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2013 Graduates: Park's Lindstrom and Linn took a similar path to the top

Carlyn Lindstrom (left) and Lisa Linn are close friends and finished first and second, respectively, in their 2013 class at Park High School. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente

Carlyn Lindstrom and Lisa Linn have known for a couple of years they were at the top of their class at Park High School.

But it was never a competition between the two close friends for the No. 1 spot - or was it?

"There is a hardcore competition," Linn admitted with a laugh.

That surprised Lindstrom.

"Really? I don't feel like there is a competition," she said.

The two can joke about their rankings - Lindstrom is Park's top senior, Linn is No. 2 - because they have been close for several years and are part of a tight-knit group of friends set to graduate Saturday, June 1.

With a weighted GPA of roughly 4.3, Lindstrom's top honors made her Park's 2013 valedictorian.

Lindstrom said she didn't dwell on her class ranking.

"For me, rank was never the goal," she said. "I just wanted to do the best I possibly could."

As salutatorian, Linn expects to wrap up her high school career with a 4.16 GPA.

Lindstrom and Linn have traveled similar paths through their years at Park. Each has gone through the school's International Baccalaureate program, with its intense curriculum, extended essay project and college-prep exams. Lindstrom is a full-diploma candidate; Linn has taken an IB-heavy course load.

Both seniors said their key to success has been to remain organized. They maintained meticulous activity and assignment details in their school-issued planners and kept structured schedules in order to best use their time. They juggled school with a number of after-school activities, homework and a social life.

Neither had a job through school - there was no time - but both took a break from the books on Friday nights and Saturdays to relax before spending most of their Sundays studying.

Linn said she enjoys learning and concepts came easy to them but they still had to study hard to do well, particularly with the difficult International Baccalaureate curriculum.

"I was definitely challenged," Lindstrom said.

Linn said she has heard from former International Baccalaureate students that the program will prepare them well for college.

Their release from academics is the stage. They have participated in more than a dozen Park theater productions, in addition to the One-Act Play competition and the school's International Thespian Society. They both have built play sets; in fact, most of their Saturdays throughout the school year were spent working on sets for various plays. In addition, Lindstrom has acted and Linn has worked as a technician for school performances.

"It's like a family," Linn said of the theater students. "It's like a home away from home."

Their paths will diverge next fall.

Lindstrom is headed to Wellesley College in Massachusetts. Lindstrom said she was drawn to the high-level women's college after visiting the campus outside Boston and meeting with some of the school's alumnae.

"It just felt really perfect," she said.

Lindstrom will major in neuroscience, but acknowledged she has other academic interests and could change her major.

Linn is undecided on a major as she prepares to start at the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering, as her academic interests are science and math.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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