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CHAMPION Teen scholar earns top honor



Published: Tue, May 22, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Champion High School senior is one of the top scholars in the country.

By JENNINE ZELEZNIK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

CHAMPION -- She didn't attend any how-to classes, or buy the advice books. She didn't study till she dropped.

But Talya Havice, a senior at Champion High School, is one of three Ohioans and 140 students nationwide to be named a presidential scholar after logging an almost-perfect score on the SAT. She learned of the honor last week.

"I'm not exactly sure how they choose," she said with a small shrug. "I think it's something with good test scores, community involvement and leadership."

Busy girl: And the 17-year-old excels in all three categories. She is president of the Environmental Club and the band, is vice president of Key Club, participates on all the academic teams (such as Prep Bowl), is a cross-country and distance runner, was stage manager for the school's play and musical, works evenings at the public library and attends classes part-time at Kent State's Trumbull campus as a post-secondary student.

She doesn't worry too much about balancing her schedule. She says it all seems to fall into place.

"When it's time for Solo & amp; Ensemble, I work on band," she explained. "When it's time for finals, I work on school, and the week before the play, I live in the theater.

"It's really not that hard, because I really enjoy what I'm doing."

Does she sleep?

"Yeah, I sleep some -- probably less than most people," she said, grinning. "I sleep a lot more now that finals are over at Kent."

Near perfect: As for her SATs, she took the test once as a sophomore, and again her senior year, scoring a 1590 the second time. The highest possible score is a 1600. She also scored a 35 on the ACT. The highest score is a 36.

"I looked over the practice tests to see how it was," she said. "But I didn't really have time to study. I had more important things to do."

Havice said she is not really that fond of standardized testing.

"You can't take unique people and make them all take the same test," she said, shaking her head. "It's not going to work."

Still, the system worked for her, so much so that she will be attending Harvard University in the fall on a $30,000 per year scholarship from the university.

Out of reach: At first, Havice wasn't sure she would go to Harvard, because she didn't think she could ever afford the school. When her acceptance letter came, she tossed it into the back seat of her car and didn't open it for a week.

"I didn't think it was the kind of place where kids from Champion, Ohio, go," she said. "I've always worked, I'm not rich and I've never met a senator."

Havice finally went to visit the school in early April, and she fell in the love with the campus.

"I was surprised at how down to earth they are there," she said. "And I think I'm really going to enjoy the big-city environment."

Course of study: She plans to pursue a doctorate in chemistry or bio-chemistry, then serve in the Peace Corps to get some perspective on the human application of science.

"After that, I think I'd like to be a professor, and do lab research," she said. "Though I'm not sure. I've never done lab research before."

Before Harvard, Havice will graduate as valedictorian from Champion this Saturday at Packard Music Hall.

According to principal Tom Harrison, Havice is a "once-in-a-career student. Besides exceptional intelligence, Talya is also exceptionally motivated. She does not seem to slow down like a lot of high school kids do."

Going to Washington: As part of her award, Havice gets an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., in June. While there, she will get to meet the president. She is more excited, though, about the trip itself.

"I've never been to Washington, so it should be rather interesting," she said, smiling. "And they're paying for us to fly. I don't have to make my poor little car go down there."




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