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AHS grad made the most of high school

Published 5:01am Saturday, June 8, 2013
Megan Brown, a member of this year's graduating class, was heavily involved in Austin High School activities while going to school there including music. She graduated Friday night with the rest of her class at Riverside Arena. Eric Johnson/
Megan Brown, a member of this year’s graduating class, was heavily involved in Austin High School activities while going to school there including music. She graduated Friday night with the rest of her class at Riverside Arena. Eric Johnson/

When Megan Brown took the podium to speak to her fellow graduates Friday night, it was the final gesture of four years eventful years at Austin High School.

“I definitely had the opportunity to do a lot of different things and be exposed to a lot of different situations through different subjects,” Brown said.

The class of 2013 graduate was one of 15 high distinction students who earned a 3.9 grade point average or higher given a chance to speak at the ceremony. Brown led an activity-packed career as a high schooler, from challenging classes to leadership roles to athletics, and looks forward to attending college in the fall.

In high school, human geography was one of her favorite classes, in part because it challenged her academically. She appreciated the high expectations.

The same was true of a calculus 2 course AHS added this year. She was one of five students to participate. The higher class gave her the opportunity to cover some college credits.

“We were able to take the A.P. test this May,” she said.

Brown was a swimmer from sixth grade on, and was a captain of the swim team this year. She has also been involved with the Austinaires and AHS’ choir. Brown has been singing since fifth grade, and she considered the activity one of her favorite parts of high school.

“It really gives me a chance to be part of something bigger,” she said.

The highlight of her choir career came with “Balleilakka,” an Indian song the choir sang at Big 9. The group had worked on the piece for a long time, and was thrilled to earn a standing ovation from the crowd.

“It was so much fun to be part of,” she said.

In terms of other school activities, Brown was part of National Honor Society, where she served as an officer.

“I worked a lot with developing different opportunities for people to volunteer and get involved in this community,” she said.

An example was the “Hunger Games” event the high school ran in Spring, which Brown helped plan. Based on the book and film of the same name, the event split AHS into 12 districts, with two tributes from each. Districts competed in hallway decoration, food drives and general fundraising.

In total, the event raised about $600 to go toward food packing. NHS then partnered with its younger counterpart, the National Junior Honor Society, to put together meals at the Kids Against Hunger location in Oak Park Mall.

“We had a pretty successful year this year,” Brown said.

She didn’t keep her volunteering within the bounds of school activities, however.

In the summer of 2011, Brown spearheaded the organization of a mission trip to Tanzania with St. Olaf Lutheran Church. The project was a way for her to help about 45 children at an orphanage, and Brown said it was exciting to see it come together.

“It showed me my hard work could pay off,” she said. “That was probably the most amazing experience I’ve ever had.”

It was one of two trips she took that eventful summer. The other was when Brown joined a group of about a dozen other students from her Spanish class to travel to Spain. During the two-week excursion, she enjoyed learning about a new culture.

“That really continued to inspire my love for learning Spanish and other cultures,” she said, adding she hopes to continue her study of the language. “I might use it as a minor in college.”

Brown will attend University of Minnesota–Duluth in the fall, where she’s considering a double major in business administration and mathematics. She hopes to keep singing, also.

No doubt, the change of scenery will be a bit of an adjustment.

“It’s going to be tough to me not to see the same people as in kindergarten,” she said.

Still, she’s excited about the future and the opportunities it holds. While she doesn’t know many people who are also going to UMD, a close friend will be going to school in Cloquet, Minn., not far away.

All that comes in the fall. Right now, Brown is looking forward to spending time with family and friends, and continuing to raised funds for a return trip to the orphanage in Tanzania.

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