Featured Senior Carissa Pekny

Ready to Score: Carissa Pekny gears up for a soccer match

 By Alyse Allred

In every class, you get those kids who know everybody. And then, of course, there are always those people who everybody knows. Among those is one of our seniors, Carissa Pekny. She is a jack of all trades, one of those people who manage to balance athletic and academic life, as is reflected by her long list of credentials; however, in addition to this, she never fails to smile and enjoy living life to its fullest.

Over the course of the school year, Carissa participates in three competitive sports: soccer, basketball, and softball, each in their corresponding seasons. Despite the differences in sport, she plays similar roles as the forward in both soccer and basketball. Her reason for these similarities was that she “loves to score.” There is no doubt that she does score—and not just in sports.

Carissa is recognized for excelling both in her extracurricular activities and academics. She holds a variety of positions, most prominently as the student council president. She is also the Vice President of SHO, the Senior Representative of the German Club, and a member of the VISTA and WESSO clubs. Other than clubs, she is also a talented violinist who plays in the school orchestra. Beyond this, her academic record reports this same excellence.

During her high school career, Carissa’s love for the German language has emerged time and time again. Even after completing the four years of German classes offered, she continues as Herr Studt’s Teacher’s Aide. The time spent in this class has influenced her desire to continue studying the language, as well her dreams to study abroad in Germany for a term. In addition to her love of German, she also has a passion for the biological sciences, and has taken steps to pursue this passion even outside of school. In her sophomore year she attended Intel’s International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose with her project on the effects of UV Radiation on the proteins of worms—a project with potential applications in the study of skin cancer. Then, during a later summer vacation, she participated in more cancer research in the Purdue Laboratories.

As a whole, Carissa has accomplished number of incredible things throughout high school; however, there is still another side to her that is important to mention: her deep love for other people. This love has driven her to participate in service projects, including the Relay for Life, and has even influenced her future. Her career path appears to have two parts that are both rooted in her active services to others. In the past, Carissa has watched grandparents and others close to her fall victim to cancer. This, in addition to her repeated explorations into cancer research, has pushed her towards a medical degree as an oncologist. Just as in sports, she “loves to score,” and wants to help in the fight against cancer. In addition to pursuing oncology, Carissa is looking to join the military as an army doctor in the Medical Corp for the opportunity to serve her country.

Despite all her successes, Carissa is free of arrogance. She credits her success to “great parents and great siblings” who have supported her. She also expresses an appreciation for the high school and its teachers as well, stating that “there’s no better place than West Side” to pursue the opportunities presented to her.

Carissa is a caring and determined individual capable of not only acknowledging the presence of conflict, but resolving it as well. Although her future remains unknown, she seems undaunted by this, as she’s more than equipped with her determination, sharp mind, and, what Lucy Han calls, “a weird sense of humor.” Carissa Pekny is shooting for the stars, and will undoubtedly score big.

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