With so many students already academically-minded at Catalina Foothills High School, the school does not recognize a valedictorian or salutatorian. With so many high achieving students, it doesn’t even create a class rankings list. It does have, as principal Dr. Angela Chomokos likes to say, “Amazing senior students.”
Kali Cornn is one of those students.
Cornn, like so many of the other top students, balances her high academic achievement with a number of diverse activities. To say her plate is full might be an understatement. Cornn plays three instruments, participates in music competitions, competes with the award-winning Science Olympiad team, mentors young robotics competitors and does research at University Medical Center.
By being involved in so many programs, and keeping a high grade-point average, good time management is a must for Cornn.
“Each week I prioritize what I need to do for school and my activities, and I make a schedule for every day,” Cornn said.
School has always been a priority for Cornn. She has always been one to want to discover things and take pride in schoolwork.
“I’ve always had a love for learning, even at a young age, and have always strived to do my best in all subjects,” she said.
Music plays a big role in her life. She plays the piano, harp and percussion and is in the school’s wind ensemble as well as a member of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra, which is a symphonic training program that offers serious training for young musicians.
Cornn calls music her “stress relief,” which has also served as a personal passion since she was 5 years old. Music has also served as a key to her academic success as the pursuit of instrument mastery is similar to that of academic excellence.
“Music has taught me discipline,” Cornn said. “When I put effort into something, I can really enjoy it.”
While many of the Tucson Philharmonia’s youth members are eyeing a professional music career, despite her love of music, Cornn said she has other career aspirations.
With a passion for science, Cornn is eye a career in the medical profession.
Preparing for her future career, Cornn has also participated in Science Olympiad, which focuses on a variety of science fields and competitions make it even more intense.
Besides school competitions centered around science, Cornn also works as a researcher for University Medical Center.
She is specifically studying whether the existence of angiopoientin-2 is important in the transition from inflammatory bowel disease to cancer. In layman’s terms, she is hoping to learn what causes inflammatory bowel disease, which becomes colon cancer.
“The lab experience has definitely augmented my desire to continue with research during my undergraduate years, which, I hope, will lead to a career in radiology research,” Cornn.
All her volunteer work earned her the 2014 Ray Davies Student Service Award.
After graduating from high school this month, Cornn will attend Stanford next fall and major in chemistry.