Congratulations, Valedictorian Anna Burkholder!

Congratulations, Valedictorian Anna Burkholder!

Grace Doerfler '18, Assistant Editor

Congratulations to this year’s valedictorian, Anna Burkholder! Anna has encountered great success in her four years at Oakland Catholic, and will no doubt continue to impress during the next stage of her education at Johns Hopkins University. Anna was kind enough to reflect on her experiences at Oakland in an interview with the Eagle Eye.

What clubs, activities, and sports did you participate in at OC?

At OC, I was involved in the French Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Girls Who Code, Student Ambassadors, NHS, and the Joan of Arc Society of Scholars. I also participated in OC Soccer, and my senior year, I was elected a varsity captain.

What activities outside of OC did you participate in? Do you have any other special interests or hobbies?

Outside of school, I enjoyed volunteering at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, playing club soccer, and birdwatching — I love to birdwatch with my father because it’s such a great way to relax and spend time together. I’m actually a member of the Three Rivers Birding Club, which sends me monthly “newspapers” of sorts about goings-on in the Audubon community and special feature articles on different types of birds.

What are some of your favorite memories of classes or activities at OC?

Although it was without a doubt my most difficult class, requiring the most concentration and outside work from me, APUSH was also one of my favorite classes. It was a great environment — I learned so much every day, and while the material occasionally seemed overwhelming, I was surrounded by such great classmates and an awesome teacher.  OC Soccer definitely provided me with four years of hilarious memories — as most girls on OC sports teams know, the girls on any given team do grow very close and fortify their friendships in the cherished memories made in practices, games, bus rides, etc.

What is your best advice to underclasswomen?

My biggest advice would definitely be to give everything a try. In my case, I had some trouble figuring out what I wanted to study and pursue after OC, simply because everything seemed so interesting! So at OC, I really did try to pursue all of my interests — from tackling APUSH to taking two years of physics with Mr. Graner, trying my hand at computer programming, etc. I would also say that appreciating the faculty of OC will make your experience so much better. Mrs. Rinkacs and I really developed a great relationship, and I learned so much from her throughout my four years — even though the last time she was actually my teacher was sophomore year. If you take advantage of the wisdom that each faculty member can offer, it will not only progress your relationship with them but also educate you beyond the classroom and make your high school experience so much more special. Never stop learning, because there will always be something you don’t know!

Where are you going to college, and what do you plan to study?

I will be attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall and hope to study Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering as well as French — two very different ends of the spectrum, I know, but like I said, don’t be afraid to pursue all of your interests!

What are you most excited about, looking ahead?

I’m excited to move onto the next stage of life and meet so many different types of people. Encountering people who are genuinely passionate about different subject matter is so inspiring, and I hope to have friendships that challenge me in such a way that I’m learning something new with every aspect of my life.

I am also loving the freedom I have to read whatever I want this summer — summer reading was great, but now I can finally read every book I have planned for the summer, without having to sacrifice a few for required summer reading books. (sorry, English department! I did enjoy those books, don’t get me wrong!)

What will you miss most about Oakland?

I think I will miss the environment of the school — supportive, positive, and challenging. It’s something I took for granted until my latter two years at OC, but looking back now, I realize that I encountered such reassuring encouragement to take courses like AP Calc and AP Computer Science, without sacrificing a love for the humanities. I will also miss the faculty — Mrs. Rinkacs, Mrs. Fratto, Mr. Graner, and so many more teachers challenged me in and out of the classroom, and because of them I think I became so much more learned and invested in my academics.

Do you have any additional message for the OC community?

Really, I just want to express my gratitude. Attending Oakland Catholic was one of the best decisions I’ve made up to this point in my life, and I am endlessly grateful for the opportunities and encouragement I encountered — never was I discouraged from trying something new or outside of my comfort zone. So I would like to thank everyone at OC — every faculty member, administrative worker, and student. You all make this place so special, and I am so thankful for the friendships, opportunities, and successes it has brought me and will continue to bring me in the future.

Congratulations on your accomplishments, Anna, and best of luck in your future endeavors!