By Venise Grossmann
This year’s valedictorian for West Deptford High School was Rachel Krott. She comes from a family of them. In 2012, her brother Tim earned the award and in 2009 so did her brother Matt.
Her brothers are Krott’s greatest inspiration. “I have always looked up to them and wanted to be as successful as they were.”
Science classes did not come easy to Krott. Fortunately, her brothers provided her with support when she needed it. Even when Matt was in college, she could call him. “Sometimes I would even text him a picture of a math problem I was trying to solve, and he would let me know if I was approaching it correctly,” says Krott.
Like her brother Matt, Krott plans to attend Penn State. He graduated this year with a degree in mechanical engineering, while she plans to major in secondary math education. Her brother Tim attends the University of Delaware and is majoring in exercise science.
Her parents also provide Krott with the support she needs. “Not only do they love me unconditionally, but they encourage me to try new things and be my own person--separate from my brothers,” says Krott.
For instance, Krott’s brother Matt is very active in college, and she wants to be as well. But unlike her brother who was an engineering ambassador, Krott plans to work with the Special Olympics.
Balancing school activities and academics was a challenge for Krott. Not only was she active in clubs like Friends of Rachel, Students Against Drunk Driving, and NHS, but she also played lacrosse, field hockey and was the manager of the boys’ basketball team.
Her advanced classes were also demanding. “I had to learn to manage my time effectively and not procrastinate,” says Krott. “And, academics always come first.”
There were certain instructional strategies that Krott found particularly helpful. “I liked the teachers who allowed me the opportunity to attempt a problem on my own and then confirm whether or not I had the correct answer,” says Krott. “I also enjoyed when teachers would share anecdotes when they taught and explained how we could apply the information to our own lives.”
Krott didn’t expect the path to be easy. “No one is going to hand you anything. You have to work for what you deserve,” she says. “And, I’m never satisfied unless I’m giving one hundred percent.”
The administration and staff at the High School are impressed with Krott and her many academic and sports achievements. In fact, Principal Dr. Gismondi said, “We have a math teaching job here for her when she graduates.”
Her mother Karen says that her daughter is an over-achiever who sometimes needs to be reminded to take a break, and Krott agrees. “When things become overwhelming, I allow myself time to hang out with my friends, go out to dinner, and watch movies,” she says.
Her parents are proud of all of their children. “They are successful because they work hard—plain and simple,” says their mother.
Venise Grossmann is a teacher at West Deptford High School. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.