Haley Weiss has been described as a creative, diligent and inquisitive individual who is respected by adults and peers alike. An AP Scholar who has a near-perfect GPA, she’s earned a National Merit Commendation for a top score on an AP test, which she considers a highlight of her academic career.
“It was just one test but it was a proud achievement because it put me in the top group of students in the nation, and it made me feel that trying hard in school does matter,” she says. “Sometime I stressed myself out over school, and this award made it worth it.”
Weiss moved to Gig Harbor from Arizona as a sophomore and immediately became involved with a Young Life group. It was a new experience so she wasn’t sure it would be a good fit — but since then she’s been able to make many new friends.
She’s also become involved with several clubs at school, including a new group called Girls for Change. The club mentors girls at Purdy Elementary, with the goal of changing school culture.
“We wanted to talk to them before they get to middle school because middle school is where bullying and clicks start happening,” she says. “The girls were shy at first but they were able to open up. It was a great group.”
Weiss has been singing since she was young, and at Gig Harbor became part of concert choir and then Meistersingers. She hopes to continue pursuing her passion for music after graduation, perhaps in a community choir.
“I loved the (Meistersingers) class because everyone supports each other,” she says. “It’s like a big family.”
Her AP calculus teacher, Phyllis Payne, says Weiss “reaches for the highest goal with integrity.”
“In a quiet, gentle, honest way, Haley leads by example. With an ability to sense others’ strengths and weaknesses, she is gifted in including and accepting others in the classroom learning environment,” Payne says.
With a brother in the military and her mother struggling with muscular sclerosis, Weiss has a soft spot for veterans and would like to study MS and post-traumatic stress disorder. Her plan is to major in psychology as an undergraduate and then pursue an advanced degree in neuroscience.
“I loved psychology since freshman biology, when I looked at the human brain for the first time,” she says. “With a neuroscience degree, I hope to be a researcher.”
She’s still finalizing college plans but her two choices are Liberty University and University of Alabama.
Education: Senior, Gig Harbor High School
Parents: Tony and Heidi Weiss
Activities/Achievements: 9 AP/Honors classes, AP Scholar, National Merit Commendation, Meistersingers, Young Life, Girls for Change Club, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honor Society, Mercy Gilbert Medical Center volunteer, Key Club, Henderson Bay High School math tutor
Favorite teacher: Phyllis Payne, calculus. “She has been my teacher for two years and not only is she an amazing teacher, but an amazing role model. She really cares about her students.”
Best thing about high school: “I love how kind, welcoming, genuine and friendly people are here. People want to see others succeed instead of competing over everything and I think that is unique and truly great.”