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STUDENT SPOTLIGHT

Haley Bjorkman

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WRHS Senior Haley Bjorkman

By Emilee Mae Struss for The Weekly Sun

Utah native Haley Bjorkman moved to the Wood River Valley when she was 4 years old and has lived here ever since with her parents and three older brothers.

Bjorkman is an honor-roll student that has played the cello for eight years, is a three-sport athlete, and is currently enrolled in two Advanced Placement courses and two dual-credit courses. This semester, Bjorkman is taking AP Government, AP Environmental Science, Calculus, and College English.

“It’s hard to balance everything sometimes,” Bjorkman said. “Thankfully, my school counselor gave me a free first period to offset late nights coming home from away games.”

Bjorkman is a four-year varsity starter in basketball and a two-year varsity player in volleyball. She played junior varsity for her freshman and sophomore year in volleyball prior to moving up to varsity as a junior. Bjorkman participates in two separate seasons of volleyball, playing school volleyball in the fall and club volleyball in the spring.

Her sights are already set on Columbia Basin College, in Pasco, Wash., for next year, to pursue nursing and to play volleyball. Unlike most students that discover where they want to attend college, Columbia Basin College found her.

“The head coach [Michael Jordan] called and said I’ve watched you play for the past three years, and I’d like to invite you out to practice with our team,” Bjorkman said during an interview.

She traveled to the school, practiced with the team and walked away with a scholarship to attend the school and play volleyball at a collegiate level.

Bjorkman said that she tried out orchestra when she was in fourth grade because she saw a flyer for it and her friends encouraged her to try it with them.

“Most of my friends chose to play the violin,” Bjorkman said. “I wanted to try something a little different so I chose the cello and I’ve played ever since.”

Bjorkman said that her teacher, Rebecca Martin, has been a huge supporter in her development as a cello player. Likewise, Bjorkman mentioned the head women’s basketball coach, Amanda Crist, as another great influence on her life.

One of Bjorkman’s greatest memories playing the cello was performing at the Pavilion in Sun Valley with the Sun Valley Summer Symphony. She had the opportunity to play with a mixed group of talented youth representing Wood River High School, Sun Valley Community School and a number of students from Boise.

“The thing I really like about orchestra,” Bjorkman said, “is that you have your own part to play independently but you’re also working together to make the full sound as a group.”

Bjorkman doesn’t have much time left in the Valley but takes many great lessons with her, one of them being how to push through injuries. Bjorkman says Crist has helped to remind her that she can take a step back, give herself time to heal, and come back stronger than ever. And stronger than ever she will need to be to live by Columbia Basin’s tagline, “All In. Die Empty.”

Each week, the Weekly Sun will be profiling a local high-school student. If you know someone you'd like to see featured, e-mail emilee.struss@gmail.com.