Seventeen-year-old Amanda d’Almeida will share the podium with fellow valedictorian Thomas Lile at Coupeville High School’s graduation June 7.
D’Almeida has attended Coupeville schools since her family moved here when she was 12. She’s been a 4.0 student all the way through middle and high school.
Though she looked at several schools, d’Almeida has chosen Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., a private liberal arts college that offers a top biology program.
D’Almeida wants to study pre-med, with an eye toward becoming a physician eventually, but she said, “I wanted the liberal arts too.”
“I chose Carleton from among several schools because I feel like I’ll fit in there,” she said. “Students there seem to be quirky, maybe a bit nerdy, and like me, passionate about what they want to do with their lives.”
D’Almeida’s dream is to work as a pediatrician or surgeon for Doctors Without Borders or aboard the Mercy Ship, the largest non-governmental hospital ship in the world, providing free health care, community health education, mental health programs and agriculture projects in third world countries.
Working in a Chinese orphanage on a non-denominational mission in the summer of 2012 helped d’Almeida decide she wanted to become a physician.
“I’ve always wanted to serve people with my life,” said d’Almeida. “Going to China and seeing the needs in the orphanage made me see how I could do that by becoming a doctor.”
When d’Almeida comes home for college vacations next year, she won’t be returning to Coupeville. Her father Dan d’Almeida, popular math and science teacher at Coupeville High School, has accepted a teaching position at Amadeus International School in Vienna. The family, including younger brother Dawson and mom Cathy, will move there this summer.
‘They’ll probably be there two or three years,” said d’Almeida.
Aside from excelling in academics, d’Almeida has also been a soccer star during her years in Coupeville schools and was recruited two years ago by Carleton’s soccer coach to play for their team.
She’s been captain of the Coupeville Wolves girls’ soccer team since she was sophomore, and also plays soccer off-Island for the Northwest Nationals women’s team.
Of her 70 fellow graduates in the CHS Class of 2013, D’Almeida said, “We’re a special class. Even if we don’t become CEOs or president, we’re good community members. My high school experiences has been amazing and memorable because everyone has been so supportive of each other.”
Once she’s in college, it will likely be a few years before she returns to Coupeville, but d’Almeida is philosophical about the necessity of change.
“I’ll definitely miss it here, but I’m ready to move on to new adventures,” she said.