Atlanta High School
After Caitlin Morris graduates from Atlanta High School this May, she plans to attend Texas Tech University. She aims to major in biology to attend Texas Tech Medical School later. “After I graduate from medical school, I will look to serve my residency in a major city that offers many different hospitals or offices,” Caitlin says.
Atlanta Independent School District has supported Caitlin’s goals by offering dual credit biology, anatomy and physiology, and chemistry classes. These courses helped her discover the passion that solidified her dreams for the future. “Not only did these classes guide me towards my college and career goals, but they prepared me for the classes I will take for my major,” Caitlin says.
The high school also offers various extracurricular activities that inspired Caitlin to be active in her school community. She began with cheerleading, volleyball, student council, theater, and academic UIL in her freshman year and continued many of these activities throughout her time at Atlanta High School. “I am so grateful that I got involved because I made friends that ended up being more like family through these activities,” Caitlin says.
After serving on the student council for four years, she was elected executive president and has honored her position by working to better her school. While on the student council for four years, Caitlin has been active in the theater department since her freshman year. “I was immediately drawn to the theater because of the immense joy it seemed to bring to all the members involved. Two of my crowning achievements in high school are participating at the state level for prose speaking my junior year and being awarded best performer at the district one-act play level my senior year,” Caitlin says. “Theater has brought me so close to so many people and has made me push my limits for all four years of high school.”
Caitlin advises students not to give up at the start of their high school careers. “At times, it may seem rough, and you will want to stop trying, but you have to push through. You will appreciate it in the long run, especially when you look back and think about all the hard work paying off,” Caitlin says. “As a senior, I have a lot of time to reflect on my past decisions, and what I am most proud of is my unrelenting determination and dedication when it comes to my school work. This does not mean I never questioned myself or my academic prowess. I spent countless nights pouring over the same ten pages of notes wishing I could make myself understand; however, I would not do anything differently if I could go back.”
Though she learned many lessons throughout high school, Caitlin says the most important lesson she learned was not to question her value or worth. “There were many instances in my life where I thought that I was not up to the task presented to me, but every time I put my mind to something, I always come out on top,” Caitlin says. “There will be many more obstacles placed in my path over the next few years, but high school has taught me that there is nothing I cannot overcome on my own. I will never again question what I bring as a student, friend, coworker, or in any other facet of my life.”
Caitlin says that every member of her family has supported and pushed her to be the person and student she is today. When she was only a sophomore, Caitlin’s dad, Joel Morris, accepted an assistant principal job at the same school she attended. “The transition, at first, was difficult, but I learned to appreciate my father always being nearby for emotional and scholarly reasons,” Caitlin says. “My mom, Alisa Morris, started teaching me when I was fourteen in the ninth grade, and I had never been pushed that hard academically. She changed the way I looked at school and the way I looked at biology. After finishing my mom’s freshman year in advanced biology, I knew I wanted to pursue that. My passion and love for science only grew as I took her other classes.”
When Caitlin started high school as a freshman, her brother, Colin Morris, was a junior, and he immediately took his younger sister under his wing. “He protected me as any older brother would, but he never let me forget that I did not need him to protect me. He reinforced what my parents always taught me: that I was strong and independent,” Caitlin says. “I also have a younger sister, Cameryn Morris, who has always been the reason why I do the things I do. I have always wanted her to see me as a positive role model like I saw my brother. She inspires me to improve myself in all the ways I can and continue to persevere, even through the rough patches.”
Caitlin’s family also supported her non-academic interests. In fact, Caitlin says that the most interesting thing about herself that is not present in her college essays or transcripts is her love for makeup. “Ever since I was a little girl, I can vividly remember breaking into my mom’s bathroom to steal all of her ‘good’ makeup, which was weird because I was not raised in typically girly fashion,” Caitlin says. “ In fact, one of my favorite summer activities was collecting worms from my backyard; however, makeup was my one true weakness.” Every Christmas from the time she was six, Caitlin would beg every family member to buy her makeup. Then she would sit in her room and add layers on top of layers until she got the perfect look. “This usually included a blue eyeshadow look with bright red or pink lipstick that only matched in my imagination,” Caitlin says. “This passion for makeup has not left, but it has settled to a bit more of an understated look.”
As Caitlin looks to the future and her big goals to complete medical school, she is inspired by the younger girls who may follow in her footsteps one day. “It is important to me that younger girls have a positive role model to look up to, and I thought about that when I held leadership roles, acted on stage, or decided that women belong at the STEM table,” Caitlin says. “Many women have come before me and laid the groundwork for the house I will continue to build, but I want those girls younger than me to feel at home in these areas. There have been so many instances in my life where I have looked to these strong, independent women to get me through a tough time. All I want in the world is to be that role model for some little girl—and if it happens to be my little sister, that would just be great”.