Teagan Horkan is a highly accomplished scholar, top athlete and a leader who’s been actively involved at school and in the community. Ranked No. 1 academically while taking more than a dozen advanced courses, he says he has matured in the last four years by learning how to better manage his workload.
“I’ve gained confidence in myself, knowing that I can accomplish whatever challenge I set,” he says. “There were times when I would get overwhelmed with assignments but I learned how to work through that and I’m much less stressed now.”
Jim Mills, who was his AP environmental science teacher, says Horkan is one of only two students who have achieved the status of National Merit Scholar semifinalist in Mills’ 13 years of teaching at Peninsula High.
“His intellectual competence and gracious personality are well received by his peers,” Mills says. “In addition to his intelligence and his modest and gracious personality, he has exhibited much altruism toward his school and community.”
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That altruism includes being active with the Interact Club, a community service club sponsored by the Rotary. John Winslow, the Interact adviser, says Horkan “shows a level of responsibility not often seen in students his age.”
“Teagan has consistently demonstrated outstanding leadership among his peers, and meets every challenge with enthusiasm,” Winslow says.
Athletics have been a major focus for Horkan, who started out with soccer at age 3 and “played a sport every season since then.” Growing up in a family of athletes, Horkan says he learned to not only improve himself through sports but also enjoy the social experience of meeting new people.
In high school, he’s been a runner on the cross-country and track teams. This year, the cross-country team placed 12th at state.
“I like the culture and atmosphere of the team,” Horkan says. “It’s a team sport because you’re helping the team but also individual because you’re making and reaching your own goals.”
His competitive nature is also evident on the Speech and Debate team and Knowledge Bowl. Earlier this year, the Knowledge Bowl team won second place at state.
“Knowledge Bowl is one of the most fun things I’ve done in high school,” he says. “It’s a way to exercise something you don’t normally do because you have to test your general knowledge.”
Horkan plans to study bioengineering in college. He hasn’t decided on a career path yet but is considering medical school as well as research.
“I’ve always been interested in biology and wanted to be a doctor,” he says. “But I think just being a doctor would not be as exciting as being involved with research and engineering the (tools) doctors use.”
Education: Senior, Peninsula High School
Parents: Tom and Becky Horkan
Activities/Achievements: Ranked No. 1 academically; 14 AP/Honors classes; AP Scholar with Honor/Distinction; Commended National Merit Scholar; SPSL Outstanding Junior; Scholar Athlete; varsity track, cross-country; JV soccer team captain; Knowledge Bowl state competitor; Speech and Debate captain and state competitor; Ping Pong Club co-founder; National Honor Society president; volunteer for Relay for Life, Rotary Auction and other events; Interact Club; Environmental Club
Favorite teacher: Jim Mills, AP environmental science, “because of his dedication to teaching and his unique ability to connect real world examples and extra curricular experiences to his curriculum.”
Best thing about high school: “The teachers, because in my experience, all are willing to accommodate different learning styles, cut into their personal time to help students and all demonstrate a passion that promotes a culture of excellence, which makes them the most important part of the school.”