SHS valedictorian dreams of the laboratory and the terrain park
FARMER’S KORNER – Whether he’s in the classroom or at the terrain park, Summit High School senior Ali Khavari knows how to stomp a landing.The humble, amiable Breckenridge resident and national-level snowboarder learned earlier this week that his academic accomplishments earned him the No. 1 spot in the senior class rank. The announcement didn’t come as much of a surprise, as Khavari has held the top position every year of his high school career. The achievement is testament to a remarkable level of hard work, smarts and dedication, but you’d hardly know it from Khavari’s demeanor.”I’ve seen other kids do so well, and I still feel weird, having that title,” Khavari said of being the class’s valedictorian. “It hasn’t sunk in. I guess I tried my hardest, and it worked out.”Khavari came to Summit County as a fourth-grader from Fort Worth, Tex. His Iranian father and South Korean mother met as students at Texas A&M.He credits much of his success to the support he has received over the years from his family.”I’ve learned a lot from my family and look up to them. My mom and dad are both so loving, and my sister too. Even though she gets on my nerves sometimes, she’s awesome. I bet I get on her nerves a lot also,” he said.Khavari speaks gratefully about the lunches his father lovingly prepared for him every day since kindergarten, especially the Iranian dishes that would draw inquisitive looks from his pals in the cafeteria.Not surprisingly, Khavari is always up for a challenge and relishes competition. At school, he selected nothing but the most challenging classes available.”I didn’t think twice – I wanted to do the harder things.”And there are few places he loves more than the top of a slopestyle course, ready to put his talents on display for the judges.”Standing up there waiting to drop in for your run is something so different than just riding with your friends – it’s something you don’t get from everyday snowboarding,” he said.Nevertheless, Khavari knows how to let his hair down and have a good time. For example, his competitive spirit and athletic talents don’t seem to transition well to the golf course.”I’m horrible at it. If you ever go golfing with me, you’ll be laughing the entire time.”And of his proudest accomplishments in his 18 years, he counts all the friends he’s made over the years in his peers, coaches and mentors. Although he’s quick to mention that he can pull a switch backside 900 in the terrain park.In the fall, Khavari will head to Colorado State University, where he plans to delve into the biomedical sciences. Ten years hence, he imagines himself working in a pharmaceutical laboratory.”I want to get into genetics or drug research – something like that. It would be cool to work with a bunch of people to come up with some product that could save lives, make lives easier or take away the pain,” Khavari said.Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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