From saving the environment to studying politics and sports practice to play rehearsal—not to mention keeping up academically—this group of southwest metro teens has what it takes to succeed both in the classroom and in the future.
School: Eden Prairie High School
Favorite Food: Cake
Best Southwest Metro-area hangout: Starring Lake Park
Drives: An electric blue Volkswagen beetle complete with spoiler
Kathryn Ravey certainly has a lot to be proud of. She’s been composing her own music and tickling the ivories since age 3, acting since age 5 and involved with the Eden Prairie Players since age 7, and has volunteered at the Como Zoo for the past 5 years. As an experienced traveler (she’s checked Africa, China and much of Europe off of her list, among other destinations), Ravey is also passionate about pursuing international relations and peace and conflict studies in college next year, which will allow her to continue her humanitarian work.
You recently had the opportunity to travel to the Arctic Circle for a week to study polar bears and the challenges they face due to the changing climate. What was that like? It was truly the experience of a lifetime. After that trip, I became an Arctic Ambassador through Polar Bears International, tasked with the responsibility of spreading awareness about conservation and acting to decrease the increasing carbon in our atmosphere. I have given dozens of presentations to classes, at my school, at Como Zoo and other places about my trip and how people can help the bears.
What’s one thing no one knows about you? Most people don’t know that I have been in several independent films. I have played many roles on camera and I love to act in movies as well as on stage. I have also done some voice-over work for educational software.
How do you balance it all? My key to balancing my hectic schedule is to take things one step at a time and not think too far ahead. It can be very stressful, but to see the benefits and experiences of everything I do is very much worth it.
School: International School of Minnesota
Favorite colors: Green, orange and yellow
Listening to: Led Zeppelin and the Beatles
No matter the weather, you’re likely to find Joe Docter enjoying the great outdoors in one of Eden Prairie’s many parks. A senior this year at ISM, Docter is involved with the school’s track and soccer teams and he also skis for a club team outside of school, as ISM does not have an alpine team. “I’ve never owned a video game system or spent a ton of time watching TV,” he says, adding that he’s also taken up airsoft and paintball. “I’ll usually go on a bike ride or skiing when not much else is happening.”
Docter credits his enthusiastic coaches as his role models, and plans to work hard this year to complete athletic goals, like jumping 21 feet in the long jump, as well as academic ones, like earning at least a B+ or higher in each of his classes.
What are your favorite classes in school? AP Physics and Calculus BC are probably my favorite subjects. I’ve always liked math and applying it to things in the real world, which sparked my interest in physics.
Favorite sports to play or watch? My favorite types of sports usually are some type of racing: ski racing, car racing, bike racing, running. I like simple, straight up competition that gives clear-cut results.
How do you get around town? In the summer, most of my transportation is by bicycle. It’s an efficient way of getting around that keeps me active. When it rains, I drive my mom’s old BMW around.
School: Holy Family Catholic High School
Favorite book: The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Loves vacationing in: Hawaii
As a member of the barefoot running club, soccer team (for Holy Family in the fall and Chanhassen Chaska United in the summer) and robotics team, and captain of both the knowledge bowl and math league at Holy Family Catholic High School, Brian Kubisiak likes to keep busy. His other interests include problem-solving, puzzles, and reading the works of Edgar Allan Poe, and Kubisiak became passionate about robotics and technology while building robots with his father using LEGO Mindstorms. Kubisiak says he’s excited to apply to colleges this year, like Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University, where he plans to study electrical or computer engineering.
What were your dreams when you were little? Even by the time I was five, I knew I would be an engineer. I always admired my dad and wanted to be just like him when I grew up. I wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps by becoming an electrical engineer.
Greatest high school memory? So far, my greatest memory from high school is when our knowledge bowl team went to the state competition. I was excited to be on a varsity team as a sophomore, especially when my team took first place in the regional tournament to advance to state. We ended up taking fourth in state, and it was a really fun experience.
What is the secret to your success? Hard work. It takes great focus and determination in order to succeed academically. It is also important to not fret the little setbacks in life, but to instead appreciate your achievements.
School: Chanhassen High School
Most satisfying snack: Pita chips and hummus
Listening to: Mumford & Sons
Favorite Book: The Stranger, by Albert Camus
Allie Vreeman is wise beyond her years; she’s a U.S. House page in Washington, D.C., began Backpack Tutoring (a program for academically at-risk students in Minneapolis elementary schools) at Chanhassen High School after reading about Minnetonka High School’s program in the newspaper, and is a member of the Chanhassen speech team and National Honor Society. Vreeman also loves Dove chocolate, wrote a 330-page novel last year and reads Car & Driver religiously. Although her idea of a “dream career” changes almost daily, she knows it’ll involve international relations someday.
Favorite high school memories? My greatest memories from high school are being made right now as a House Page. Most high school students can’t say they’ve attended school in the Library of Congress, worked in the House of Representatives chamber, or lived two blocks away from the nation’s Capitol. Each week in Washington, D.C., holds a new and fascinating memory. A highlight was witnessing the State of the Union address and shaking President Obama’s hand.
How do you balance all of your activities? There’s no cure-all solution to balance. It’s ultimately a guess-and-check process until you find out what works and what doesn’t. Social time, exploration and chocolate are often the best remedy to stress. I’ve also learned to stop fearing college. In a teenage culture dominated by the looming threat of college admissions, it’s easy to get ensnared in creating the “perfect candidate” of yourself, doing activities simply for a loaded resume. When I got to that point, I evaluated what I legitimately cared about and went from there. My life is certainly hectic, but it’s filled with things I love doing.
What are two things you couldn’t live without? Coffee and music. They’re better together, but separate, they’ll do as well.
School: Chaska High School
Favorite color: Orange
Watching and listening to: Glee
Best Southwest Metro-area hangout: Eden Prairie Mall
Maintaining a 4.0 GPA for five consecutive years is no easy task, especially while starting on the JV basketball team and occasionally playing varsity as a sophomore. Add healthy doses of scrapbooking, midnight premieres of the Harry Potter movies with friends, in-house softball and student council projects, and you have Lauren Sundby’s busy but fun-filled high school career. The Chaska High School junior says the key to her success is staying organized and keeping her priorities in mind.
Best memory from your JV basketball season last year? We had a great season ending with a record of 20-4 and winning 2nd place in the holiday tournament. It was amazing to be on this team. Every day I went to play, game or practice, it was the most fun part of my day. Our team this year was so tightly knit that no matter what happened we were always making each other laugh. Of course it was nice to win, but everyone on this team was friends with each other on the court and off.
Favorite class in school? My favorite subject is, and always has been, science. I really enjoy learning about something and then being able to see it in a lab, dissection or field trip, I’ve always enjoyed the hands-on aspect of learning in a science class.
What do you enjoy about student council? My favorite part of being on the council is being able to walk through the halls, see posters advertising events and think to myself, ‘I contributed to that.’ I like knowing that I’m an active member of our high school.