Rangely valedictorian: ‘Just showing up’ helps

Torie Slagle is graduating this year as the 2011 Rangely High School valedictorian, with a 4.0 grade-point average, and intentions to study pre-med at Mesa State and eventually go on to become an endocrinologist.

When she looks back at what has helped her in her academic achievements, she points in part to the impressive statistic that from kindergarten on, she never missed a day of school.

Slagle is living proof of the adage attributed to Woody Allen about how important simply showing up is to succeeding in life.

“It makes getting good grades a lot easier, just by showing up,” Slagle said.

Her penchant for participation extends far beyond the classroom. She lettered in six sports this school year and plays club volleyball, is student council president, was class president her freshman through junior years, is involved with 4-H and FFA, and works at State Farm Insurance and Dinosaur National Park.

Said her mom, Carla Slagle, “I don’t think that happens very often, that somebody makes it all the way through school without missing a day and can do all that other stuff, too.”

Good attendance runs in the family, Carla Slagle said. She said her husband, Fred, who works in the natural gas industry, doesn’t miss work. Their other daughter, Tessa, a Rangely freshman, is like her sister when it comes to not getting sick, although she did miss school when she broke an arm when giving somebody a piggyback ride.

Torie Slagle’s good health and athleticism are made all the more impressive by her rocky start in life. When she was 2 she was diagnosed with Kawasaki syndrome, which can cause heart problems and in a small percentage of cases is fatal. Her joints were inflamed, and she had a heart murmur. She was so weak she couldn’t even hold herself up, her mom said.

Fortunately, Slagle said, her health problems never came up again. Instead, after never being absent year after year, she decided following her sophomore year to try to continue the perfect-attendance streak through her senior year. She said she was driven by hating the idea of missing school.

Just as perfect attendance helped her education, she credits her love of education for helping insure that she never missed school.

“I think it’s mostly about attitude. Just learn to love school and have a goal to have good grades,” she said.


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