem, do it. If you can’t, don’t worry about it.

Stress strategy Take a nap, eat some chocolate, and play Mario Kart until I get over it.

Most common thing your parents say to you “I love you.”

How will you change the world? One smile at a time.

Favorite restaurant Casa Salsa. And I pretty much just go for the salsa.

Pleasant Grove High School

Pleasant Grove - Maddie Wood

Student: Maddie Wood
Parents: Mark & Cristie Wood

Maddie Wood’s main takeaway from high school is that making others happy is what brings a smile to her face.

Mini-resume Four years of student council, VP of Assemblies, Co-president of Red Cross Youth Services Program, HOPE Squad, Best Buddies, Special Needs Mutual, Young Women Medallion, Most School Spirit Award, 3.9 GPA

Advice for freshmen Get involved in your school and community as much as you can.

Plans after high school USU for a year and then an LDS mission.

Guilty pleasure Chick-fil-A and Harry Potter.

No. 1 thing you’ve learned in high school To brush off the negative things in life. What seems like a big deal now won’t matter in a few years.

How would others describe you? Opposite of shy. I’m often found belting “High School Musical” or dancing in the halls.

What is the best advice you have received? Look both ways before you cross the street.

How do you cope with stress/discouragement? I make lists to help me prioritize tasks.

Best high school memory Save Ferris. It’s an ’80s fundraiser dance that is always a party. I planned it last year!

How will you change the world? I may not end world hunger or cure cancer, but I can reach out to the lonely. I can stand up for what I believe. I can continue serving with the Red Cross. I can start a ripple to inspire others, because together we can change the world.

Provo High School 

Provo - Hadley Gordon

Student: Hadley Gordon 
Parents Darin & Lisa Gordon

Hadley Gordon is interning with Provo City, which is setting the stage for her long-term plans to run for president of the United States.

Mini-resume Yearbook editor, president of HOPE Squad, captain of competitive culinary team, member of PHS Chamber Singers, school plays, Supreme Court Officer in student government, tennis team, VP national honor society, 4.0 GPA.

Advice for freshmen Build a relationship with every teacher. They determine grades and become mentors.

Plans after high school BYU-Hawaii to earn a business marketing degree and then go on to law school or MBA. Run for local, state, and then presidential office.

Guilty pleasure Pinterest and Sodalicious!

Challenges I had won freshman class president in Midway right before my family moved to Provo.

Stress management I pray for guidance in this crazy world. I have long conversations with my amazing parents.

Most common thing your parents say to you “Your family should come first” and “You can never have too many friends” and “You’re too dressed up for this event” and “Go to bed.”

Best high school memory I organized our school’s annual food drive and we collected 26,000 cans.

How will you change the world? It’s important to have strong, motivated, and thoughtful people in leadership positions.

Favorite restaurant Station 22 and I always get the Pulled Pig Sandwich.

Salem Hills High School 

Salem - Stephanie Tuckett

Student: Stephanie Tuckett
Parents David & Susan Tuckett

Stephanie Tuckett’s principal says she has already changed the world by initiating a mental wellness week at Salem Hills to help students find positive ways to deal with anxiety and depression.

Mini-resume Senior class president, 3.992 GPA, 31 ACT, track and field, choir, NHS, Close Up club, travel, boating, wakesurfing.

Advice for freshmen Everyone says high school goes super fast, but it really goes by SO FAST! Make it count! Be outgoing. Be kind. Be fearless. Plans after high school BYU,  LDS mission, study abroad, humanitarian work.

Keys to happiness in high school Realize everyone around you is a friend waiting to be met.

Challenge you’ve overcome Learning it’s OK to fail.

Biggest pressure you feel I’m not sure what I want to do with my life so I feel pressure to figure that out.

Stress management Music and napping.

Most common thing your parents say to you My parents call me the “autopilot kid.” They don’t get after me about homework or anything. I take care of myself and do what I need to do.

Best high school memory One night a handful of student council members were at the school working on homecoming decorations. We started having a dance party in the hallway. It only ended because we collapsed from laughing so hard.

How will you change the world? Being kind can make such a difference. I want to help people realize the potential they have inside of themselves.

Spanish Fork High School 

Spanish - Devon Argyle

Student: Devon Argyle
Parents Brian and Melissa Argyle

Devon Argyle wore the same red undershirt to our photo shoot that he always wears in baseball games. His rituals have led to a sports highlight reel, including a state championship in baseball.

Mini-resume 4.0 GPA, second baseman in baseball, junior year second-team All-State, Academic All-State and Academic All-Region in football.

Plans after high school LDS mission in Colombia Bogota South. Pre-med program at SUU or Utah State.

