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Graduation 2012: East Ridge High School's top student dreams big

East Ridge High School's top graduating senior Anushua Bhatteacharya will graduate June 3 with a GPA of 4.42. Bhatteacharya will be attending Columbia University in the fall where she will study neuroscience.

It's been four years in the making but East Ridge High School senior, and top ranked student, Anushua Bhatteacharya will be taking the final walk of her high school career on June 3.

"It's going to be a big change," she said. "But I'm looking forward to meeting new people."

Bhatteacharya, of Woodbury, will graduate with a GPA of 4.42.

Bhatteacharya said she watched her class ranking very closely since early on in high school she set a goal of being the best.

"I made that goal to do as best as you can and reach for something high," she said.

When she officially learned that she had made the grades to be named East Ridge's top student, Bhatteacharya said she was very proud.

"It felt good to know that all of the hard work paid off," she said.

Bhatteacharya said she attributes her academic success to her study habits and time management.

On average, Bhatteacharya said she would study between four and five hours per night, but that number often fluctuated based on what classes she was taking at the time.

"I'm the type of person who has to drown everything out so I study with music," she said. "Once I get going I'm pretty focused."

Dedicating so much time to studying and academics, Bhatteacharya said, does come with a trade-off.

Bhatteacharya said she had to give up participation in sports, and other extracurricular activities, to ensure that she could balance schoolwork with everything else.

"It comes down to what you want to do with your time and where you see yourself growing the most," she said. "If you do want to balance studying and activities you do give up something else -- probably sleep."

During her high school career, Bhatteacharya said her best memories came from the school football games and inside jokes in her classes.

Bhatteacharya said her favorite classes over the past four years have been math and science.

"I like the fact that it's very concrete and that there is only one right answer," she said. "But there is some creativity to how you come up with the answer."

However, Bhatteacharya said this year English became her favorite class.

"I enjoy reading and hearing the teachers' analysis," she said.

She will be jetting off to New York City later this year when she attends Columbia University.

Bhatteacharya said her intent is to study neuroscience, with an emphasis in economics, before enrolling in medical school. Her career goal is to be a neurologist.

Bhatteacharya gives this advice to next year's seniors: "You've got to dream big to be big," she said. "You'd be surprised how far you can actually go."

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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