If graduating top of her class with a 4.51 grade-point average and being Galt High School’s Class of 2011 valedictorian wasn’t enough to celebrate, Hailey MacLeod is the school’s first student ever to be appointed to the U.S. Air Force Academy.
But in order to get appointed, she first had to seek a nomination from one of three sources: her congressman, one of her two senators, or the vice president of the United States.
After an extensive application process and interviews with Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Dan Lungren’s nominating committees, MacLeod garnered a nomination from Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Lungren, R-Gold River, whose district includes Galt. She was honored at a reception thrown by Lungren on May 22 at the Aerospace Museum of California.
MacLeod earned the highest GPA over her four years of high school. She took close to a dozen advanced placement classes which hold more value when computing the average grade point.
As valedictorian, the student said she is honored to share her experience. And although she said it was hard writing the speech heard at Thursday’s graduation, she admitted it was a good way to end the year.
MacLeod was a member of the Warriors for Christ club, Lettermen’s Honor Society, Interact, school delegate for Rotary Youth Leadership and earned a number of scholarships.
She also played soccer and volleyball, and had nothing but positive things to say about the school’s top brass. “I like the fact that the administrators really made us feel like a part of the school and said ‘hi’ to us.”
Her favorite subjects were world history and math; the latter because she said she liked the challenge of problem-solving.
The student also sat in her father’s class for two years. Devon MacLeod now teaches at Liberty Ranch High School, where one of her sisters will attend in the fall. A second younger sister is already enrolled there.
If MacLeod could pass on any words of wisdom to incoming freshmen, it would be to have confidence. Not only will that get to where you want to be, she said, but it will also allow you to be outgoing.
MacLeod said what she will miss most about high school is being around her friends, something she has less than 20 days to do.
That’s when she leaves for basic training at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. It is the Air Force equivalent of West Point or Annapolis.
After four years of college where she plans to study engineering or international relations, MacLeod will graduate as a second lieutenant and must serve a minimum of five years active duty before going into the reserves.
“I want to use all that I’ve been given to serve,” the student said of her leadership skills. “I like being the facilitator between different groups and the marketing aspect of both.”
She will also miss her church, Horizon Community, where she plays in the worship band.
“I’m grateful for everything and am constantly amazed that everything’s good, my family and church ... that’s going to be the hardest thing to leave behind.”
MacLeod has lived in Galt her entire life. Her parents are Devon and Kristie MacLeod, she has two younger sisters, Sierra and Madison.
Contact reporter Jennifer Bonnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.