If 18-year-old Shania Alexandria Wachenschwanz could bestow upon Tucson’s graduating eighth graders one piece of advice for the next four years of their lives, it would be the following: Don’t let yourself become restricted by what your peers are doing, and instead focus on your own goals.
“I’ve done things like self studying for AP exams that no one else at my school has, but if you’re passionate about something, I think it’s about taking the initiative and doing it on your own,” she said. “Using the resources you have available, always, but not being afraid to do something that no one else is.”
Sound advice coming from a woman who’s proven herself more than capable of setting a strong example for young minds.
Wachenschwanz proffered her guidance minutes before taking the stage on the school’s football field the evening of Tuesday, May 21 to celebrate the graduation of 380 Mountain Lions. Wachenschwanz’s self determination paid off: She finished her four-year stint at the high school with valedictorian honors, and will soon travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to continue her education at Louisiana State University.
Wachenschwanz will study animal sciences in college, and plans to either pursue veterinary school or transition into research.
“I’ve just loved animals my whole life,” she said. “It’s always been a passion.”
Though she’s looking forward to the next chapter in her life, Wachenschwanz said she will miss all of the people she met in high school, and cherished the plethora of opportunities she was afforded while at Mountain View.
“We’ve made a lot of great memories here,” she said.