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Profile on the salutatorian: Senior maintains academic, filmmaking excellence

The throes of “senioritis” capture many students in their final year of high school, leaving them burned out and unwilling to work hard in their classes.

However, senior Mitchell Callisch has maintained his academic efforts and standards throughout school, attaining the second-highest GPA in his class, and being named salutatorian.

Quiring: Mitchell, how does it feel to be named the salutatorian?

Callisch: Being named salutatorian of my class is an immense honor. I’ve worked so hard and it feels great to be recognized for all of my effort and hard work.

Quiring: Did you expect the award? Did you work towards it?

Callisch: I didn’t necessarily expect the award; I knew I was high up in my class rank, but I was still thrilled when I found out. Going through high school, I didn’t work with the award in mind, I just strove to do my best in everything I did.

Quiring: Are you disappointed that you’re not the valedictorian?

Callisch: No. How could I be? Being named salutatorian is a huge honor and I know that I worked my hardest throughout my years in high school.

Quiring: What was your motivation to do so well in school throughout high school?

Callisch: I’ve always had a desire for success. Throughout my entire life in everything I do, I’ve always sought excellence. Whether it be school work or following my passion for making films I aim to do the best that I can. I set a high standard for myself.

Quiring: I heard that you took all four offered AP tests. Why?

Callisch: Three of the four that I took I actually had classes in (AP Calculus, AP Literature and Composition and US History). While I was already over the required units for social studies, I thought I would challenge myself this year to take up AP US History in addition to my other classes. Mrs. [Molly] Sargent, [AP English teacher], encouraged all of us in the AP Literature and Composition class to take the Language test as well, and being the over-achiever that I am, I jumped on board.

Quiring: What is your proudest achievement in high school?

Callisch: My proudest achievement in high school actually is very recent–winning the SlickRock Student Film Festival. Filmmaking is my greatest passion and I have had finalists in the festival for the past three years.

This year was definitely an exciting year in video for me, and I won Best Five Minute Comedy BlockBuster with my film The Great Race (also known as the Delivery Dash), and Riley Endicott and I won the Comcast Achievement award (Best in Show) with our music video Butterfly. [Both videos can be seen on The Feather.] Winning those awards was one of the greatest moments as filmmaking is something I want to pursue for the rest of my life.

Quiring: Where did you apply to college, and where will you go? Why?

Callisch: I applied to Biola University and will attend as a major in their Cinema and Media arts academy. I chose Biola not only because of their prestigious film school but because I want to learn film in a Christian environment and how I can use the medium of film to help spread God’s Word.

Quiring: How important do you rank academics in your life?

Callisch: Throughout my life, academics have been a top priority. I would always devote time and energy ensuring that I did my best and understood what I was learning I considered academics to be a crucial part to succeeding in the future in not only what I learn but the lessons learned through working to achieve success.

Quiring: What is the number one thing you learned in high school?

Callisch: The number one thing I’ve learned in high school is that God will always be there for me. Time and time again God found a way to remind me of this as I struggled through. We?ll learn things and we’ll forget things but no matter what God will always be there. He has a plan for us.

Quiring: What are you planning to say in your speech? What is one thing you would hope your fellow high school students and graduates would remember?

Callisch: God has touched my life in so many ways throughout my time at Fresno Christian, and I want to share some of that along with my personal experiences of growth and triumph.

Quiring: Are you nervous about the speech?

Callisch: I’m not really nervous. I enjoy public speaking and I hope that people will be able to take something away from my speech.

Quiring: Who has been the biggest impact on your life? Who has been your mentor in high school?

Callisch: My father has been the biggest impact. Being a teacher at Fresno Christian, he has always been there for me at home and at school. It’s been great being able to see him every day and know that If I need something I can go to him. I know if I have a question or am in need of advice my dad will be able to give it. He’s especially been there for me to help me grow in my abilities in filmmaking, helping me come up with stories and providing constructive guidance.

Quiring: What is the most beneficial class you’ve taken? The hardest?

Callisch: The class that has had been of the greatest benefit to me during my time at Fresno Christian is video productions. While not an academic class, it has allowed me to practice and perfect the art of filmmaking. Filmmaking is what I plan on doing for the rest of my life and video productions here has enabled me to grow in my passion and my talents for this art form.

The most challenging class I’ve ever taken would probably be AP Calculus this year with Mr. [Mike] Fenton, although it is definitely the most fun math class I’ve taken.

Quiring: What is your greatest ambition or job after college?

Callisch: I will continue to do the best that I can in everything I do and academics will always be of major importance to me. However, in college I do not want to overwhelm myself; I want to be able to focus on and refine my talent in filmmaking.

Quiring: How do you think being salutatorian will benefit you?

Callisch: Being salutatorian will give me something to look back on. It is a representation of all the hard work I’ve put in through my years at FC. It will serve as a reminder that hard work, dedication and the desire for excellence has its rewards in the end.

The graduation ceremony will begin at 7 p.m. in the Peoples Church sanctuary, May 29.

For a profile on the valedictorian, Mary Sargent, visit the May 28 article, Profile on the valedictorian: Curiosity propels academic success.

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  • L

    Logan RoodDec 7, 2010 at 12:01 am

    I remember when Chandler was walking around with this on his mouth! He definitely scared me when he tapped me on the back while I turned around! Nice prank, Chandler!

  • L

    Laura CasugaOct 23, 2010 at 12:01 am

    I can see why he was frightening the citizens . . . freaky!

  • H

    Hoi-Ting WuOct 23, 2010 at 12:01 am

    How come the picture of the mouth is totally fix Chandler’s