AUSTIN’s RISING STARS
Deciding on what she wants to be when she grows up was not difficult for 15-year-old Austin Voice Academy High School freshman, Kristina Laporschia Hall.
“Ever since I was small, I have wanted to do something with my hands to help people, so why not become a doctor,” she said.
Kristina, a 4.0-grade point average student, who loves math and science and claims biology as her favorite subject, plans to attend De Paul University or Illinois Institute of Technology and become a heart surgeon. She has already had some practice by caring for a pair of wounded birds which fell from a tree and by dissecting a frog in sixth grade.
“I felt sad for the frog,” Kristina said, “but I kept cutting. The birds had fell and were hanging on a branch. The mother bird never came back, so I sneaked the birds into the house and hid them under my bed so I could take them to school for show and tell,” she said. “The birds kept chirping. My mother kept asking ‘what’s that?’, so my sister and I said that it was us, and we starting making bird noises. We started saying ‘chirp, chirp.'”
In the morning, Kristina took the birds to school for show and tell, after which the teacher took the birds to a place for treatment. As a child, and still even today, Kristina is famous for taking in and helping stray and wounded animals, most times, without her mother’s knowledge.
“I saw this cat in the back yard and I said, ah, come here, and I took him in,” she said.
Kristina and her older sister, 17-year-old Kiyera, are and have always been really close. The two share a bedroom and support each other in school work and personal ambitions. They live with and are greatly supported by their mother, Bernice Hall. Kristina loves sports, especially baseball and basketball. She runs track and enjoys reading mysteries. She describes herself as a computer geek and confesses to staying up sometimes until 2 a.m. surfing the web.
“I can tell you where to go to find anything,” Kristina said. “I like to play games like Gia online where you can play with your friends. I stay online until my mom tells me to get off.”
Kristina, who said she didn’t plan on getting straight As, is quite diligent in her studying. Her formula is focusing and paying attention in class and completing her work. She devotes one to three hours a night to doing homework. “I didn’t think I would get straight As,” Kristina said, “but I kept trying. I knew I had to focus and put my mind to it.”
In regards to being successful in school, the advice Kristina says she would give to students is to “do less playing around and talking in school. Put your focus on your school work and your future.”
Kristina says she goes over her work at least five times, and then if she still doesn’t have it, she asks for help. As for fear, “get over it,” Kristina said.
Kristina attends Austin VOISE Academy, a high school which uses a computer-based curriculum where all students have access to lap-tops and their work is completed on computers. Kristina said she enjoys attending VOISE. “I enjoy all my classes,” she said. “I thought it would be really great to work with computers.
Kristina not only wants to help animals, but she wants to help her community as well. When she is older, she hopes to donate lots of money to a charity. “Because I like to help people,” she said. “I want to give money to a charity to help buy clothes for people and to give them a stable place to stay.”
Kristina likes to write poetry, although she seldom shares it with anyone. One day, a friend got hold of one of her poems and loved it. “I write what I’m feeling,” Kristina said. “I write whatever comes to mind. I keep it to myself. I really didn’t think people would be interested in it.”
Kristina is caring and supportive of her fellow students. When asked how she would help someone who she thought had low self esteem, she said, “I would encourage them to believe in themselves. I would tell them that appearance doesn’t matter and not to let anyone tell you there is something wrong with you or the way you look. There is some one out there that thinks you are beautiful, so believe in yourself.”
Kristina said the legacy she wants to leave regarding the time she attended Austin VOISE Academy is to have someone say, “Wow, we had the most famous doctor in our school and I can’t believe it,” she said.
Kristina is well on her way to great success. Her goals are set and the path has been charted. Her future plans include helping her family, her community and the world. She plans to get married and have two children and to adopt two children, doing all of this while becoming a surgeon, and certainly, one of the best and brightest stars to have ever come from the Austin community.
Editor’s note: Loretta Ragsdell is profiling Austin High School students for their exceptional academics and community activism. If you know of Austin students we should profile, please contact Terry Dean, editor, at email@example.com.