St. John Paul II once said “It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.”
Michal Miller ’19 has been clear about her desire to do something great with her life for as long as she can remember. Since her junior high days, Michal has had a goal of attending an Ivy League university. As a Blessed Sacrament graduate, Michal had grown accustomed to the demanding curriculum of a Catholic school. However, living in a smaller town with a good public high school, Michal’s parents encouraged her to take advantage of what that school offered. “I visited the school and did my research, just like I did at Althoff Catholic. In comparing schools, I found that Althoff Catholic stood above in math and science, both of which are very important to me.”
Michal plans to use her science-driven mind to make an impact on those around her. Entering her junior year in the fall, Michal remains focused on doing her best and reminding herself not to become discouraged or distracted. “My goal is to earn a doctorate in forensic chemistry so that I can assist in processing crime scene evidence to find criminals and work for the good of all.”
With her eventual plan of applying to Ivy League schools being a year or so away, Michal decided to get a head start by exploring summer camp options at Ivy League schools. “I researched my options and found camps at both Yale and Harvard,” said Michal. “While I believed in my heart that I had what it took to be selected for these camps, I realized my chances of getting in were slim due to the vast number of applicants from across the globe and the limited number of spots available.” In early April, Michal received a letter from Yale informing her that she had not only been accepted to Young Global Scholars Camp, but she had been selected to receive a scholarship. On average, Yale accepts less than 30% of applicants from all across the globe for this prestigious camp.
After requesting additional information and making her travel arrangements, Michal received another letter – an acceptance from Harvard University’s Pre-College Camp. She now had a decision to make: Yale or Harvard. After talking with her former grade school science teacher, Mrs. Connie Yordy, whose children attended Ivy League schools, and weighing the pros and cons, Michal chose Yale.
The Yale Young Global Scholars Camp is an intensive educational experience that includes lectures from top Yale faculty members, elective seminars, a research project and presentation. This camp also gives talented high school leaders from all over the world a chance to challenge themselves and meet other extraordinary students while getting a taste of life at Yale University.
Michal plans to use this camp experience as one more step toward her goal of attending an Ivy League school. “Consideration for admission at an Ivy League school is based on five general characteristics, one of which is music. I appreciate that Mr. Hayden, Althoff’s music teacher, has never once made me feel like a failure even though I know I struggle musically. Often times, I look forward to having band and interacting with Mr. Hayden and the other band members,” said Michal. “While I know I have a long way to go, Mr. Hayden has significantly aided my music ability and encouraged me to reach my potential.”
One of the things Michal likes best about Althoff Catholic is the small, family-like environment which gives her a lot of one-on-one time with teachers. “From the first day of my freshman year, Miss Gundlach provided positive encouragement for me to feel confident in pursuing my dreams and welcomed questions with open arms. Even though Miss Gundlach was not my teacher at the time, she always made me feel comfortable coming to her for any help that I needed.”
At Althoff Catholic, Michal plays tennis and is involved in several clubs including math team and scholar bowl, which allows her to interact with others while exploring and discussing her passion for math, books, science, film and trivia. Michal is also involved in Teen Court, YMCA Youth and Government and St. Clair County Youth Board.
It is safe to say that we can all expect great things from Michal and that she will indeed use her science-driven mind to make a an impact on those around her. Michal is a shining example of Althoff Catholic’s values statement: Rooted in Jesus Christ and Catholic values we aspire to achieve our personal best in all we do.