by Elena Bittinger

In high school, all students encounter the three P’s for academic success: be Prompt, be Prepared, and be Present. These three P’s inspired six alumni from Francis Scott Key, Winters Mill, and Manchester Valley high schools to achieve high honors as their school’s top students in 2017. And each graduate shared other daily habits that contribute to their success.

Francis Scott Key High School

Emma Padrick found that time management helped her stay organized and focused on what was important. But it was her dedication to balance that afforded her the motivation for furthering her academic progress in a happy and healthy manner. To maintain that balance, she ate three meals a day, exercised regularly, and made time for family and friends.

In her first year of college at Gettysburg College, Emma has learned that prioritizing friendships and having a healthy sense of self is just as essential as time management and balance, explaining that setting reasonable goals against yourself rather than against others is key to success.

Emma’s advice: “Treat gym time like a class (if exercise sounds appealing and worthwhile to you), schedule free time in your days (for unexpected plans and to alleviate stress) and join an activity or club that makes you happy.”

Anna Matteson’s habits, in addition to time management, include maintaining good communication with teachers. She felt that getting to know her teachers was a good way to build a strong student-teacher relationship. And asking questions showed interest and care about the quality of her work.  She would clarify her concerns by making sure she could fully grasp a concept before moving on.

As a first-year student at Carroll Community College, Anna continues these habits by creating “to-do” lists and consistently communicating with her teachers.

Anna’s advice:  “Allot a certain amount of time to yourself and relax. Believe that you deserve this time and don’t begrudge it. Also, if stress has a tight hold on you, write your thoughts down; it may help lift the weight from your shoulders and minimize the trapped-like feeling you’re experiencing.”

Nathaniel Fritz’s efforts extended to rigorous and joyous involvement in extracurricular activities, which included being a member of the cross country team, a trumpet section leader in the marching band, a senior captain for the Academic Challenge team, a member of the National Honor Society, a lead sound engineer for the school’s musical, a member of the school’s tech crew and a Boy Scout.

To say this young man was busy is an understatement, but Nathaniel kept his balance while immersing himself in classes, extracurricular and an internship.

Nathaniel’s advice: “When scheduling your days, make sure there’s time for play, so as to prevent a premature burnout.”

Bailey Sartori’s habits included being involved in many opportunities, such as the National Honor Society, Class Executive Board, Student Government Association, and playing varsity soccer. To maintain her high performance while holding these leadership positions, she practiced consistency and kept busy. Meeting deadlines, attending meetings and practices, and getting to events required diligent planning and careful management. There was also little room for procrastination.

To ensure success now at the University of Maryland, College Park, Bailey occupies her time by playing soccer and being active in Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

Bailey’s advice: “Join organizations that you are passionate about, which will motivate you and not set you back. Being a member of something you enjoy surrounds you with similar individuals who, I have found, motivate you and want to see you succeed.”

Winters Mill High School

Daniel Inglis’ dedication to his schoolwork was a matter of following the fundamentals all students learn at an early age: complete your homework, pay attention, take notes, participate in class, and study well for exams. That’s the recipe for an outcome that is rewarding to both student and teacher.

Now, as a first year student at Drexel University, Daniel holds to the same habits — although with greater focus on his studies. When he needs to relax, he hangs with friends and explores Philadelphia, his new home. The campus is just 15 minutes from the center of Philly, so he and his friends can walk around, enjoy the culture, and visit museums, national and historic sites, and the parks.

Daniel’s advice: “Be open to everything that comes your way, whether it be job opportunities, college decisions, or whatever else it may be.”

Manchester Valley High School

Nicole Fern knew that “working diligently in becoming a well-rounded individual” was essential to her high school accomplishments. Her goals were not just to gain merit, but to also develop a better work ethic and achieve inner growth. To balance out her school involvement from her classwork, she invested her time in a variety of nonacademic pursuits, such as sports (soccer, indoor track and lacrosse), exercise and volunteer work —which took her to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore as well as to a dog kennel.

In her first year of college at University of Maryland, College Park, Nicole maintains her high school habits by joining new organizations and clubs, which include being a member of the soccer club; the University Judiciary Society; the Pre-Medical Society; and Cru, a Christian ministry. She is also a learning assistant for a biology class.

Nicole’s advice: “Time is precious, so it’s important to dedicate it to activities and people who are meaningful to you. Success is not only defined by the end result, but also the treacherous path it took to arrive there.”

Ten Tips for Academic Success:

  1. Time management
  2. Make time for friends and family
  3. Make time for yourself
  4. Maintain balance
  5. Follow your passions
  6. Get involved in sports
  7. Get involved in clubs/organizations
  8. Exercise
  9. Eat healthy
  10. Be open to new opportunities