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East Ridge High School's salutatorian: 'Just wanted to do the very best I could'

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education Cottage Grove, 55016

Cottage Grove Minnesota 7584 80th Street South 55016

At the start of his high school career, East Ridge High School senior Thomas Bearrood made a goal for himself to do his best.

Bearrood's hard work has paid off. His 4.28 GPA has earned him the title of East Ridge High School's 2011 salutatorian, the second-ranked student.

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"I just wanted to get as good of grades as I possibly could," he said. "I guess it worked out. I didn't ever feel like I'm competing because I just wanted to do the very best I could."

Bearrood will next attend St. Olaf College to study chemistry.

"It's exciting to be able to start a new chapter in my life," he said.

Bearrood said highlights from his high school career include coming to East Ridge.

"It's been very open and inviting here and I've made a lot of new friends," he said. "At first there was that awkwardness of trying to figure out where you belong and where you fit in, but now I enjoy getting here 15-20 minutes early to meet with friends.

"Plus, beating Woodbury High School in football was a fun night."

Bearrood said his favorite class, advanced placement chemistry, also brought many fond memories.

"My lab partner and I would sometimes deviate from the lab when we were finished, so that was pretty entertaining," he said.

Bearrood attributes his high ranking to his hard work.

"It was putting forth lots of extra effort," he said. "It was spending lots of time on those essays."

Even though Bearrood spent considerable time studying and working toward achieving a high GPA, he said he didn't feel he lost out on any part of his high school experience.

Bearrood played for the school's tennis and soccer teams.

"I always have time for fun and still am able to get stuff done," he said. "You just have to be focused when you do do the work.

"Time management has definitely been the number one thing I learned in school."

Bearrood gives these words of wisdom for future seniors: "Enjoy your year, have some school pride, support your friends and go to the school events."

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