NSA student keeps a cool head

Published 10:12 pm Monday, June 4, 2012

Pictured outside the school Friday, amid rehearsals for graduation, Meredith DeLuca has been named Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s class of 2012 valedictorian. In the fall, she will attend the University of Richmond.

Fortunately for the motorists with whom she shares the road, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy’s class of 2012 valedictorian keeps a cool head in the face of big news.

“We found out a week ago” that she was valedictorian, Meredith DeLuca said. “I was driving to pick up my brother from exams.”

After answering the call to her cell on a hands-free set, the discovery made her “very, very excited. It was like an unreal place to find that out. It felt really surreal.”

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The race for NSA’s academic top honors was anyone’s call, according to DeLuca. “It was down to the wire,” she said.

She will attend the University of Richmond in the fall, aiming to eventually work in the medical field. “But that could always change,” she added.

The experience of observing medical professionals save her mother’s life after she suffered a heart attack a couple of years ago convinced the teen to pursue a medical career.

“I though it was really amazing what they could do for her,” Meredith DeLuca said.

The experience of doing physical therapy and recovering from surgery after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament also contributed to DeLuca’s intended career choice.

When not pursuing her studies, DeLuca has played basketball and soccer. She has also chaired the NSA Honor Council.

“It was really cool to have that experience,” she said.

Fortunately for her future patients, math and science were her favorite subjects.

She attributes her success to the support and encouragement of her mother, father, stepfather and brother, as well as “all the teachers at NSA who have helped me get to where I am.”

“I love NSA,” she said. “It has been a great place to grow up. I will definitely miss the community, (which) is one of the best things the school has to offer.”

Moving on from the school she has attended since the third grade is a “bittersweet feeling.

“I’m definitely going to miss NSA and home, but it’s an exciting time to try new things and meet new people,” she said. “I do feel well-prepared. NSA has definitely prepared me and my classmates for life outside NSA.”