Nominated as a GEAR UP [Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs] achiever this month, Troy High School Valedictorian Sarah Piece says when she heard that part of being nominated meant she was headed to Helena to make a speech outlining how GEAR UP had impacted her schooling, she wrote the essay immediately and admitted that after finishing, she had to shorten it down.
This small example of enthusiasm and over achieving seems to characterize Pierce, who was homeschooled for several years and first came to the attention of Troy schools in 2012, when she “crushed” the district approved placement test issued by guidance counselor Kelly Palmer.
Palmer writes in a letter recommending her for the nomination “I told a colleague, only half joking, that I had just met our valedictorian for 2017.”
Currently Pierce is weighing up between college at Stanford University and Montana State, but in terms of what to study she’s torn between many different disciplines, from political science to microbiology to medical school.
“I have a ton of different interests,” she laughed.
Whatever she ends up choosing, Sarah’s path will be paved in possibilities, with universities eager to give full scholarships to someone with such consistent academic excellence.
Pierce guesses she has completed 28 college credits through the GEAR UP program — almost an entire semester. However, she said, “I’m really bad about study. I stress about tests. I need to learn how to study because I take notes and never review them.”
Her principal, Dr. Jacob Francom, has a different take on her skills.
“With Sarah, it’s talent but it’s also just hard work,” Francom said. “She’s organized and willing to put the work in. "
Source: The Western News