Salutatorian heads to journalism school
With an eye on travel as a potential part of her career, Gabbie Potter knew that a worldly education through the International Baccalaureate program at Pueblo West High School would be a benefit.
She saw her way through to the end as an IB diploma candidate, and in the process secured herself the spot of Class of 2014 salutatorian.
“This just proves to me that I could do it,” she said. “There were times in the IB program I didn’t think I’d be able to finish. So I know if I set my mind to something, I can do it and that’s most rewarding.”
Potter entered high school with her eyes set on a high class ranking, knowing from the very beginning that doing well in high school could help her obtain scholarships to college and help ease the financial burden on herself and family of getting a degree.
She said she figured she would take as many rigorous classes as she could, and in this case it meant becoming a full IB diploma candidate. That included all the extras the program encompasses, including a community service project, extended essay and rigorous classes.
Potter found that Spanish classes came easy to her, so during her time at Pueblo West High School she began to think about wrapping the second language into her career somehow.
“Ever since I was a little, I wanted to be an author. When I got to high school I realized that might not be the most realistic option, so journalism was a more realistic plan B,” she said. “And I’ve always wanted to travel, so maybe there will be some kind of travel guide type work. It’s always great to have a second language because you have a better understanding of something when you can talk to someone in their native language.”
Potter said she was also influenced during business class at PWHS because she knows that mainstream journalism is changing and evolving, and she realized with a degree in the journalism field she could always pursue marketing or public relations, too.
“I liked IB because of the international aspect,” Potter said. “I knew an international-based education might help with traveling later. And I think it makes us more well rounded to colleges. Sometimes if you only take a certain course load that’s heavy in one subject, it doesn’t present you as a full, rounded individual, and I wanted to better myself.”
One of the most interesting and view-altering classes Potter took was the Theory of Knowledge, which is a philosophy class that is required for all IB diploma candidates. Not available to other students, this IB-only class is so popular among students that it sometimes is enough to sway a student to become a full-blown IB diploma candidate.
“I wasn’t really interested in taking it, and went in with a kind of closed mindset at first, and then I realized it was a good class to see other people’s perspectives,” Potter said honestly. “The idea is that even though other people have different ideas from you, they can be right. And especially in today’s world of social networking with other parts of the world, relating to other people and knowing how to relate to them is important.”
In addition to all her academic work – which earned her a 4.76 grade point average – Potter also served as a senior editor on the school’s literary journal, Eye of the Storm, this year, has participated in clubs like National Honor Society and Rotary and works a part-time job.
To help escape all the pressures of life, Potter enjoys dancing several hours a week at Sarah Shaw Dance Studio. “It keeps me sane!” said Potter, who has been dancing since she was three.
Potter will start at Denver University in the fall in the journalism program.
She received a $72,000 scholarship for four years from DU, and some of the credits she receives through IB will transfer, too.
Advice to kids just getting started in high school? Remember to enjoy everything.
“For the more intellect-types like myself, it’s easy to lose sight of the social side, so take time to enjoy your friends, too,” she said.