Columbia Central valedictorian to become an anesthetist


Katie Powell to study at Lyman Briggs College at MSU


By John Hummer

Katie Powell, Columbia Central High School valedictorian, is well on her way to helping surgical patients through anesthesiology.

“I’m going to pursue genetics and then follow a pre-medical track so I can be either a nurse anesthetist or an anesthetist,” she said.

Katie will be joining the Spartan Nation as she will begin her collegiate years at Michigan State University this fall. She will be studying in the Lyman Briggs College – the science residential college at MSU.

The daughter of John and Debra Powell, she grew up in Brooklyn, Mich. after having moved from Minnesota at the age of two. Katie has a brother named Trevor who was CCHS salutatorian in 2015.

To prepare for college, Katie took advantage of several advanced placement (AP) courses at Columbia Central.

“I took one in each subject category,” she said. “I had over 30 credits that ended up transferring to MSU. I also dual enrolled at Jackson College that helped prepare me for future classes in college.”

Because she is so far ahead already with 30 credits entering MSU, Katie plans to study abroad during some of her summers while at the university.

Katie worked hard throughout her school years to attain her number one standing in her class.

“It was hard because with a lot of my classes I would have so much work and studying every night,” she said. “I tried to do all that first when I got home and then I could hang out with my friends and still have fun, but school was definitely my priority.”

Katie said she loved all her teachers, but had a special liking for her French teacher, Beverly Sachar.

“I’ve had her all four years and we went to France together and she is the sweetest lady ever. She was there to support me no matter what.”

Cory May was another teacher she had that meant a lot to her.

“He is a wonderful history teacher,” she said. “He’s funny, but he also prepares you.”

Katie was extremely busy outside of her coursework at CCHS that gave her a well-balanced high school experience. She participated on the school’s Quiz Bowl team, for one.

“It was really fun, but it also helped me with my studies because it was school-related.”

She also ran track and danced with Jan’s Dance Connection dance studio from the age of 4 on through her high school years.

Among her notable accomplishments, Katie earned the honor of being named the Distinguished Young Woman of the Irish Hills for 2018. Distinguished Young Women is the largest and oldest scholarship program of its kind for high school girls. Scholarship, leadership, and talent are the program’s overarching themes.

Katie plans on continuing to dance during her college years.

“They have a ballroom dance team at MSU. It’ll be different, but it will still be dance,” she said.


Columbia Central High School
Class of 2018 Top Ten


Katherine Powell – GPA 4.4074

Allison McDevitt – GPA 4.303

Kevin Townsley – GPA 4.2963

Tanner Stevens – GPA 4.2857

Alyssa Rickert – GPA 4.256

Jennifer Panergo – GPA 4.2441

Taylor Gritzmaker – GPA 4.2223

Grace Howland – GPA 4.1964

Rebecca Yang  – GPA 4.1961

Eric Ernvall – GPA 4.1667


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