OVID — Ovid-Elsie High School senior Haley Hilgendorf is planning to study medicine and become a pediatrician, and her favorite teacher believes Hilgendorf has what it takes to succeed.
“I have zero doubts about her to embark on a career in the health field. Haley has a caring personality and can do anything she sets her mind to. She’s in it for all the right reasons,” said Karen Stutzman, a Lansing Community College instructor who taught Hilgendorf in an allied health class at Clinton Regional Educational Service Agency.
Hilgendorf, 18, cited other reasons why she enrolled in the pre-med program in the School of Nursing at University of Michigan this fall with an eye toward treating children.
“I love kids,” she said. “I’ve babysat a lot for the staff at the high school and for my sister. It’s beneficial and good to teach children how to stay healthy when they’re young. You develop good habits early.”
Academic ability is also important in becoming a doctor, and Hilgendorf has demonstrated she’s got it. She carries a 4.21 GPA at Ovid-Elsie, which she has attended since kindergarten.
“I like that it’s a small community. I feel like you get to know everyone,” she said, and looked ahead to graduation. “I’ll miss a lot of people here. The staff are great here.”
Fellow students look up to her, electing her as a class officer for all four years of high school. Hilgendorf served as treasurer as a freshman, vice president as a sophomore and junior, and is currently class secretary. She is also vice president of the student council.
“We do lots of projects for the community, and I like having a role in the community,” she said. “I like being able to help people.” Past projects have included collecting hats and gloves to donate to people in need, and adopting families for Christmas giving.
In addition to her class officer and student council roles, Hilgendorf is a member of the National Technical Honor Society and LINKS, a program in which she is paired with a special education student as a peer mentor.
She received a $3,000 scholarship from the Cook Family Foundation for choosing to attend U-M.
Hilgendorf’s long-held interest in the medical field was sharpened when she took a nursing class at RESA, tught by Stutzman.
“I was interested before, but in taking the class I feel I’ve gotten a good head start in college,” Hilgendorf said, adding she also received college and high school credit. “Mrs. Stutzman has really helped expose me to a variety of topics within the health care field and positions. It’s opened my mind to different opportunities.”
Outside of classwork and extracurricular activities, Hilgendorf earns extra money in several ways, including by taking admission at sports events. For fun, she enjoys movies and doing crafts with her mother, Jacki Hilgendorf, and spending time with friends.
One recent movie she liked was “Patch Adams.” Her personal motto — etched on a bracelet she wears — is “she believed she could, so she did.”
“My bracelet inspires me when I look at it,” Hilgendorf said.
Before heading off to college, she is working a summer internship at Owosso High School, working with an IT employee to set up Chromebooks and other tasks.
Hilgendorf’s father is Kevin Hilgendorf. She has two older siblings, Elise, 29, and Miranda, 19.