BRISTOL – St. Paul Catholic High School Salutatorian Sophia Gerst credits much of the success she has experienced in academics and beyond is the guidance she received growing up.
“I would not be able to get that,” she said of achieving class salutatorian, “without my parents.”
Gerst’s mother, an immigrant to this country, always taught her working hard is the only way to achieve your goals and get what you want.
Gerst, a Bristol resident, played varsity soccer at St. Paul, was the captain of the varsity basketball team and did varsity track for two years. She also participated in the chess club, National Honor Society, Math Team, CIAC Class Act Committee, CIAC Student Athletic Advisory Board and chorus.
She was also recently recognized as an Archdiocesan Summa Scholar by the Archdiocese of Hartford.
One of her favorite classes at St. Paul was honors anatomy and physiology because of her desire to go into the medical field and learn about the movement of the human body. A sports injury her freshman year that led to knee surgery is what sparked her interest in the medical field.
“I fell in love with medicine and how the body works,” Gerst said, adding she may want to pursue sports medicine after her secondary education.
She will attend Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y., in the fall and will major in biomedical engineering on a pre-med track.
“The plan is to go to med school,” Gerst said.
Finding out she was class salutatorian validated all the hard work she has been putting in the past four years.
“It was definitely an incredible feeling,” Gerst said. “It would be a lie to say I didn’t shed a couple tears. It was definitely a wonderful feeling to see all the hard work pay off.”
The experience was even more special for Gerst because she was able to stand alongside her best friend, Emma Schatz, who was named class valedictorian, during the graduation ceremony on Tuesday.
“There’s no better feeling than to stand next to your best friend on stage,” Gerst said.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or email@example.com.