When I put my mind to something and work hard, I have been able to accomplish the goals I set for myself.
Although Skylar Ronkin took up the sport of pole vaulting her sophomore year, she has vaulted her way from junior kindergarten to senior year having experienced successes of all sorts at NSU University School. Ronkin's commitment to the NSU value of academic excellence is evident in the numerous awards and distinctions she has earned such as being named a National Merit Finalist and Scholarship Winner, National AP Scholar, earning a nearly perfect SAT score, and being named the Valedictorian for the Class of 2019. Furthermore, she has completed 13 AP courses in various subject areas and is currently enrolled in seven AP and Advanced Topics courses. Her perseverance, diligence, and focus motivate her to take on challenges and become involved in the abundant extracurricular opportunities available at USchool. "When I put my mind to something and work hard, I have been able to accomplish the goals I set for myself," Ronkin said.
Ronkin developed a passion for math and science in Middle School, and since then, she has taken the most rigorous STEM-related courses we offer at USchool, including several post-AP courses she is taking this year, such as differential equations and multivariable calculus. Ronkin currently serves as the president of Mu Alpha Theta and has previously served as its treasurer. Additionally, she has competed and placed in multiple math team competitions, serves as a Math Fellow, and has been inducted into the National Science Honor Society. In 2017, she was selected to attend the University of Pennsylvania's Summer Engineering Academy, an intensive, three-week program for high school students that combines theory with hands-on practical experience in cutting-edge technologies. At the Ivy League university, Ronkin earned college credit, lived on campus, and worked alongside faculty members and fellow scholars from around the world. Here, she was faced with the challenge of coding and navigated the unfamiliar territory with persistence and assistance. "I learned that it's OK to ask for help if you need it," Ronkin said. "A challenge is always good, and at the end of the program, I was able to code by myself."
Ronkin has participated in other selective college programs around the country as well. Last year, she participated in Yale Young Global Scholars, a summer academic enrichment and leadership program for outstanding high school students from around the world who desire to be immersed into a global learning community. This past summer, she ventured to the West Coast to participate in the Stanford Summer Humanities Institute, a three-week residential program where rising high school upperclassmen explore the big questions at the heart of the humanities in seminars led by distinguished Stanford professors. The course she took was entitled "The Age of Jefferson," which explored the role of Thomas Jefferson and his contemporaries. She attended daily lectures and examined original documents housed in Stanford's library collection. The course culminated with an individual research project that involved analyzing Jefferson's relationship with France both before and after the French Revolution.
When she's not hitting the books, you can find Ronkin on the track field. She has been a member of the Varsity Track and Field team since her freshman year. Prior to joining the team, Ronkin was a competitive gymnast for 10 years. When she was ready for a change, she decided to explore pole vaulting. Although USchool does not have an official pole vaulting program, she credits the school with being supportive of her pursuing her interest. Most recently, she was named a co-district champion, placed fifth in regionals, and tied for seventh place at the FHSAA 2A Track and Field Championship. Ronkin leads by example on the team, encouraging the Middle School athletes to show their best effort and listen to the coaches. She hopes that she can inspire other athletes to continue to grow the program when she graduates.
Through her collaborative leadership style that involves seeking the input of others, Ronkin has taken an active role in the National Honor Society as its president this year. She confidently coordinates community service initiatives such as beach clean-ups and various fundraisers to support charitable causes. She believes that there is power in numbers and that when students unite, they can make a difference. She has also been involved with the Debbie's Dream club since Middle School as a vice president and vice president of volunteers to help increase awareness for stomach cancer and raise money for research.
Ronkin has been on the Headmaster's Honor Roll since her freshman year and was also awarded with the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Book Award. She will be attending the University of Pennsylvania's Rajendra and Neera Singh Program in Networked and Social Systems Engineering in the fall and plans to study computer science with a focus on entrepreneurship. Ronkin's early start at NSU University School has provided her with a support system that has helped her excel both inside and outside of the classroom. "Being here for this long has made me very comfortable in this environment and has allowed me to grow with my peers who I've known since I was 4 years old, which you don't get at other schools," Ronkin said. She is proud to follow in her brother's footsteps; Jacob graduated from USchool in 2016 at the top of his class and is now attending Duke University. His support along with that of her parents coupled with her innate drive to succeed has shaped her into the resilient, go-getter she is today.
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