15-year-old takes top honors | NevadaAppeal.com

15-year-old takes top honors

Teri Vance
Shannon Litz /Nevada AppealSilver State Charter High School valedictorian,

After finishing up her elementary school studies, Kelly Brandon knew she could learn at a faster pace.

So she opted for home schooling, where she completed the seventh and eighth grades in a single year. In order to continue her accelerated plan, she knew a traditional school was not the best option.

Her older brother, Justin, was already enrolled at the online charter school Silver State, and she decide it would be a good fit for her as well.

Three years later, at 15, Brandon is not only set to graduate from high school this week but she will be doing so as the valedictorian of her class.

“That was the goal going in,” she said. “Goals are really important to me. I like to strive for the top.”

She knew there would be sacrifices, but she said they will be worth it in the end.

“I’m ready to move on,” Brandon said. “I didn’t feel like the social aspects of high school overrode the benefits of speeding up my education.”

After starting a tutoring program at her school two years ago, Brandon decided she wanted to pursue a career in child psychology and will begin her studies next year at Oregon State University.

Although she’s young to be going out on her own, she said working independently at Silver State has prepared her for what’s ahead.

“You learn to do things on your own,” she said. “I know I can find the motivation to do whatever is necessary to be successful.”

In fact, she welcomes the challenge.

“I’m really looking forward to the academics, just that push,” she said. “I’m looking forward to taking classes that really pertain to what I want to get involved in.”

When she goes, Brandon said, she’ll miss her brother and parents, Steve and Chris Brandon, as well as her extra-curricular activities.

“4-H is something that has taught me so much,” Brandon said. “I think I’m going to miss the atmosphere it provides. I’m definitely going to miss riding my horse.”

Before then, Brandon, who also serves as the student body president, must prepare her speech for graduation. But she’s not sweating it.

“I really enjoy public speaking,” she said.

It’s the same attitude with which she approaches her future.

“I’m a little bit nervous, but at the same time I’m really excited to have the opportunity,” she said.

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