Top Woodstock Academy graduates are of one mind on opportunities

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Woodstock - posted Mon., Jun. 27, 2011
Woodstock Academy valedictorian Erin Kelly and salutatorian Siri Rosendahl in front of the Academy Building. Photos by Denise Coffey.
Woodstock Academy valedictorian Erin Kelly and salutatorian Siri Rosendahl in front of the Academy Building. Photos by Denise Coffey.

Last semester, Erin Kelly and Siri Rosendahl were tied for first place in the academic standings at Woodstock Academy. For the June 26 graduation ceremony, the valedictorian honor was conferred on Kelly, and the salutatorian honor was given to Rosendahl. Kelly conceded that hundredths of a decimal point might have separated them.

Kelly plans to attend Yale University, where she will major in economics and languages. She will be the first in her family to attend an Ivy League college.

“I've always wanted to do something with business,” said Kelly. “I think that will give me a good range of possibilities.”

She credits her parents, Dennis and Kathie, with offering support and encouragement to her along the way. “They've worked hard to help me,” Kelly said. “They’ve encouraged me to do new things, like play on the golf team.” Kelly was Woodstock's number-one golfer this past season, the first in which the Centaurs won a championship trophy. Kelly's play was instrumental to the team's winning season, even though she almost didn't go out for it.

Kelly said she is excited to be going to Yale and moving to New Haven. Yale offers its students a chance to “shop” for courses. Students can go to a variety of classes and decide which ones they want to sign up for. There are many she would like to try. Yale offers courses in more than 40 languages. If she wants to study a language not offered in the course catalog, the school will arrange a tutor for her. She hopes to study abroad for a semester or a summer.

Kelly’s advice to new students coming in to Woodstock Academy is to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves. “You never know what might happen when you try something new,” she said.

Rosendahl would agree. She is heading to Mt. Holyoke College in Amherst, Mass., to self-design a study program in international relations and sociology, with a minor in non-profit organizations. She conceded there is a lot that isn't sure about, but she intends to embrace the opportunities along the way.

A penchant for non-profits runs in the family. Rosendahl's sister traveled with ACESS (Africa Center for Engineering Social Solutions) to Kenya. Students worked on simple solutions to provide clean water to a community.

Rosendahl wants to stay closer to home. She isn't as much of a world traveler, she said, so a non-profit in the U.S. might be more up her alley.

Her advice to students coming in to Woodstock Academy is the same as Kelly's: embrace all opportunities. “There are so many different clubs you can join,” she said. “There are so many interesting classes. If something interests you, or you think you might like it, try it out.”


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