At the beginning of the school year, senior Rosalyn Rae Hatlen wasn’t thinking about being valedictorian.
Her family had just relocated to North Carolina from Wisconsin, leaving her friends behind at the beginning of her senior year.
She was a good student in Wisconsin, but she wasn’t sure some of the advanced classes she took there would transfer to Knightdale High School.
They did. And she ended up with a 5.0417 GPA.
“I certainly didn’t expect to just come in and be valedictorian,” Hatlen said, who had a 4.5 GPA at her high school in Wisconsin.
Hatlen, the daughter of Roger and Lori Hatlen, was worried because her old school didn’t offer as many Advanced Placement classes as Knightdale High School. She thought she wouldn’t be as far into the curriculum as her new classmates. There were some classes that she never had to take in Wisconsin, like civics, that she had to take later than her classmates.
However, weighted classes, which include honors and AP classes, from Wisconsin and Knightdale managed to bump Hatlen into her top spot.
She took some classes, like AP Chemistry and AP European History in Wisconsin and then took other AP classes, like environmental science, at Knightdale High.
“I just took them because I’d rather be in classes that challenge me mentally,” Hatlen said.
Hatlen said one of her favorite classes she took in high school was AP Chemistry, known among many high schoolers as one of the hardest AP classes.
“It was one of the fun ones because i really like chemistry,” she said. “It went in depth about the stuff we had done and how they were related. I really like that analytical part of it.”
Hatlen is planning to continue studying chemistry when she attends N.C. State in the fall. She plans to study chemical engineering and possibly focus on pharmaceuticals as a possible career path.
N.C. State, although close to her new home, was always on Hatlen’s list of colleges to consider, among choices like Brown and Cornell.
In addition to her classes, Hatlen plays tennis (her doubles partner is Knightdale’s Salutatorian, Shelly Guo) and is a member of National Honor Society, where she is a student tutor.
Hatlen will graduate with her classmates on June 10 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh.