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Waukegan High snowboarder combines talent and grades

Kaley Daleske 17 Waukegan is senior Waukegan High School. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media

Kaley Daleske, 17, of Waukegan is a senior at Waukegan High School. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 2, 2013 1:38AM

WAUKEGAN — Waukegan High School senior Kaley Daleske may be known around school for her academic achievements.

She is taking five Advanced Placement classes this year. She also recently received a letter of commendation from the National Merit Scholarship Corp., for placing among the top 5 percent of more than 1.5 million students who took the fall 2011 preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

But Daleske, 17, is dedicated to more than applying herself to her studies. She is in training to be a snowboard instructor and hopes to teach students of her own this snowboarding season.

“I’ve been snowboarding for about five years ... I’m confident I can go pretty fast and not crash. It’s peaceful and relaxing,” Daleske said.

She started skiing in sixth grade and started snowboarding after a cousin prompted her to try it. When she is not spending time snowboarding, she puts in a lot of hours studying.

“(Academics) are very important. It’s important to get good grades so I can get into a good college,” Daleske said.

National Merit Scholarship said that students who receive a commendation are among the “best and brightest minds in the country.”

Daleske is also in the Schuler Scholar Program. Students in this program are given cultural and other opportunities to succeed in competitive private colleges and universities. Schuler scholars are high-potential students from under-resourced communities.

Like many Schuler Scholars, Daleske will be the first in her family to get a four-year college degree. She is applying to 10 schools, including Dartmouth. She does not yet know what career she wants to pursue. She has not yet learned where she has been accepted.

She said her overall favorite subject is history. She is taking AP government, AP calculus, AP literature, AP biology and AP Spanish.

She took three AP classes her junior year, including AP psychology with teacher Tiffany Mueller.

“She was an excellent student. She set the standard, she set the curve,” Mueller said.

Mueller described Daleske as “an outstanding student” who was full of dedication and commitment.

“I expect nothing but the best from her,” Mueller said.

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