The following section highlights the accomplishments of some of our recent graduates since leaving Reeths-Puffer High School.
Stephany Zahl graduated Valedictorian in the class of 2012. She continued her education at Grand Valley State University attending the Frederik Meijer Honors College. While attending GVSU, she was involved in the Pre-Med Club, Senior Citizens Club, Dance Troupe, and Challenging Heights: GVS. Stephany created and organized The Children’s Rescue Race (2014 and 2015). This race was a 5K that raised money for Challenging Heights, the nonprofit she worked with in Ghana. The nonprofit works to rescue, rehabilitate, educate and empower children removed from forced labor and trafficking in Ghana. She worked with Habitat for Humanity and as a reading tutor at a local elementary school. She also went to Costa Rica and Ghana on mission trips/study abroad programs.
Stephany states, “My time at R-P prepared me wonderfully and not only in an academic sense, although that was great too! The number of varying programs and extra-curricular activities at R-P helped me jump in and engage in many different organizations while at GVSU.”
Stephany graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Sciences, graduating as one of the department’s Graduates of Distinction. She worked as a phlebotomist for most of her college years to gain clinical skills. She is currently working as a nanny in Colorado for her last summer before starting medical school at Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine, this fall (2016).
Ryan Hobby graduated number 6 in the class of 2011. Ryan obtained his Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate the summer after high school and worked at Appledorn Nursing Home part-time in Holland while attending Hope College. While at Hope, he played football his sophomore year, was involved in the TTQ Youth Mentorship Program, was a Holland Hospital volunteer and a chemistry teaching assistant. During the summer of 2013, Ryan traveled to C
osta Rica through Grand Valley’s International Service Learning working with doctors treating local patients. Ryan states, “R-P offered many advanced placement classes and extra-curriculars. Being involved in sports and clubs taught me time management and social skills needed to be successful in college.” Ryan has obtained his BA in chemistry and is currently enrolled in graduate school at Grand Valley State University in the Physician Assistant Program working on his Master’s Degree. Upon graduation, Ryan is hopeful to obtain employment and return to the Muskegon area.
Rachel Harris graduated 10th in her class of 2009. She continued her education at the University Of Michigan College Of Engineering. She graduated with honors in 2013 with a major in Biomedical Engineering and then went on to medical school at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Rachel stated: "I will forever remember my Rocket roots and everything I learned while a student at R-P. My strong work ethic, punctuality and attention to detail were taught to me as a member of the Marching Band. I also got a great education in the classroom from some outstanding teachers. I was very fortunate to take many college credits with me to U of M so that I had the flexibility in my schedule to complete my engineering degree and pre-med requirements. I received AP credits and also credit through duel enrollment at MCC. I was able to get through Calculus IV before starting at U of M. The one hint I will give to anybody considering engineering as a major is to get as much math as you can in high school and also take a computer programming class."
At the University of Michigan Rachel was a member of the Health Science Scholars program, a tutor in organic chemistry, Philanthropy Coordinator of Alpha Gamma Delta, and on the Executive Planning Committee for University of Michigan Relay for Life. She participated in Alternative Spring Break which took her to Texas with a group of 12 other students to work at Peaceable Retreat for Children. For her biomedical engineering senior design project her team designed a medical monitoring device which was awarded a patent.
Rachel remained very involved in medical school as well. She served on the Student Government Association as the TOUCH (Translating Osteopathic Understanding into Community Health) Coordinator, which put her in charge of local community based volunteer opportunities for WVSOM students. She organized and led a mini medical school program for community members. For this, she was awarded the 2016 Excellence in Public Health Award from the United States Public Health Service. This award is given to 50 medical students nationally for their contributions to community public health and public health practice. She also traveled to the Dominican Republic with a group of medical students to provide medical services to local children and families.
Rachel plans to become a pediatrician and will decide on a subspecialty while completing her residency.