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Greeley County-Carissa Ochsner

Published 5/29/2012 in Youth In Excellence

nstead of all of her academic accolades, Greeley senior Carissa Ochsner takes the most pride in staying true to herself.

Instead of wanting her classmates to remember her as excelling in school, she said she wants them to remember her, "as the kid who stayed true to herself, was creative and had a good sense of humor," she wrote in a questionnaire provided to The Telegram.

This image of herself mirrored her advice to incoming freshmen.

"Stay true to yourself and do not get caught up in all the drama," she said.

Despite not being caught up in other people's drama, Ochsner said her fondest memories of high school were participating in school plays and forensics.

Ochsner, who was the salutatorian for her graduating class, maintained a 3.9 grade-point average. She was a member of the 2011-12 Western Kansas Liberty League All Academic First Team, National Honor Society, the United States Achievement Academy, was an All America Scholar and in the Who's Who Among All American Scholars. She was also a 2011 Wichita State University Presidential Scholar and was involved in WKLL scholarship testing.

It was difficult for her to choose her favorite classes.

"I really liked my science classes and Spanish," she said. "I did not really have any least favorite classes."

Ochsner was involved in cross country, basketball, cheerleading, golf, track and bowling.

She took part in the Science Olympiad, the Scholar's Bowl and Students Against Destructive Decisions programs.

Her hobbies include drawing, long boarding and rollerblading.

"I enjoy drawing because I can crate stories with pictures. On top of that, I would really like to create my own graphic novel or web comic some day," she said.

She likes long boarding and rollerblading because they give her a chance to do something active with her friends, and both activities help her clear her mind.

Her plan is to attend Wichita State University, where she will major in international studies and a minor in Russian studies.

"For as long as I can remember, I've always been interested in the different countries and languages and would like to expand my knowledge," she said.

In her speech to her graduating class, she said, in part, "You don't need to be at the top of your class to achieve your goals, follow your dreams or even do something fantastic in this world. What happens next is all up to you. Stay confident in yourselves, stay persistent and never give up on your dreams. This life is what you make of it."

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