Guilty pleasure Spumoni ice cream from the Old Spaghetti Factory might be the best thing on this planet.

Challenges I tore my ACL right before football started. I came back two days before the baseball season started.

No. 1 thing you’ve learned in high school High school isn’t everything, but through athletics I’ve learned how to work hard and make goals.

Stress management I stay athletic. I go hiking and golfing. Being outdoors helps.

Most common thing your parents say to you “I love you,” and “I’m proud of you” and a lot of “Good jobs.”

Best high school memory Dogpile after winning state in baseball.

How will you change the world? As an orthopedic surgeon, I want to help people with physical problems.

Favorite restaurant Cafe Rio for the sweet pork burrito with black and pinto beans. I’m hoping Colombia doesn’t ruin Cafe Rio for me.

Pre-game rituals For football I had to have Jimmy John’s. For baseball I had to have bubble gum and chili lime Spitz seeds. That’s classic for baseball.

Springville High School 

Springville - Ali Monson

Student: Ali Monson
Parents Mark & Tawnya Monson

As Homecoming royalty, Ali Monson takes “like a girl” to a whole new level. Her athletic and leadership resume could fill this page.

Mini-resume 4.0 GPA, Hugh O’Brien Leadership, Academic All State for basketball and soccer, student government activities chairperson, girls basketball state championship 2014 and runner up 2016, Springville Youth City Council.

Personal motto Seek to be worth knowing rather than be well known.

Advice for freshmen Join a club, attend activities and show your school spirit.

Plans after high school BYU to study business. Get married and have a family.

Keys to happiness in high school Get involved and surround yourself with people who like to have fun and enjoy the high school events.

Guilty pleasure Homemade chocolate chip cookies.

Challenges I am naturally a quiet and reserved person. Through the activities I have pursued, I have pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

No. 1 thing you’ve learned in high school I cannot procrastinate and I use every minute of my time efficiently.

Biggest pressure I am always trying to not only meet, but exceed the expectations of my coaches, teachers, parents and peers.

Stress management When I have a lot to do, I make a list and get to work.

Most common thing parents say “Love you!” or “What time will you be home?”

How will you change the world? By looking for the best in those around me, I’ll instill confidence in them.

Timpanogos High School

Timpanogos - Levi Martial


Student: Levi Martial 
Parents: Marc & Cempaka Martial

Levi Martial was born in Haiti and moved to the U.S. at age 12. He’s left his mark at Timpanogos as seminary president and humanitarian leader. “I also have an eight-pack — did you get that down?” he asks as our interview ends.

Mini-resume Soccer, cross-country, humanitarian trips to Haiti, Eagle Scout, Crystal Apple Award, HOSA, Orem Summerfest student martial in 9th grade.

GPA 3.96. My A- was in French — and I’m fluent in French!

Plans after high school University of Utah Honors College, medical school and work in global health.

Personal motto Remember why I do things.

Advice for freshmen Enjoy the passage of time. Sometimes I can get caught up on a big game coming up, or prom or graduation, and I skip everything in between.

Keys to happiness in high school Befriend everyone. There are better ways to spice up life than drama and exclusions.

Guilty pleasure Hot showers and Taco Bell. I order Fiesta Potatoes with no sour cream and no cheese, a CrunchWrap Supreme, two bean burritos and a Quesalupa. And I can eat all that in one sitting. Or half a sitting.

Biggest pressure To succeed in everything I do, whether it’s Rock-Paper-Scissors or the bigger things.

How will you change the world? There are enough resources to have health equity in the world, and that is what I want to dedicate my life to accomplishing. My whole family is in the medical field.

Timpview High School 

Timpview - Cami Buckley

Student: Cami Buckley 
Parents John & Diane Buckley

As the Timpview Girls President, Cami Buckley headed up the Sub for Santa program and raised more than $63,000. In the midst of her volunteer and leadership roles, she still maintained a 3.994 GPA (“Darn calculus!”)

Mini-resume AP scholar with honors, Timpview Girls President, Interact Service Club president, three trips to Hopi Reservation in Arizona to build homes and teach, cross country team manager, seminary vice president, youth leader with Special Needs Activity Program, volunteer with Pearls with a Purpose and Now I Can.

Plans after high school BYU, LDS mission, possibly studying public relations, business or physiology.

Guilty pleasure Chick flicks! My favorite is “Monte Carlo.”

Challenges After running with the cross country team, I learned I had problems with my knees and hamstrings that prevented me from running competitively. With more free time I began volunteering, and my perspective changed.”

Stress management Good music and spending time in the mountains.

Most common thing parents say “I love you!”

Favorite meal The Cockadoodledo at Cubby’s.

Best high school memory I have loved the novels we have read in my English classes.

