A Senior Showcase from Around the St. Croix Valley

Meet four area students who manage to balance more than expected in today’s busy world.
Left to right: Annika White, George Bentley III, Hannah Burns and Samantha Chang.

Annika White
St. Croix Preparatory Academy

Annika has played basketball since she was in kindergarten and volleyball since third grade. She takes part in the National Honor Society and tutors students after school. She’s also played the piano since she was 7 and continues to take weekly piano lessons.

Favorite part about playing volleyball and basketball?
“I am really good friends with a lot of my teammates, which makes that really fun. So we do a lot of stuff outside of sports together.”

Favorite professional volleyball player?
“I liked watching Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings in the Olympics.”

Fond memory of growing up in Stillwater?
“Lumberjack days was always fun in the summer. Our whole neighborhood would get together and we’d have a spaghetti dinner and we’d do our own mini parade around the neighborhood.”

Why piano?
“My parents played when they were younger, so they wanted us to play. We found a piano teacher in my neighborhood and she said I could start as young as 7, so I just took it up and have liked it ever since.”

Biggest accomplishments so far?
“Well my favorite sport is volleyball, so being a captain of the junior team was probably one of my biggest accomplishments.”

George Bentley III
Hudson High School

George’s time fluctuates between a variety of activities. He’s participated in track and cross-country since seventh grade and is the co-leader of a club called Civil Discourse that brings together people of different political sides to peacefully discuss societal topics. He’s played the violin since kindergarten and has participated in two school musicals. He volunteers through his church, teaches Sunday school and hopes to go into the military someday.

Why the armed services?
“I want to make a difference. I want to reach people on a personal level, whether that’s in Africa, Afghanistan or South Korea.”

Talk about Civil Discourse.
“Seeing all the conflict within the political scene. Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, you treat the other side as ‘other.’ That their beliefs aren’t valid. I believe as a nation, we can’t go forward productively if we don’t come together on common ground.”

Favorite Food?
“Lefse or my mom’s lettuce turkey bowl.”

Fondest memory of growing up in Hudson?
“Booster Days. Mainly the fireworks over the river.”

What are you most proud of?
“Two years ago, I rode my bike from South Duluth to Minneapolis as part of the MS 150, a fundraiser for multiple sclerosis. I was really proud of that.”

For fun in your free time?
“I’m a really big World War II buff. I like learning about World War II. Riding my bike and hanging out with friends also.”

Favorite Quote?
“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”

Favorite movie?
“My favorite movie would probably be Flags of Our Fathers.”

Hannah Burns
Hudson High School

Hannah has a passion for acting, singing and dance. She participates in musicals at Hudson High School and the Phipps Center for the Arts. She takes part in the National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, track, cross-country and volunteers through her church. She recently earned the Prudential Spirit of Community Bronze award for her work on building the Wellness Park in downtown Hudson. She’s also interested in joining the Air Force in the future.

Why theater and music?
“My first show was when I was 7. It was at the Phipps. Ever since then, I’ve tried out for everything. I love it.
It’s one of my hobbies.”

Favorite musical or show that you’ve done so far?
“Being Michael in Peter Pan or Louisa in The Sound of Music.”

Favorite musical?
“Hamilton and Aladdin.”

Why the Air Force?
“I’m interested in flying and being a pilot. I would also love to serve the country, and I think it’s a great opportunity for leadership and to build my character.”

For fun in your free time?
“I like to hang out with my friends, and I love going to my cabin. Camping, hiking, reading, playing with my dogs and my brothers.”

Role model?
“My mom is probably one of my biggest role models. She’s motivated me to do all of my projects, and she’s always been behind me and supported me.”

Favorite genre of music?
“I listen to pop ... I like musicals, too.”

Samantha Chang
Stillwater Area High School

Along with outstanding academics, Samantha has been on her high school’s 2018 state championship winning gymnastic team since ninth grade and has played lacrosse since eighth grade. She’s volunteered with Feed My Starving Children on several occasions and has a keen interest in psychology and criminology.

Favorite part about gymnastics and lacrosse?
“They’re very different sports. Lacrosse is more of a team sport and you learn to work together. You run plays and stuff. And then gymnastics is a team sport but also individual. You can’t rely on someone to do your routine. So it’s nice to get two different aspects of a sport.”

Routine or ritual before a game or meet?
“I always listen to music. It always gets me pumped up.”

Why psychology and criminology?
“I’m taking a psychology class and that’s super interesting. Criminology is just really intriguing.”

For fun?
“I really enjoy swimming and hanging out on the lake. I also really like shopping and traveling.”

Most memorable vacation?
“In fifth grade, me and my family went to Europe and that was a super cool experience.”

What are you most proud of?
“In general, just maintaining a super good balance between academics and my sports and extracurricular activities. I’m pretty balanced.”

Role model?
“Both of my parents are. They support me through all of my stuff, no matter what it is. Also, my grandparents have been there since day one for me. They inspire me to do my best.”