West valedictorian could miss graduation for state soccer tourney

The Graduate

By Marc Strauss

July 15, 2010 Updated May 28, 2008 at 8:41 PM CDT

Playing in the state soccer tournament for the second year in a row is a dream come true for Normal West senior Michelle Peterson.

"Especially since its our senior year," said captain Michelle Peterson. "A perfect season, that’s what we’re hoping for. It’s amazing."

But success has its price. You see, Michelle is Normal West's valedictorian – which means, at the same time the Wildcats might be playing for a state championship, she's supposed to speak at Saturday's graduation ceremony. Michelle has decided to play.

"I worked really hard for 4 years for my grades. But when it comes down to it there’s not way I would miss out on state. I would be kicking myself – no pun intended."

They say nobody's perfect, but Michelle seems to be. She's a 4.0 student and a member of the top All–State Honor Band. And her soccer team has won every game – a perfect 26–0 heading into Friday's quarterfinal versus St. Ignatius.

"One of the things that impressed me early on about Michelle is that her peers voted her as a captain," said Normal West coach Val Walker. "Its not just me respecting her but she has the respect of her entire team."

The Wildcats are ranked as high as 5th in the nation. Michelle says this year they're not just happy to be in the Elite-8. They want to win.

"We have to lay it all on the line. This is the seniors’ last chance to win a state title and I feel like we’re more prepared."

If the Wildcats win it all Michelle will appear at graduation on tape. Maybe she’ll give another speech at the victory rally.

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