Above: Columbia Central High School 2020 Valedictorian Riley Fish rocked a 4.359 GPA at Columbia Central High School. Riley is going on to study astrophysics at the University of Michigan. Her story appears below, following the rest of Columbia Central’s Top 10 and class roster. Way to go, grads!
Class roster, Valedictorian story below. The Top 10 was brought to you by:
Columbia Central High School Graduating Class of 2020
Aiden Adams, Shania Albertson, Juliette Bailey, Logan Baker, Xander Baker, Tiana Basnaw, Daniel Beddingfield, Kaden Burge, Olivia Clement, Zachary Corser, Abby Crane, Olivia Cruz, Madyson Curtiss-Rose, Olvia Cymes, Makayla Davenport, Haley Denniss, Samantha-Jo Eisenmann, Drew Elliott, Blake Ellison, Lucas Erickson, Jennifer Felsner, Riley Fish, Kayle Fowler, Jesse Galvan, Mason Gazarek, Bryce Gilbert, Henry Godwin, Ashley Haft, Jackson Hamann, Kenneth Hanson IV, Joseph Haworth, Molly Hayes, Grace Hetke, Hannah Hinkle, Emily Hissong, Lauren Hitt, Alexis Horsfall, Anna Hosmer, Nicklas Jeffreys, Jason Johnson, Morgan Kaschalk, Tyler Kennedy, Thomas Lindemeyer III, Kaylee Low, Brendan Luckhardt, Jake Luckhardt, Paige Lunsford, Shalyn Mania, Riley Marken, Ryan McMillion, Matthew Mellinger, Lucas Mendez, Daniel MillerIII, Jenna Moore, Jordan Moore, Kaleb Morgan, Leilani Munoz, Grant Pfister, Brooke Pray, Kenny Prowse III, Morgan Reamer, Kyle Richardson, Hanna Romej, Allison Salsbury, Devyn Salter, Austin Sanchez, Carissa Schwartz, Mercaydeez Scott, Morgan Sedlecky, Nathan Sedlecky, Caleb Shay, Brianna Shook, EllaSillers-Beard, Skye Stein, Cole Strasser, Cameron Swain, Coley Tackett, Seth Tanner, Joseph Tennant, Alyssa Trumble, Jensen Tumas, Blake Webb, Carly Warner Carter Wilber, Riley Wilcox, Adam Wilding, Cameron Williams, Garnett WoodyJr., Claire Yaniga
Planning future space missions
Columbia Central valedictorian dreams of NASA, SpaceX
By John Hummer
Some day in the not-to-distant future, Brooklyn’s own Riley Fish could be at the controls of launching the next SpaceX or NASA mission to Mars, the moon, or whatever planet is on deck.
Riley, class of 2020 Columbia Central High School valedictorian, is the daughter of proud parents Michelle and Andy Fish. Riley is going to the University of Michigan this fall and will be majoring in astrophysics.
“My dream career is definitely to work for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) or SpaceX,” she states. “But before that probably work as a professor or researcher at some university – hopefully a big one.” In addition, Riley will carry on her love of soccer by playing club soccer for the “U”.
Riley is a Brooklyn native and went to school in the Columbia School District from preschool through high school, having started when Miller Elementary was still open. She has an older brother, Haden, who is in the physics program at the University of Michigan and a younger sister, Avery, who is 10.
“She’s much more artistic than I am,” Riley says of Avery. “I’m not on the artsy side. But she’s fun to have around and fun to play with.”
The family also has two dogs – a Rottweiler named Sage and a Pitbull named Doc.
Two teachers that made learning fun for Riley in her high school years were Tyler Lake and Cory May. Riley had Lake for advanced math courses her freshman through junior year.
“I’ve always really liked math and Mr. Lake definitely helped reinforce that,” she said. “He’s always been very helpful, and he really teaches the subject well. He’s very easy to get along with, too.”
Riley said that history has always been one of her favorite subjects as well. She had Mr. May for her U.S. and world history classes.
“He is a really amazing history teacher and his classes were always fun,” she said. “He always had his own little activities that just made it so much more fun rather than just like reading out of the book.”
On top of spending a lot of time on her studies, Riley spent countless hours after school as a multiple-sport athlete. She played volleyball, basketball, soccer, and track. In her junior and senior years, she narrowed her focus to volleyball and soccer.
In her senior year of volleyball, Riley was named the best defensive player. She was also one of the volleyball team’s two captains.
In her junior year, the soccer team made it to district finals and Riley was named the team’s most versatile player. Riley scored the game-winning goal in the district semifinal contest. In this year’s ultra-shortened season due to COVID-19, she had been named the team captain.
In addition to excelling in sports, Riley was involved in other extracurricular activities to round out her school experience at Columbia.
She was a member of the National Honor Society her junior and senior years and was co-president her senior year. She also volunteered for the Jackson College EMS Department for which her dad is an instructor.
“I got to help my dad out which was always super fun,” Riley said. “I really enjoyed it.”
In her spare time, Riley enjoys reading, working out, and practicing her soccer skills.
So how did she do it all?
“Through a lot of time management,” she says. “I did as much homework as I could get done during my spare time during the school day, which always helped. And for me, personally, I feel the sports helped with my school. They kept me busy, and I like to be busy.
“I’ve always just really enjoyed learning,” Riley continued. “It wasn’t hard for me to put my mind to doing school and sports. It was something I really, really wanted to do. There were a lot of late nights where I stayed up to study and do homework, too, because sports are very time consuming. But it was all worth it.”
Indeed, it was all worth it for this valedictorian. Watch out NASA or SpaceX, here she comes!
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The joy of the Lord is your strength. Neh. 8:10