It is hard to imagine someone busier than Katelyn Buehring.

Buehring, who is joining her senior classmates at Rush City High School in graduation ceremonies this Sunday, June 5, is involved in a variety of different pursuits at the school.

Because of her packed schedule, she often does homework late into the night, stretching her day into the wee hours of the next morning.

“Honestly, I might stay up as late as 1:30 a.m.,” Buehring admitted. “On a good night, I may get to bed by midnight. I’m used to it. I get tired, but I don’t mind it.”

She has chosen a route that features sports year-round, multiple musical outlets, and a number of different academic activities during her time at Rush City.

“Practice for sports generally go after school until 5 or 5:30, and if there’s a game – particularly a road game – it can go a lot later,” Buehring said. “We might get back around 10 or 11 at night, but in that case I try to do homework on the bus ride home.

“I have to stay up late to get everything done. But that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

That sacrifice was rewarded when Buehring was accepted to Harvard University for the coming academic year.

According to the school, Harvard accepted just 3.19% percent of applicants to its Class of 2026 — the lowest rate in its history — as the school saw a record number of candidates apply.

Buehring was one of only 1,214 students who received an offer of admission on March 31, joining 740 students who received early admission last December. A whopping 61,220 students submitted applications to the school.

“Like most people, I never really thought Harvard was an option,” she admitted. “I never thought I would be able to do it. But now I get to do it. I get to attend Harvard.”

Keeping busy

Buehring has so many late nights because she has a lot of jam-packed days.

Athletically, she has earned 10 varsity letters in four different sports at Rush City, including four letters in softball – she joined the varsity starting in eighth grade and played every year after, missing only the 2020 season that was wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She also lettered in basketball as a junior and senior, while collecting two letters in two fall sports, earning letters in volleyball as a sophomore and junior while lettering in cross country as a junior and senior.

Buehring also is involved in student government, math league, Knowledge Bowl and band. Musically she is a member of Rush City’s wind ensemble, pep band, jazz band and marching band. She also spent time with the all-school play as a freshman.

Most notably, Buehring placed fifth in the Minnesota Math League state competition as a junior and finished ninth this past season, and she earned a spot on the Minnesota Honor Society.

She also is a member of the Leo Club, a youth organization affiliated with the Lions Club, and took part on the Green Team, an environmental club at the school, when she was a freshman and sophomore. And starting her sophomore year, Buehring mentored elementary students at Rush City, where she was matched with a younger student to help that individual deal with whatever issues they might encounter.

“Trying to make enough time to do everything I want to do [is hard],” Buehring said. “It can be tough to balance everything, but I think it’s doable.”

How does she do it?

“I try to make sure I get all of my homework done on time so I can participate in all of the things I’m involved in,” Buehring said. “I love being involved, because that provides me the opportunity to participate in a lot of different things.

“I know I might not have that opportunity at a larger school. But being involved helps make me well-rounded and make a lot of friends with a lot of different people. I like being busy – I find happiness in it.”

Getting accepted to Harvard

The thought of attending the prestigious private school based in the Boston suburb of Cambridge popped into her mind in the spring of her junior year.

“That’s when I started getting information from Ivy League schools like Harvard,” she said. “I started to think I might be able to go there. So it became something I wanted to try for, because Harvard offers an amazing education and lot of opportunities.”

Her family took a vacation out East, and Buehring fell in love with the school during a campus visit. That prompted her to run the gauntlet that is Harvard’s application process. That process includes multiple mini essays as part of the application, and an interview with an alumnus.

“The essay I wrote about was telling about myself and why I wanted to go to Harvard, and how I would use my education,” she said. “Honestly, I thought that essay flowed pretty easily. …

“For the interview, I was pretty nervous. I knew it was a big deal. But the person I interviewed with was nice, and it was easy to talk to him.”

What came next was a waiting period that lasted several months before she learned of the school’s decision.

“That was a lot of stress, because I wasn’t sure what would happen,” Buehring admitted. “I had a lot of colleges I had applied to, but Harvard was my first choice. I was a little stressed, but I just hoped for the best.”

On March 31, she learned of her fate: She was accepted to her top college choice.

“When I opened it, I didn’t believe it,” Buehring said. “It took me awhile to realize I had been accepted. Even then, I don’t think it registered. I was overcome by emotions.

“Sometimes I still can’t believe that I got in.”

But she did, and she still is filling out the housing forms and other necessary documents to prove it. Buehring also took part in “Visitas,” Harvard’s weekend event for the incoming class, that started on her birthday, April 24.

“That was an amazing experience,” she said.

The next step

Buehring plans to major in human developmental and regenerative biology, with a focus on mathematics.

“I’ve always been interested in math and biology, especially math, ever since I was little,” she said. “My grandpa [Jim Schoolmeesters] is an electrical engineer who got me into math, and ever since I was little, he helped me fall in love with math.”

Her goal after graduation is to focus on medical research, which she hopes will ensure math remains a part of the equation.

“I want to keep math in the mixture,” she said. “I most likely will take on a pre-med track, but I’m not sure about that. I hope to use math as part of my research.”

Buehring was quick to point out that a number of different individuals helped her to reach this point.

“Obviously my parents [Chad and Lynn Buehring] shaped me into who I am today,” she said. “They pushed me with my studies, and they helped me in so many ways.

“And I want to thank all of my teachers, especially my math teachers, and all of the coaches and mentors that I’ve had over the years.”

As graduation approaches, Buehring views that event with mixed emotions.

“I have a mixture of excitement, to move on get to experience going to Harvard, and also sadness, because I’m leaving a big part of me behind,” she said. “A lot of the reason I am who I am is because of Rush City, so I’m leaving part of me behind.”

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