"You're going to Yale, and you want to be an English teacher?"
Sara Deeter, 17, a graduating senior at Arlington High School, has heard the question from people many times since being accepted to study this fall at the Ivy League school.
Yes, she tells them, a teacher. Shouldn't teaching be a profession that attracts top students?
Sara, one Arlington's 11 valedictorians, has known education was her calling since first meeting her seventh-grade language arts and social studies teacher Patricia Vaughn.
"She is an inspiration," Sara said. "I even wrote one of my college application essays about her."
Sara plans to be an English major, then attend graduate school for her teaching credentials.
"Teaching is not a lucrative job, but it is one of the most important jobs there is," she said. "Doctors take care of our physical health, but teachers develop our minds."
It's been a stressful school year for Sara, what with the college application process and completion of advanced placement classes. Good financial aid from Yale will make it possible to attend.
"My dad drives a bus in Seattle. He said it's OK as long as it works financially," Sara said. Her father and mother, the high school booster club president, couldn't be prouder.
"I got to visit Yale this spring. It was my first trip east," Sara said. "I've been a little sheltered and I can't wait to move to Connecticut."
Sara attended Arlington schools all 12 years. She plays tennis and the piano, speaks Spanish and has participated in numerous volunteer activities. She served as the student representative to the school board for two years. On Monday, the board plans to honor Sara for her participation.
Arlington school superintendent Kris McDuffy can't say enough about her.
"Sara is an exceptional student, athlete and volunteer and is wise beyond her years," McDuffy said. "Her dedication and commitment (to the school board) are commendable. She asks the toughest and most insightful questions."
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