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New Life Academy graduate profile: Rogness gets a head start

Tori Rogness was named valedictorian of New Life Academy's class of 2016. She will attend the University of Minnesota Twin Cities this fall. (Bulletin photo by Danielle Killey)

Tori Rogness just graduated from high school, but she already is working in her chosen field.

Rogness became a certified nursing assistant about two years ago and has worked in senior care in Afton and Stillwater. Building on her background, the New Life Academy graduate will attend the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities this fall to study neuroscience, with a plan to be pre-med and become a doctor.

“I’ve always known I wanted to do something in health care,” Rogness said. “It’s really great to help other people who can’t always help themselves.”

She said she took a summer course at age 16 to get her CNA certification and worked at Afton Care and most recently Golden Living Center in Stillwater.

“It’s a rewarding and giving job,” she said of working with seniors in health care.

Plans to attend medical school come with plenty of studying, but Rogness likely is prepared — she was named valedictorian of her class of 60 seniors at Woodbury’s New Life Academy.

Earning the top academic honor was exciting, Rogness said, though she joked the thrill was partially dampened when she realized it came with the assignment of giving a speech at the May 20 graduation ceremony.

Still, Rogness said she was glad to have her efforts recognized.

“I’m happy that all of my work paid off,” she said.

On top of her work as a CNA, Rogness has stayed busy during her high school career. She played varsity soccer for four years and was named captain as a senior, and also was a member of the school’s student council and was secretary of the National Honor Society.

“I have a lot of interests and I wanted to take advantage of the leadership opportunities,” Rogness said.

She said the small class size at New Life gave her the chance to be involved in so many activities and to take on those leadership roles, and also offered the opportunity to make strong connections with her classmates.

The University of Minnesota’s thousands of students might be somewhat of a shock next fall, Rogness said, but she is looking forward to the new experiences of college.

“You can make anything a small school if you try hard enough,” she added.

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