Kellie Cochran named Summit High School’s salutatorian of 2013 |

Kellie Cochran named Summit High School’s salutatorian of 2013

Summit Daily/Jessica Smith

The last few months have been busy for high school senior Kellie Cochran. Not only has she been taking exams for all of her high-level classes, but she traveled to Wisconsin with her rugby teammates to compete in nationals. Now, with all that behind her, all she needs to concentrate on is the speech she’s going to deliver at graduation as class salutatorian.

Cochran comes second in class ranking only to her good friend, Sara Metzger. The two could often be found studying together, not surprising as they shared nearly all of the same classes their senior year. In fact, there was an entire group of friends who got together to study. Cochran good-naturedly refers to them as the “Nerd Herd.”

“We all are just so supportive of each other and it’s a really good system for studying,” she said.

Off to warmer climes

Like her classmate Metzger, Cochran is heading out of Colorado for college. Unlike Metzger, she will be going west rather than east. Cochran plans to attend California Polytechnic State University, trading in Colorado mountains for California beaches.

“To find a college, I mostly looked at good academics and then location,” Cochran said. “As much as I didn’t think I cared about the weather, I’ve definitely become a warm-weather girl. I want to be close to the ocean, where it’s not snowing eight months of the year.”

Born and raised in Summit County, Cochran said she has visited California several times and is looking forward to new experiences.

Her plan at the moment is to study environmental engineering, a career she hopes will take her around the world.

“I want my career to let me travel and work in different countries,” she said. She’d like to participate in Engineers Without Borders and other such programs. She sees herself working on water-quality issues, designing projects and visiting countries without much technology.

She plans to look into various clubs and activities, but as for rugby, this is it.

“I think my rugby career is pretty much over,” she said with a rueful laugh. “It’s hard to step away from this team and go somewhere and find a team that’s equally as good.”

Rugby is just one of many highlights in Cochran’s high school career. She was involved in student government, acting as treasurer, as well as the Interact club, the high school branch of Rotary Club.

When talking about teachers, her history teacher Laura Ryer quickly came to mind.

“She just has really helped prepare us for college and has been a big inspiration,” Cochran said. “She’s one of the teachers who’s most enthusiastic about the students and cares so much about where we’re going.”

As a Diploma Years Program student, Cochran has gone through a series of set classes, as dictated by the International Baccalaureate program, with an emphasis on international education and global awareness.

“That’s just been a big part of pretty much getting to this point as salutatorian because those classes definitely are more difficult, and then on top of that I’ve been able to maintain the high grades which has been a pretty good challenge,” she said.

Like her classmates, Cochran wants to enjoy the summer, relax and spend time with her friends. Then, in September, she’ll head off to California to start a new chapter.

“I’m excited,” she said with a smile.

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