Sammi Schmidt isn’t afraid of hard work.
The future Illinois State Redbird was awarded the Gary Butler award at St. Joseph-Ogden’s graduation in May.
The award goes to the senior who improved their grade point average the most since their freshman year.
Schmidt and her friend, Kabe Schuster, had joked about winning the award but Schmidt didn’t really expect her name to be called during graduation.
“When my name was called, I was honestly floored,” she said. “I really wasn’t expecting to receive this award.”
Schmidt’s family was also floored.
“My family was so beyond proud and they always take so much pride in any achievement in my life,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt said she was proud to receive the award for her academic progress because it took hard work, dedication
“I was extremely unsatisfied with the grades I received freshman year, so I decided to change my study habits,” she said.
Schmidt said to turn her grades around she made sure to get help from teachers during class and during school hours so she could focus on other things after school.
“But schoolwork always came before anything else,” she said.
Schmidt said she worked hard and reminded herself often that every assignment was achievable.
“If these assignments weren’t plausible, they wouldn’t be assigned,” she said.
Schmidt said the best memory she has from SJO is the friendships she has made with so many different people and the relationships between the students and the staff at the high school.
“The mutual respect between teachers and myself made everyday life so much more relaxing and enjoyable,” she said.
Schmidt admitted maintaining good grades can be difficult due to the pressure she put on herself.
“If I would receive a bad grade, I would get really down on myself, because I wanted to keep my grades high all the time,” she said.
Schmidt plans to major in musical theater at ISU and, in the future, hopes to support and inspire people the way the students and staff at SJO inspired and supported her.
“I really enjoy singing and acting,” she said. “Singing is such a big part of my life and something I am extremely passionate about. I want to find a way to make a big difference through what I’m good at.”