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When valedictorian Maegen Satterly stood amongst the 134 graduating seniors at Washington County High School two weeks ago to speak, she was living out a goal that she set for herself four years prior.
Before she ever accumulated a 4.33 grade-point average, or posted a score of 31 on her ACT, Satterly knew she wanted to be her class’ leading example at the graduation ceremony.
“It was like the culmination of everything I’ve worked toward for four years,” she said of being named valedictorian. “In eighth grade, I said I wanted this so bad and that I was going to work hard when I got to high school.”
Satterly, an active member of National Honor Society and a member of the WCHS volleyball team, said she could hardly contain her emotions when she found out at rehearsal that the valedictorian had been named.
“I almost started crying I was so excited,” she said. “I went straight to my mom’s (Sonya) office, and then I drove to my dad’s (Ricky) office. He thought I was having car trouble, so I let him believe that and surprised him.”
From her time at St. Dominic School in Springfield, Satterly has been dedicated to academics, and even a little friendly competition has fueled her desire to better herself as a student.
“There’s always been some competition between me and some St. Dominic classmates, so that just carried over in high school,” she said. “Plus I knew about the Governor’s Scholar program, and that’s why I started taking harder classes.”
Satterly, who will attend the University of Kentucky in the fall, said the courses offered through WCHS and St. Catharine College have helped her get a step ahead with her secondary education. College algebra, philosophy and sociology are among the classes that she got out of the way over the last two years, allowing her to opt out of those courses at UK. Advanced Placement (AP) classes were also a major part of Satterly’s workload, and were about more than just learning the content.
“Those mostly taught me study habits more than anything, because I didn’t have the best study habits. I had to for those classes,” she said. “Most of our graduates are going on to some type of secondary education. We took a lot of AP and college-level classes, and I don’t think anything can prepare you for college better than that.”
The challenges of high school have still been just that, however, and Satterly acknowledged that it wasn’t always smooth sailing during the increase in responsibility.
“It was really difficult, especially during volleyball season. When I was taking my first AP class, I just about sunk. I was almost a sunken ship,” she said. “A lot of people ask me if I’m prepared, and I couldn’t be more prepared, because I’ve had to put in so much work already.”
Satterly referred to the teaching staffs at St. Dominic and WCHS as “amazing,” and pointed out that she was one of only three students to have Ryan New as an instructor for each of his first four years with the school. She said New was instrumental in her success, and that she also got plenty of support from home.
“My parents have been great. Mom was the proof reader of all of the papers,” Satterly said. “My parents were always there to push me, but also to let me know when I’m stressed out that it’s just a grade.”
After all of the hard work, she was admittedly nervous when she took the stage at graduation to speak to the packed gym, but as she’s done so many times in the past, Satterly just took on a new challenge in stride.
“It was really awesome,” she said of the ceremony. “I know when you sit through someone else’s graduation it’s not that exciting, but when you’re in that seat, it’s so exciting. I was nervous on stage the whole time, but once I was done I could enjoy it.”
One thing that Satterly said made the class of 2013 so special was how close the students are.
“I think we have a really cohesive class. I know a lot of classes are really clique-y, but we’re really not like that . We really get along,” she said. “I don’t think I’m going to look back and have any regrets at all. I went to St. Dominic and I’m still close with those people, but I also molded with everybody else in high school. It’s just been an awesome four years.”
Satterly hasn’t chosen a major for her freshman year at UK, but said that she’s leaning toward a career in the medical field. She expects to focus on math and science courses, two areas she said she’s enjoyed at WCHS, her first two semesters.
Satterly earned the Presidential Scholarship at the university based on her test scores and GPA.