For her 9th birthday, Sam Pryor asked for cat and dog food instead of presents so she could donate it to an animal shelter.
She was 16 when she hit a grand slam to win a softball game for North Central High School.
This fall, her achievement will reach a new level. The 18-year-old will be the first in her family to go to college – Pacific Lutheran University.
“I always knew I wanted to go to college,” Pryor said. Her mom, Patti, added, “She did it all on her own.”
The NC senior was among 20 distinguished scholars recognized Tuesday. Grades played only a part in their selection. “It’s not so much about the g.p.a.,” said Steve Gering, NC’s principal. “It’s about the rigor of your transcript.”
These are the kids who have had “high achievement with high difficulty,” said Vice Principal Steve Fisk.
Pryor chose to take Advanced Placement chemistry even though she knew it could jeopardize her grade-point average. She got her one and only B in that class, but she learned a lot, she said.
To be considered a distinguished scholar, a student must maintain a cumulative g.p.a. above 3.0, take at least four AP classes, pass two years of a world language (Japanese, French or Spanish), and take English, math, science and social studies for most of his or her high school career.
Pryor is among several students who will be the first in their families to go to college.
“I had a good librarian,” said Andrea Heeter, who will attend Whitworth University. Her love of reading began in elementary school.
“I always knew she was going to go to college,” said her mom, Janet Boone. “She was always into school and her books.”
Konstatine Tachan, a first-generation American, received a full scholarship to Whitworth.
“I believe hard work pays off. Sometimes I might have been anti-social, but it was worth it,” he said. “I know I did myself a favor, but also my parents.”