Tonka Pride Profiles

Senior Spotlight: Martha and Anna Barnard
Senior Spotlight: Martha and Anna Barnard

Though they play different instruments, twins Martha and Anna Barnard have a shared love of music. Anna is lead alto saxophone in Jazz Ensemble and lead bassoon in the Wind Ensemble at MHS, while Martha is the violin section leader and co-president of the Symphony Orchestra. Together, they play in the pit orchestra for the school musicals and compete in the Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest, where they must identify composers, cultures, periods and styles of music through brief snippets of sound.

Martha and Anna also compete together on the cross-country running team, of which Anna is the captain. When Anna isn't playing music, running, or crocheting (her favorite hobby and new business venture), she is coaching her peers in the MHS Writing Center. She says, "I love working with students who I would never see otherwise and helping them with something they are struggling with; it's really rewarding." As the editor of the Writing Center's blog, Anna says she also likes the opportunity to read a wide variety of writing. An AP Scholar with Distinction and National Merit Finalist, Anna plans to major in both English and music and is hoping for a future career in the creative arts.

Martha, also a National AP scholar, leads the Science Bowl team and works in MHS's new Science Research program, focusing on computational epidemiology. Along with her project partner, Martha taught herself computer programming language in order to evaluate how Google trends and Wikipedia data can "nowcast" influenza. When beginning her research, she reached out to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico for help; this lab is now providing them with information so new that it hasn't yet been published. As a result of her work with prestigious research facilities around the country, she says, "I've learned a lot about statistics, how to ask good questions, and how to communicate ideas in a formal way."

Both Martha and Anna will be attending St. Olaf College next fall.

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Senior Spotlight: Isabelle Aragon-Menzel

Isabelle is described by her teachers as hard working and always willing to try something new. Her friends say she is someone who will always be there for you.

Senior Showcase: Rob Dow

A compassionate student leader, Rob's advice to other students is to find your passion and "dive into it."

Senior Spotlight: Lauren Otolski

Lauren will unite her service, academics and passion for the environment at the U of M this fall, studying issues like climate change, habitat loss or alternative energy.

Senior Spotlight: Jacob Hermann

Jacob will major in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Minnesota with the goals of one day creating artificial organs and curing cancer.

Senior Spotlight: Sky Sotto

A National Merit Finalist who never shies away from a challenge, Sky advises students to get involved in clubs and activities early on.