How will you change the world? My goal is to make the world a brighter place by being a light and serving others. I want to help people see their potential and recognize that they have the capability to do amazing things.

Utah County Academy of Sciences


Utah County - Joseph Chou

Student: Joseph Chou 
Parents: Po Nien & Petra Chou

Joseph Chou completed an associate’s degree from UVU before high school graduation. Not one to do things halfway, he also earned all 141 Boy Scout merit badges, which landed him on several media outlets.

Mini-resume Awards for violin and piano, writes and speaks Cantonese and Mandarin, graduating first in his class, 4.0 GPA in both his high school and UVU courses

Plans after high school LDS Church mission in Hong Kong. Then study physics, math or animation.

Personal motto Some people will like you, some people will dislike you, but it only matters if you like you.

Advice for freshmen Admit it when you like something (for example, I like math).

Favorite time-waster Arranging hymns on the piano, going on dates and eating ice cream.

Challenges I made a mistake on the application for the college I really wanted to go to and was not accepted.   

No. 1 lesson from high school Talent will not get you far. The person who works the hardest gets the farthest.

Biggest pressure Preparing to be a father and raise a family. I am also nervous about being by myself on my mission.

Best advice you’ve received It is the first time your parents have been parents, so cut them a little slack.

Best high school memory Playing ping pong after a long day of classes.

How will you change the world? I want to discover new things that will improve the conditions of human living.

Walden School of Liberal Arts

Walden - Ciara Lisonbee

Student: Ciara Lisonbee
Parents Katie Forciea, Jay Lisonbee and Derek Henderson

Walden administrators call Ciara Lisonbee the next Jane Goodall. This year alone, she has served with the Great Basin Wildlife Rescue, the Provo Women & Children’s Shelter, Living Planet Aquarium, and A Caring Vet.

Mini-resume  3.98 GPA, Utah County Youth of the Year from the Boys & Girls Club in 11th grade, Youth Civic Engagement Award in 11th grade, English Sterling Scholar, Christmas fundraiser, roller derby.

Advice for freshmen Even if someone else is better, do the best you can do and it will still work out for you.

Plans after high school I just got accepted into UC Davis (my dream school) to study animal biology.

Keys to happiness in high school Don’t ever work so much that you’re crying but don’t play so much that you’re failing.

Guilty pleasure French fries, roller derby, music and concerts.

Challenges I lost a family member in junior high and I got so depressed I didn’t want to leave my house. I rose up, got my grades up, and decided to make that family member proud.

No. 1 lesson learned You have second chances.

How would others describe you? Literally everyone has told me I’m really scary looking, but as soon as they meet me they say I’m the kindest person they’ve ever met.

Most common thing your parents say to you? “Everything happens for a reason” and “You need to eat food other than french fries.”

Best high school memory The Timp Lodge Dance.

Westlake High School 

Westlake - Kenzie Ford

Student: Kenzie Ford 
Parents: Dan & Wendy Ford

As the 2016 5A state camp in the 50-yard freestyle, Kenzie Ford is Utah’s fastest swimmer. So it’s no wonder this 6-footer’s favorite smell is chlorine — and also “burning rubber” on the track. She doubles as a track and field star.

Mini-resume 3.96 GPA, first place at the CUSEF science fair, 5A state medalist in multiple swimming events and track and field (javelin), swim team captain, track team captain, math club VP, teaches special needs kids, scout troops.

Plans after high school Swim for the University of Utah. Study science/engineering.

Personal motto When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Guilty pleasure Superhero movies.

Challenges I got appendicitis at the beginning of swim season my junior year.

Biggest lesson learned in high school If you work hard enough you can achieve anything.

How would others describe you? Friendly, happy, funny, fun, energetic, athletic, loyal.

Biggest pressure you feel Gravity.

Best advice you received My swim coach had me listen to an empowering mental program (zanshin) every night.

Stress strategy Work out.

Favorite restaurant Avocado bacon sandwich and coconut milkshake at JCW’s.

Most common thing parents say “Go to bed!”

How will you change the world? By helping one person at a time. When we reach out it not only brightens their day, but also inspires them to help others.

6 Responses

  1. These people are amazing! However, I noticed you switched Joseph Chou and Levi Martial’s pictures. I go to school with Joseph, so I know his face, and that is not him. 🙂

  2. I’m disappointed to see that you failed to choose a student from Provo’s Independence High School. For a school with a 90% poverty rate, every student who graduates is changing their own world. Most don’t have the luxury of being able to participate in extracurricular activities as they have to work after school to help support their families. You do an injustice to them and to your readers by failing to acknowledge the extraordinary effort made by these students to overcome the extreme disadvantages that they face.

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