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Minnetonka High School (Sun file photo by Jason Jenkins)

Minnetonka High School’s Class of 2021 is ready for a celebration.

More than 800 graduating seniors will mark the end of their high school tenure at a commencement ceremony 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 9, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. For information on the event and to watch a live stream of the ceremony, visit minnetonkaschools.org/graduation.

To learn what’s been on the minds of the soon-to-be graduates, the Sun Sailor reached out to several seniors to ask about their experience at Minnetonka High School and what their plans are for the future.

 

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Ally Chan

Ally Chan

What was your most memorable learning experience in high school?

My most memorable learning experience was working with Best Buy in a company consulting student team for VANTAGE, a professional studies program at Minnetonka High School. I worked with Best Buy in the first semester of my senior year and gained so much experience learning how to utilize data analytical tools to sort through millions of rows of financial data in Excel and Tableau. It was the most difficult group project I have ever been assigned because there is quite a steep learning curve associated with data analysis, and it was also quite intimidating to pitch our recommendations to high-level employees at a Fortune 500 company. However, I definitely get the most enjoyment out of learning difficult things, so I had lots of fun completing this consulting project.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your freshman-year self?

I’ve always pushed myself to take on rigorous courses and clubs throughout all my years in high school. While it may not have been the smartest choice in hindsight, it made me become a very ambitious and studious person. I was able to achieve my academic goals primarily by getting involved in many different activities, such as DECA, NHS and the Writing Center. Participating in these clubs allowed me to figure out what I was really interested in, which then helped me determine what programs and classes I wanted to take. For example, I’ve been very involved in VANTAGE Global Business and Business Analytics, Minnetonka Research, Chinese immersion and other programs, all of which helped immensely to foster my personal and academic growth.

What are your plans for after high school?

I plan to attend Georgetown University to study international business, economics and cognitive science.

 

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Kayley Crawford

Kayley Crawford

What was your most memorable learning experience in high school?

My most memorable learning experiences in high school have been through the VANTAGE program, which has allowed me to work with businesses in real-world situations. I was part of the global business and business analytics programs as an upperclassman. One of the most memorable projects was working with Best Buy and giving them recommendations on their back-to-school program. 

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your freshman-year self?

I would tell my freshman-year self to not be scared to put myself out there and join clubs and activities, because the people I’ve met in high school are the reason my experience has been so great. 

What are your plans for after high school?

I plan on attending Harvard University, playing hockey and possibly studying sociology.

 

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Anna Geldert

Anna Geldert

What was your most memorable learning experience in high school?

My most memorable learning experience was probably my research class senior year. When signing up for the class, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I didn’t have a project idea in mind, and I didn’t know what the class would be like. Nonetheless, it turned out to be an incredible experience all around and I learned so much about environmental science and the research process. It was also a very self-directed class, which boosted my confidence when my project went well. Looking back, it’s crazy to see how much progress I’ve made on my project and on my knowledge of research in general.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your freshman-year self?

I would tell my freshman-year self to not take life too seriously. As a younger student, I put too much pressure on myself to meet my self-imposed high standards. If there is anything that the pandemic has taught me, it is that things are constantly in limbo and the best we can do is to make the most of where we are at right now. Over the past year, it seemed like everything I had planned for my last year of high school was thrown out the window, but I was able to find joy in exploring new ways to entertain myself and stay connected with friends safely. Life happens, plans change, and it doesn’t do any good to stress over a failure. While I still hold high expectations for myself, I’ve learned to trust my abilities and to trust the process, knowing that I have the tools to be successful – and more importantly, happy – in the long run. 

What are your plans for after high school?

I will attend Middlebury College. I’m hoping to double major in Spanish and environmental studies.

 

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Jayanth Kurup

Jayanth Kurup

What was your most memorable learning experience in high school?

My most memorable learning experience would probably be my time on the swim team, which isn’t particularly academic, but I learned how to be part of a team and how to improve my swimming for a purpose that was greater than myself. The first time I did that was with the high school team, and that was a big learning experience.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your freshman-year self?

I’d definitely tell myself to pay more attention to the details in school and definitely try harder on the small stuff so that the big stuff becomes easier. ... And to not procrastinate on those big projects. I’d also tell myself to work harder on formative assignments so that the tests are easier to understand. ... I think that’s probably the biggest advice that I’d give to myself as a freshman.

What are your plans for after high school?

My plans after high school are to attend Purdue University for aerospace engineering, and I’m going on an ROTC scholarship to become a Marine Corps officer. I’ve always wanted to join the military, but since I got to high school I knew that I wanted to be a marine because they’ve got, in my opinion, the best culture surrounding themselves and they have an amazing aviation program.

 

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Emil Liden

Emil Liden

What was your most memorable learning experience in high school?

My most memorable learning experience in high school was participating in the Minnetonka Research program this past year. My project was focused on comparing the educational success of two types of students in an online learning environment: high autonomy-need students (those who seek more independence) and high affiliation-need students (those who seek out close relationships with others). Not only did I expand my knowledge in psychology and the social sciences, but participating in Research also taught me a lot about time and project management. I have learned how to schedule out my time, both long and short term, in order to meet any goals I set for myself. Research has also progressed my interest in cognitive sciences and encouraged me to continue to study this field.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your freshman-year self?

The advice I would give my freshman-year self is to always keep in mind what your long-term goals are whenever completing smaller tasks. One of my teachers put it best when he said that a lot of people get lost in the trees when they should be focused on the forest. I would tell my freshman-year self to set long-term goals for myself and do everything possible to make sure I attain them. 

What are your plans for after high school?

After high school, I will attend Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. I am planning on studying computer science, cognitive science and economics. I will continue my passion for photography as a photographer for The Dartmouth, which is the school newspaper.

  

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