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Delivering Sahuaro's Cutting Edge News & Saving Trees

The Paper Cut

Delivering Sahuaro's Cutting Edge News & Saving Trees

The Paper Cut


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Senior Spotlight: Michelle Calderon – National Merit Scholarship Recipient


Michelle Calderon, senior, has been striving to be the best she can be ever since elementary school. Michelle expressed, “Ever since I was little and in elementary school, I just found it fun to be the best that I could. By middle school, my parents got used to it and they started to expect the good grades. So then it became more of an assignment for me to do, but I still don’t think it’s terribly hard.”

Michelle maintained top-student status in her class from freshman through junior year, but the rivalry for first place is heating up. The competition for the top spot of the class is fierce because being valedictorian is a highly coveted honor for whoever is bound to get it. At this point in the year, Michelle is a top contender for valedictorian, a position Michelle wasn’t even aware that she had a fair shot at being until recently. She said, “I didn’t find out until junior year when they called me up to hold the flag for graduation that valedictorian was even a thing. I thought, ‘That’s kind of cool.’ Later on, I started to think about it, but I wish I would’ve realized that I could’ve had that sooner because I would’ve tried for it sooner.” 

“I have definitely worked hard to get to where I am but at the same time, some things definitely come easy,” Michelle explained. Michelle’s easiest year of high school was freshman year. Although she was online that year, she liked that she only had three classes a day to worry about because it gave her enough time to not just do her homework but also to rest. It wasn’t her favorite way of learning, but it was the easiest. She further explained, saying, “Freshman year was actually the most productive I have been in high school because I had the time. I never procrastinated because I had the time.”

Although some things have come easy for Michelle, she has also had her fair share of struggles. She describes herself as a procrastinator and said there have definitely been instances where the work will catch up with her. She explained how she really struggled during her sophomore year because that was when she started to procrastinate her work. She commented, “Sophomore year was definitely the hardest year where I did have a lot of pressure because I was like ‘Oh my gosh if I don’t get these A’s then my mom is going to be so disappointed in me and I’m going to get in trouble.’ But then I just realized that I can do it and not feel bad about it.” On the flip side, procrastinating never gets in Michelle’s way of completing the work. She remarked, “The lead-up to an assignment is the worst because I’m like ‘I don’t wanna do it.’ But as soon as I start it, I kind of lock-in and get it done.”

Despite what everyone would say about junior year being the hardest academically, Michelle really enjoyed it, saying, “Even though I had really hard and content-filled classes, it wasn’t bad.” Outside of school, Michelle is in Sahuaro’s book club and she has a job, so to manage her workload, Michelle likes to keep a set schedule and she doesn’t like to change it. “I know which days I work during the week and try to get everything done either before or after that day depending on when my assignments are due,” she explained.

Michelle thinks that her senior year is, “…going good. I’m really excited, really nervous. I hope it goes well. I’m nervous about all the decisions I have to make and maintaining good grades. I’m excited to graduate. It’s sad but I get to move on and I think that part is exciting.” Michelle has been accepted into NAU but she is going to be attending the U of A with a full-ride scholarship. She is undecided career-wise but is considering something with finance or something in the medical field.

Recently, Michelle was honored with the National Merit Scholarship which honors the top scorers of the PSAT, a test Michelle did not study for at all. She said, “I’m not a good test taker. I don’t like tests, especially standardized tests. So I did not study and I didn’t really take it seriously, but I guess I obviously did okay.” The scholarship gave Michelle an additional $18,000 a year on top of what she was already getting from her academic scholarship. She recalled how proud her parents were of her when they heard she had been awarded the scholarship, and she herself was, “…so excited when I found out. I was like ‘More money for me.'”

For the rest of her senior year, Michelle is focused on maintaining her grades. She is taking four AP classes this year – AP Calculus, AP Psychology, AP English Lit, and AP Government. “It can be a lot and sometimes it does catch up to me, but I try to not stress out too much because, I’m like, ‘It’s my last year. I’ve already worked so hard and I don’t wanna do that to myself anymore.”

When it comes to college, Michelle is nervous about it because of the varied thoughts and opinions on it as a whole. She sees the people that love it and she sees the people that are barely surviving it, but she has high hopes that it will go well.

Whatever the future holds for Michelle, it is certainly bright. Congratulations Michelle on all of your astounding accomplishments!

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About the Contributor
Se'Kara Reed
Se'Kara Reed, Editor
Se'Kara Reed is a senior at Sahuaro High School and a very passionate Taylor Swift enthusiast. Se'Kara loves hanging out with her friends and spending quality time with her family whenever she can. She also thoroughly enjoys reading, writing, listening to music, and traveling. She loves all things pink and she has seen all of the Twilight movies more times than she can count. Se'Kara was born in Columbus, Ohio but moved to Tucson with her family when she was 12 years old. As a senior, Se'Kara is very excited to make the most of her last year of high school with her friends and enjoy everything the year has to offer. After graduation, Se'Kara plans to study at the University of Arizona. As for what she will study, she takes an interest in physical therapy and she'd like to minor in psychology.

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