Big Walnut’s Alley going places
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Big Walnut’s Darian Alley hopes to someday live in France.
“I’m going places; I’m leaving here,” she said.
With plans to double major in international communications and political science and minor in French, her goal is to someday work with the French government.
“I think the French culture is really cool,” she said, noting the language, the history and why they don’t shave themselves, she said with a laugh.
While never in the country herself, she has hopes to go after graduation or at least to visit during a study abroad experience.
Taking French IV honors this year, Darian said she came to love the language during her freshman year and developed a passion for the culture soon after. Although her foreign language focus was on Spanish during her middle school years, when she reached high school she decided the French language would be more useful — 32 to 34 countries in the world speak French while Spanish is spoken in only 16, she noted.
Denise Duncan has been Darian’s French teacher for the past three years and is currently her French IV Honors teacher.
“Darian is very outgoing and she is a true leader,” Duncan said. “She is constantly volunteering her time. Our French classes are sponsoring a family for Christmas this year, and she was the first person to volunteer to go out shopping for them. She is a very hard working and conscientious student.”
Schools that Darian is considering next year include Boston, Xavier (where she has already been accepted) and Georgetown universities. She said Georgetown is “a shot in the dark. “But I’d hate myself if I didn’t try,” she added. “I definitely want go to an out-of-state college.”
Darian recently returned home from a week in the Bahamas for a marine biology trip that she said was “kind of life-changing.”
With no electronics, cellphone or iPad, she lived in a cabin with cockroaches where the toilet didn’t always work. Yet, she said she loved the experience.
Knowing that home will always be here, she said, makes it easier to look forward to traveling.
BW science teacher Nadine Adams also traveled to the Bahamas as part of the school’s marine biology trip. Adams had Darian in class as a sophomore and found her a strong academic student, but the marine biology trip allowed Adams to “watch Darian as a senior interacting with her peers, many of whom were younger, in a different way.
“She was a very strong, positive role model as well as fun, enthusiastic and energetic. She’s taken the role along with another student of producing a DVD of the trip. This again speaks highly of Darian’s initiative,” Adams said.
Senior year has been “awesome,” Darian said. She gets out of classes early each day, but stays busy taking leadership roles in several areas. She is captain of Big Brothers Big Sisters and civic president of Leo.
Darian is also involved in Science Olympiad, which is just getting underway for the year. The team reached invitationals last year. The team is growing, Darian said, and the program is pretty challenging.
She also volunteers teaching French to preschoolers and plans to volunteer at the elementary level in the near future.
In addition to her classes which include French, video broadcasting (where she is producing the Bahama memories video along with weekly news shows), advanced placement psychology and English, Darian also works 16 hours a week at a local restaurant.
Saving money from her job, Darian hopes to also have an opportunity next summer to work at Boys and Girls Club of America in Colorado.
“Honestly, I’m just really excited about the future,” she said. Even if she is away at school, she knows her sister, who she calls her best friend, will come visit, so family will not be far away. “I’m a little nervous, but really excited. Yeah, it’s hard to say good-bye. I’m not good at it, so I do not think about it, she said.
“I worked hard every year at high school and it’s paid off in the end. I have a good reputation, leadership roles and 150 hours in community service. My goal is 200 hours.”
Her advice to others is to “stay motivated and look at the finish line.”
Darian is the daughter of Andy and Kendra Alley of Galena.