Perry grad looks forward to fall at Michigan


Editor’s Note: The Argus-Press publishes student-of-the-week features throughout the school year focusing on seniors. In part because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we cut short our feature early this year — a little too early, as we missed one student whom we had already interviewed. Here we present our final 2019-20 student of the week.

PERRY — Lindsey Bixler is on a roll: Not only was she the valedictorian of the class of 2020 at Perry High School, she’s also studying this fall at one of the top colleges in the country, the University of Michigan.

The 18-year-old said she plans to major in English and minor in linguistics, with an eye toward becoming an author and possibly a teacher.

“I’ve always like writing and learning English in AP classes, and found them more interesting than other subjects,” Bixler said. “For a long time, I’ve been thinking about becoming an author — or a teacher or professor — or maybe both.”

Finishing high school with a 4.236 GPA, Bixler has served as the secretary of the school’s National Honor Society, treasurer of student government, captain and band mentor for the band’s color guard, and was a Shiawassee Scholar.

“Lindsey is one of our very top students academically. She achieved over a 4.0 due to dual enrolling in classes at Lansing Community College and participating in AP classes,” PHS guidance counselor Stephanie Smiley said.

“In addition to her academic achievements, she’s just a great person and represents Perry High School and the Perry community in the most positive manner,” Smiley continued. “We are very proud of all she has achieved and are looking forward to seeing what the future has in store for her.”

Bixler said she would like to become a novelist, and devotes a lot of time to writing short stories and sections of longer stories.

A tireless reader, she appreciates authors such as Charles Dickens and the modern Ally Carter, who pens fun, young adult novels.

Bixler likes to draw, though she has no formal training. More recently, taking advantage of extra leisure hours due to coronavirus restrictions, Bixler taught herself to paint. She enjoys listening to Christian rock music.

She has attended Perry Public Schools since kindergarten.

“Something special at Perry over the years has been the band program,” she said. “I’ve been in it since fifth-grade concert band. Mr. (Garret) Ernst really made it special over the years. He treated us like capable, responsible adults.”

Her favorite academic instructor at Perry was Jennifer Gauna, who teaches AP English and composition.

“Mrs. Gauna is just a really, good, special teacher,” Bixler said. “She made everything engaging and she’s very personable. The way she taught made me think I’d like to be a teacher.”

Bixler lives with parents Wendy and Jim Bixler, and has an older sister, Breanna Bixler, 22, who is graduating from UM-Ann Arbor with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.

Lindsey Bixler identified her whole immediate family as role models.

“I really look to my sister for how she carries herself and handles things,” Bixler said. “She’s really driven, and she’s just the kind of person I want to be.”

Her parents “both work really hard, and that’s inspirational,” she said. “They try to push us to be the best we can be.”

Bixler said an outdoor commencement ceremony for PHS graduates is set for July 15. She will start classes at U-M Aug. 31.

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