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Sterling High School November Student of the Month: Akira Tanton

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Akira Tanton, 17, of Sterling is one of Sterling High School's November Students of the Month. The Sterling teen has big plans for life after high school. She leaves in June for basic training in the Air Force National Guard as a nurse. Then she’ll continue on to tech school. She’s also been accepted into the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she’s received an academic full-ride[]

Akira Tanton, 17, of Sterling is one of Sterling High School’s November Students of the Month. Her mother is Lindsay Tanton and she has a sister, Liberty, and a brother, Devin.  

Favorite class: Anatomy or AP literature and composition. In anatomy I loved learning about the structure of the body and the amazing things that we are capable of. In AP lit we had compelling discussions that made me think about things differently.

Least-favorite class: AP music theory. I took this class to challenge myself in a subject that I am not proficient in. It has definitely done that and it is very interesting, however I ​have found that learning about 18th century musical techniques is not my favorite thing in the world.  

Favorite teacher: Nicole Schlemmer. I am a student who always goes in for questions if I do not understand the material. Mrs. Schlemmer always takes the time to fully answer my questions.

School activities in which you participate: Movement Club, Science Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Key Club, Student Council, Latino Club, National Honor Society, diving, basketball, track, senior class treasurer, jazz band, Young Doctors League.

Church, volunteer or activities in which you participate: I volunteer in the nursery at Abiding Word Church and help with events there. I have also been on two mission trips through the First Congregational Church.

Do you have a job? I play trombone for the Sterling Municipal Band. I also have enlisted in the Air National Guard, so I go to drill one weekend a month. 

What will you do after high school? In September I enlisted in the Air Force National Guard as a 4NOX1 (basically an Air Force nurse). I leave in early June for basic training. I will graduate in August and then continue on to tech school until February or March. I also have been accepted into the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago and have received an academic full ride, which includes housing, tuition, a laptop and a meal plan for 4 years.

What is something you learned in high school that you think you’ll never use? We experimented with dowsing rods in AP chemistry It was fun, but I don’t think I will need to find an underground source of water anytime soon. 

What’s one thing in your life you can’t do without? My education. I am thankful for the opportunities I have been provided, and I don’t think I would be able to function in the world without my strong educational background. 

What is your advice for surviving high school? Never give up. No matter what grade you get on a test, or what happens in your personal life, there is always a solution. You have the potential to solve your problem and excel in the future.

If you could try any job for the day, what would it be? Aerial photographer. I would love to see the natural patterns in the landscape as well as be able to view beautiful architecture from above.

If you could go anywhere in the world for free, where would it be? Morocco. The colorful structures there are beautiful and so different from the basic slate-gray architecture of the U.S. I would also love to see the natural elements of the country, such as Ouzoud Falls. 

What is a good book you have read recently? “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas gives an inside look on an unjust altercation between a white police officer and an African-American boy. As the sole witness in the murder case and the victim’s best friend, Starr is forced to grapple with the repercussions of the incident. 

What is your proudest moment? I wouldn’t say I have one particular moment that I deem my “proudest.” But I can say I am proud every time I push myself out of my comfort zone, whether I succeed or fail. I am proud of what I have accomplished and I plan to continue to push my limits in college. 

Who is your hero/role model? I’ve never really had a role model who I have looked up to, except for Jesus, of course. After all, if you model your life off of an imperfect human (a celebrity, a friend, etc.) then what will you end up being? 

What do you think your life will be like 10 years from now? I hope to be in medical school pursuing a career that will challenge me. And if not that, I at least want to find another profession that I love. I also hope to have started a family, but I’m not in a hurry. I just hope to be a positive person living to my fullest potential and helping others do the same. 

Is there anything else you want people to know about you? I may act super serious at school, but around my family and friends I’m pretty different. It has kind of become a family tradition to make dance videos at family gatherings. Our latest one was a parody of “The Single Ladies” by Beyoncé. We plan to send it to Steve Harvey as an audition video to get on “Family Feud.” 

What is your life’s philosophy? Do what you want to do. This life has been given to you for you to succeed and be happy. If someone is trying to bring you down, they’re not worth having in your life. Help others, love yourself and don’t regret your actions because you can’t change them. 

Shout out to: My grandparents, who have laid the foundation for me to be successful. And thank you to all my teachers that have helped me along the way. 

What is your favorite…

App? Strava or Instagram

Food? Pizza, celery with dill dip, and chocolate chip cheesecake

Movie? “The Patriot,” or “Newsies”

TV show? “The Bachelor/Bachelorette”