Brownstown Central senior named Indiana Academic All-Star

Claire Poulton went to the Indiana Academic All-Stars luncheon knowing she was one of the top 90 seniors in the state.

It wasn’t until the program at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis that the Brownstown Central High School student realized she was among the top 40 earning Indiana Academic All-Star status.

The Indiana Association of School Principals program, in its 33rd year, is open to all high schools accredited by the Indiana Department of Education. Each high school may nominate one senior for consideration as an Academic All-Star.

Schools select nominees based on criteria such as standardized test scores, academic and nonacademic extracurricular activities, leadership and community service and involvement.

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On April 25, the 40 Indiana Academic All-Stars and 50 Regional Academic All-Stars were honored. Nineteen of the students combined at least a 4.0 grade-point average with a perfect score on the ACT or SAT.

“It shocked me that I was considered to be great enough for top 40, especially when (the IASP director) said there was one student with a perfect SAT and ACT score,” Poulton said. “I was like, ‘Wow! That’s kind of crazy to be around all of these other kids who excel academically.’ It was kind of an overwhelming feeling.”

Throughout her high school career, Poulton has balanced academic, athletic and community activities.

“It definitely feels like all of my hard work has paid off because I feel like when you’re a freshman, sophomore or junior, you don’t really get recognized for the hard work you’ve put into school even though you’re performing well academically,” she said. “Senior year, I’ve gotten several awards, and it’s awesome, like, ‘Wow! It has finally paid off. All of this hard work has paid off.'”

Poulton said she found out about the Indiana Academic All-Stars program from one of the school’s guidance counselors, Jami Stuckwisch.

She then filled out an online application, which included listing her test scores and GPA. Poulton is at the top of her class and said she always has made academics a priority.

“I think it was how I’ve been raised,” she said. “My parents have always taught me to work hard and don’t slack off on anything, always put 110 percent effort in everything.”

She also has had self-motivation.

“My parents are always going to be proud of me no matter what, so once you reach that age where you’re old enough to make your own decisions, you decide how hard you work at school,” Poulton said.

“I just take it in thinking that my future is going to be more successful and I’m going to have more chances and opportunities to grow if I work hard now in high school, so I just try to do my best in everything and be involved in several different things,” she said.

Her sports include basketball and softball for four years and cross-country and volleyball for two years. She also is president of National Honor Society, vice president of student council and the senior class and a member of the Lettermen’s Club and science and English Academic Super Bowl teams.

Plus, she has been a Schneck Medical Center junior volunteer, played piano and done volunteer activities at Community Church Brownstown and participated in community service projects through sports and school groups.

As far as honors, Poulton received the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Award for 2019, was named the Brownstown Exchange Club Youth of the Month in February and earned academic all-state honors in cross-country and basketball.

Poulton said teachers, administrators and counselors have made an impact on her success.

“Definitely the teachers here at Brownstown push their students to work hard,” she said. “I’ve had several great teachers. Obviously, all of the teachers here are great, so they really work with students. Most teachers are passionate about teaching, so it relates to students who are passionate about learning.”

As part of her application, Poulton had to write a 200-word essay about an influential teacher. She chose Jamie Walker, who taught Advanced Placement biology, biomed and human body systems, was her Academic Super Bowl team coach and chose her for the VIP award. Walker now teaches at Salem High School.

“Everything science-related that I did in school, I was around her all of the time,” Poulton said. “She chose me as her VIP when they do the VIP awards. She’s the only teacher that has ever selected me, so I kind of felt like a love toward her.”

Poulton is Brownstown’s sixth Indiana Academic All-Star since 1996, including the first since 2012. All six plaques are in a display case on the wall next to the guidance office.

“For me, I consider putting Brownstown back up there because I think we have excellent academics here,” she said. “We have great teachers that push students like me to do well, so I think Brownstown deserves to be considered for an Academic All-Star. I think it was awesome for me to be able to represent my school and community.”

As students walk down the main hallway and see the plaques, Poulton said she hopes they provide encouragement.

“I just hope it inspires them to keep working hard because I think academics are one of the most important things in life. I think having a good education is just the foundation for success,” she said. “It means a lot to have that honor, so I hope that it pushes other kids to shoot for that same goal and maybe be an all-star themselves.”

After graduating May 25, Poulton will prepare to head to Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, to study biochemistry. She said her ultimate goal is to work in medical research and earn a master’s degree or doctorate.

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The 40 Indiana Academic All-Stars for 2019 include Claire Poulton, a senior at Brownstown Central High School.

The 50 Regional Academic All-Stars for 2019 include Nathaniel Bauman, a senior at Trinity Lutheran High School.

The 265 Indiana Academic All-Star nominees include Poulton, Bauman and Emma Ramp, a senior at Seymour High School.

The Rising Stars of Indiana Class of 2020 consist of 1,008 juniors from 258 schools. That includes Luke Bane, Maggie Newkirk, Grace Rennekamp and Makenna Sunbury from Seymour High School and Cassidy Burnside, Amelia Hessong, Alyssa Schultz and Noah Voelker from Trinity Lutheran High School.

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Brownstown Central High School Indiana Academic All-Stars

1996: Michael B. Sullivan

1998: Rebecca Herther

2003: Andrew Herther

2004: Kathleen Baute

2012: Luke Gallion

2019: Claire Poulton