Central valedictorian Lizzie Nussbaum paved her way through school on her own terms

Thursday, July 5, 2012
Cape Girardeau Central High School valedictorian Sarah Elizabeth "Lizzie" Nussbaum will attend the University of Missouri-Columbia this fall on a scholarship and dreams of becoming a doctor. She was president of the National Honor Society and Spanish Club, a member of the debate team, a cheerleader all four years and played piano as a hobby. (ADAM VOGLER ~ avogler@semissourian.com)

Lizzie Nussbaum didn't let anyone tell her something she wanted to do was too much work. That it was too hard.

"Don't listen to anyone when they ask why you would want to do that," said Cape Girardeau Central High School's valedictorian of the class of 2012, when asked what advice she would give to others who want to do well academically.

Having a little fear of a challenge while not letting that get in the way helped her success, she said.

"I think if you aren't at least a little afraid of your schedule when you sign up for the next year's classes, you aren't challenging yourself enough," she said.

Sarah Elizabeth, or Lizzie, as most people know her, wants to become a doctor. This fall she will enter college at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she will declare her major as premed with a focus in biomedical engineering and Spanish. She's already well on her way to having experience in the medical field and as a speaker of another language -- the latter which she said is "just necessary" to work as a doctor today. Besides, she wants to travel.

In high school she dedicated much time to studying Spanish by developing a good relationship with her teacher and staying after school to practice. She borrowed books, CDs and videos and practiced at home, too. It was her favorite subject, and she said she'll definitely use it in the future.

This summer she is shadowing a doctor at Saint Francis Medical Center -- not for credit, but for the experience.

Nussbaum said she knows not everyone who says they want to become a doctor while in high school actually ends up becoming one. It is a challenge, she admits. It is hard work. She thinks her chances are pretty good.

eragan@semissourian.com

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