Peggy Still School of Music student is 2011 Milton High School Valedictorian
Congratulations to Emelie Coleman, Milton High School 2011 Valedictorian!
Emelie, a long term student at the Peggy Still School of Music, studying piano with the fabulous Courtney Rinehart, was recently named Valedictorian for the 2011 Graduating class at Milton High School. She has been accepted to Harvard University and was recently featured in the Alpharetta-Roswell Revue article “MHS valedictorian overcame adversity.” Congratulations Emelie!
MHS valedictorian overcame adversity
Will go on to Harvard in the fall
|Emelie Coleman has struggled most of her life, and now that effort has paid off. She's Milton High School's valedictorian and has been accepted into Harvard. Jonathan Copsey. (click for larger version)|
But she's come a long way.
The daughter of a local boy and a Swedish immigrant mother, Coleman was just 6 years old when her father died unexpectedly. He had an undiagnosed heart problem, and when his heart missed a beat, he fell down the stairs. He died of a heart attack a few weeks later.
Growing up without a father and with a foreign mother put added pressure on Coleman's childhood.
"The way I looked at everything was different from the community," she said. "I had trouble identifying who I was and where I am.
"I was afraid to tell people my dad died for fear of being made fun of," she added.
And they did make fun of her, which made her a very introverted child. It was only as she got older that she began to relax about who she was.
"As I got older, I told people about my dad without the fear," she said. "I realized it was just a part of my life."
When she found out she was named valedictorian for her class, she took it in stride – she was almost expecting it.
"I was called into the counselor's office, and they told me. It was like a lot of pressure was taken off my shoulders," she said. "All that work was really stressful, but it was worth it."
With that question out of the way, Coleman said she began to suffer a small case of "senioritis." That is, she is enjoying her senior year more now that she can see that light at the end of the high school tunnel.
"I've really enjoyed it," she said. "This year has become a great year."
Coleman found out she was accepted into Harvard April 1. When she read the acceptance letter, she thought it was a joke. Thankfully it was not and, also thankfully, spring break was the next week.
"I was able to fully relax and enjoy myself, instead of worrying whether I made it in," she said.
Coleman did have some advice to others aspiring to Harvard or any of the top schools, beyond the schoolwork.
"People think you have to join all these clubs, but you don't. I'm not in 10 clubs. I'm only in a few. But I'm passionate about what I do, and I make sure to do the best I can," she said.