Chemistry test all that separated CHS valedictorian, salutatorian

       Two friends, Emma Ziegler and Katie MacMillan, had a spirited competition for the highest grade-point average in Coronado High's Class of '09, and the difference came down to a test in their chemistry class. MacMillan's score put her class grade at just under 90, and Ziegler's just above. With that one B, MacMillan's overall GPA of 4.76 wound up just below Ziegler's 4.775.
       “There was a little rivalry between us, but we're good friends,” said MacMillan, who has the honor of class salutatorian.
       “She was so mad,” recalled Ziegler. “But she said she's getting her revenge by going to Harvard [where MacMillan has a scholarship].”
       The valedictorian's first name is listed in school records as “Emily,” but prefers to go by Emma. If she had scripted a run for best GPA, it probably would have looked different. For one thing, having just turned 17, she is at least a year younger than most of her classmates. What happened was, she transferred to West Middle School from the Renaissance Academy after sixth grade and found she could skip seventh grade at West. Also, Ziegler hasn't always gone for honors or advanced placement classes (which add another point to the grade). “I never want to be someone who overworks herself to get an A,” she summed up (although she confessed that she does “stress out a little” regarding grades).
       A sport Ziegler likes (not offered in school) is skeet shooting. She was part of a four-person team that took the Colorado Youth Outdoors state championship.
       Partly because of her age, Ziegler will stay in state with her college (CU-Boulder), at least for now. “I can always transfer later,” she said.
       She lists her career aspirations as “politician/lawyer (ultimately a judge, maybe).” An influence was the Mock Trial extracurricular activity at Coronado, in which students learn about the legal world.
       MacMillan was also a participant in that, as well as an elected member of the student cabinet. Her main goal is in the field of engineering; however, she is similar to her friend in that “I like politics a lot. I'd like to change the world.”
       Other school activities for the two have included Knowledge Bowl (Ziegler) and school sports - volleyball and tennis (MacMillan).
       Both scholars have also found time for volunteer work. Through the National Honor Society, Ziegler started a fundraising campaign for fibromyalgia (a chronic pain disease that has plagued her mother for 10 years), and MacMillan, who previously attended Chipeta Elementary and Holmes Middle School, has mentored middle schoolers through her church youth group.
       In interviews, the valedictorian and salutatorian also answered these three questions:
       Who do you credit for helping you attain your high level of achievement?
       What was your most valuable high school experience?
       What's the secret(s) for getting good grades?


Emma Ziegler
       Credit: My family and friends. Just having the support and help of my friends got me through a lot of stressful projects and whatever else. My parents, Matt and Liz Ziegler, have been very supportive and have given me a lot of room to grow.
       Experience: Mock Trial, because it was something I started freshman year, and it introduced me to some of my passions and some of my closest friends, and it encouraged me to get more involved in and outside of school.
       Grades: To me, it was just luck. School was just one of those things I was good at.

Katie MacMillan
       Credit: My parents, Mark and Megan MacMillan. They've really always been there for me. They pushed me to go places, achievement-wise, to not be average.
       Experience: I went to Yale last summer and it was eye-opening that there are people who want to make the world a better place.
       Grades: Work hard. But take the classes you want to take, as much as you can [to keep it fun and interesting].

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