PERRY — One of the things Perry High School senior Calisa Stevens has liked about attending Perry schools has been the district’s marching band/orchestra program.

“I like how we’re all family, and how we’re all dedicated, especially (band director) Mr. (Garrett) Ernst, who is always doing his best for us,” Stevens said.

Stevens has played flute since fifth grade, and served as a band section leader during marching season.

“I like music a lot,” Stevens said. “I learned the piano at age 5, and I like lots of different kinds of pop music.”

But it’s science Stevens said she plans to focus on next fall in college. She is hoping to attend Michigan State University and major in biology.

Then what?

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do after that; I’m still looking into it,” she said. “But I’ve always been interested in science. I’ve been on the school’s Science Olympiad team since my sophomore year.”

Whatever career direction Stevens — who has a cumulative 4.167 GPA — ultimately decides on, she will no doubt do well, school staffers said.

“Calisa is one of our top students,” guidance counselor Stephanie Smiley said. “She’s participating in our Early College Program and has taken a rigorous schedule of dual enrollment and AP classes here at Perry.”

Stevens currently is taking psychology and music appreciation classes at the college level. She named Ernst as her overall favorite teacher, citing his dedication to his job and his students.

“Along with her heavy academic load, she has participated in several extra-curricular activities, including Science Olympiad, National Art Honor Society, quiz bowl and band,” Smiley said. “She is very kind and determined, and we are very proud to have her representing PHS.”

In her limited spare time, Stevens said she enjoys playing the piano — by using sheet music or simply playing by ear — and drawing, mostly comic figures.

She has two siblings, Calean, 12, and Cayden, 7. She identified her parents, Craig and Tram Stevens, as her role models.

“They are always pushing me,” Calisa Stevens said. “My mom came to the United States from Vietnam 18 years ago, and she is always encouraging me to do my best.”

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