Natalie Kotch said her peers wanted her to be valedictorian before she knew she wanted the role. 

The grade 12 St. Timothy High School student said her friends have been mentioning it to her since Jr. High and she was unsure at first but felt confident as the school year drew closer to the end. 

Kotch said she volunteers at St. Mary's Parish, she's a competitive dancer at Snap Dance Studios and she's had the highest academic average in her class since grade 8. 

"I'm a part of the high school band, I play the flute. I'm also on our student advisory council, and there's only three students on it in high school. One in grade 10 and 11 and, I'm the grade 12 representative." 

Natale Kotch

St. Timothy High School celebrated their graduation ceremony on May 26.

It was a very small class, with just 24 students graduating. 

She said she was nervous leading up to her speech, but was impressed with how it went. 

"I tried to make eye contact with my classmates and express myself and my feelings. I think that helped me with the speech, and made it more natural and easier to do."  

Kotch has some advice for her fellow grads.

"Enjoy the time that you have, and if you have a goal, work towards it and try your best. Take your personality into account, and use that to strengthen what you want."

She's enrolled in the University of Alberta Bachelor in Science with honours in Physiology for the fall, and said she's interested in pursuing a career in the medical field.