From swimming and choir to community service and a demanding course load, Bishop Lynch Class of 2015 valedictorian Courtney Newman has done it all. What’s even more impressive? She did them all at the same time.
Courtney’s resume reads like a script for a lifetime achievement award, rather than that of an 18-year-old high school student. The list includes National Merit Commended Scholar, Dallas Regional Science Fair, AP Scholar with Distinction, Academic All-State, Texas Amateur Athletic Foundation (TAAF) Region 7 Athlete of the Year, a number of honor societies and multiple medals from Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) state swimming championships.
The demanding load of classes, practices and meets is more than enough for anybody, so how did she handle the enormous amount of pressure?
“I got good at using my extra time in school, even though there was rarely any downtime during classes,” Courtney said. “I had to multitask because I’d usually have practice after school, and then I’d come home and get straight to work.
“That was hard at times because I’d want to come home and take a nap, but I just had to power through it. Admittedly, there were some times when I may have been a little sleep-deprived, but I got through it.”
Make no mistake about it; despite her impressive ability to handle the load, she still felt the pressure from time to time.
“It often felt overwhelming when I had multiple tests on one day, or if we had a swim meet and then a test the next day. Sometimes I’d just have to sit back and collect myself,” she said. “Saturdays this year were a little hectic because I was in the spring musical as well, but it was absolutely worth it!”
Being heavily involved in extracurricular activities paid huge dividends for her, helping her make friends as a BLHS freshman, some that she’s kept very close to throughout high school.
“Choir and swimming are where I made most of my closest friends, because it’s a smaller group of people and you become a bit closer in those cases,” she explained. “State swim meets gave me a chance to really bond with my teammates.”
Now that her time at Bishop Lynch is done, Courtney cherishes the time she spent at the school, saying that it molded her into the person she is today. As for being valedictorian of the most recent graduating class … she simply said her hard work paid off.
“It was surreal. I worked hard for it and it was amazing to me because of the extremely talented level of students we had in our class,” she said. “I just worked to the best of my ability and it paid off.”
Courtney plans to spend the summer coaching the Farmers Branch Barracudas, the TAAF swim team with which she got her start in the pool. Once the summer draws to a close, she’s off to College Station to begin the next chapter in life at Texas A&M University.
“I’m really looking forward to getting involved in undergraduate research because I want to go into the medical field,” she said. “As of now, I want to be a pediatrician, but not sure if I want to go through medical school. I’m keeping my options open.”
Before she leaves for college, Courtney did wish to leave some words of advice for new (as well as returning) Bishop Lynch students.
“Keep taking notes and never stop giving it your all,” she said. “Time management is a big thing; you have to set time aside to study, but also spend time with friends.
“Enjoy high school while it lasts … because it goes by really fast.”