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Sadlier turns Tarrier green into Cardinal red

Sadlier turns Tarrier green into Cardinal red

posted 9.12.2012

By Althea Cawley-Murphree
It has been nearly a year since Sarah Sadlier sent off her first college applications, but this week she is finally packing her bags and saying her final goodbyes to friends and family before she heads south to become a Cardinal.
When she began the application process, Sadlier, like most students, was not entirely sure where she wanted to attend college. She had gone on the Northeast college Winterim tour her junior year and visited Stanford and Santa Clara during the spring break that followed. 
“I did not seriously start considering colleges until the end of my junior year, and even in the fall of my senior year, I was not sure where I would most like to attend. I knew that I wanted a school that had significant funding for research, as well as strong history and biology departments. Another main criteria was an institution at which I could double major,” she recalls. 
Since Sadlier’s primary academic interest is American Colonial history, many of the schools she applied to are on the East Coast. However, it was a West Coast school that rose above the rest as she made her way through the process. Her ultimate choice was Stanford University, but it is one thing to choose Stanford and quite another to be chosen by the school’s selective admissions committee. 
Sadlier grew up in Gig Harbor, the oldest of Scott and Jenifer Sadlier’s two children. She entered Charles Wright in third grade as her brother Tyler ’15 became a kindergartener here. She threw herself into the school’s academic, athletic and artistic offerings and put herself on a trajectory toward making herself one of the most sought-after college applicants in the country. What made her stand out the most, say her teachers, was that she pursued every opportunity because she loved the challenge, not because she was concerned with what would most impress an admissions officer. And that, in turn, did impress admissions officers.
When she walked across the lawn in front of the Upper School at CWA’s commencement ceremony last June, Sadlier became one of just eight CWA graduates to depart with a 4.0 cummulative GPA. She was the recipient of the school’s World Language Award for Spanish, Senior English Award, Doc Neunherz History Award, and Senior Book Award, as well as a member of the Cum Laude Society. She enrolled in seven Advanced Placement courses at Charles Wright - European history, US history, calculus AB, calculus, chemistry, English literature, and Spanish literature - but her interests were even broader than her schedule. 
“I’ve always been attracted to the natural sciences, but my schedule did not permit me to take everything I wanted to take, so I just studied those topics on my own,” she says. Sadlier studied independently and took the AP exams in world history, US government, psychology, English composition, biology, and environmental science. She and Anthony Wohns ‘12 set a new school record for the most AP tests ever taken and passed by a CWA student - 13. The College Board named her a National AP Scholar based on the quantity and quality of her scores.
  
Despite her broad interests, one field has always stood out for Sadlier as the most intriguing: history. It became her passion in Lower School and her interest continued to grow through Middle School. She particularly enjoyed the Williamsburg trip in fifth grade with Ms. Mihata and the seventh grade exhibit assignment in Jenise Petrich’s Northwest history class.
She participated in National History Day, conducting original research on General George Marshall, the marine chronometer, Upton Sinclair, and the North Carolina Regulators. She won won two state championships and as a sophomore won the Ken Coskey Naval Award for the best project in the country related to naval history. As a senior she won first place in the nation for her research paper. Additionally, the exhibit that she constructed on the history of the marine chronometer was displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and is now on permanent exhibit in the Washington State History Museum. Her national award-winning paper will be published in the November edition of The History Teacher and read by history teachers all across the country. 
    
A devoted member of the school’s Knowledge Bowl team, in her senior year, she also won both the National History Bowl State Championship and National History Bee State Championship. She attended the national competition as a one-woman team and made it to the playoffs in the bowl, where she faced teams of four. In the bee, she was ranked 22nd in the nation. “I was one of the six girls out of the 186 finalists present at the bee. When I was competing in the bowl, virtually every team I faced consisted of four boys, except for one that was three boys and one girl.” 
Prior to her senior year, Sadlier conducted independent research on the War of Regulation, an 18th century conflict in the North Carolina backcountry. Over the summer, she accumulated more than 180 resources through interlibrary loans and began writing her mini-dissertation.  She submitted her 109-page paper to the prestigious Concord Review, which published her work in the Spring 2012 edition. Her paper won the Emerson Prize for the best paper in this year’s volume of the journal. She was also named a 2012 National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar. 
Sadlier is not all about academics; she has participated in a variety of school activities. During her four years of high school, she served as ASB secretary and as a member of the track and soccer teams. She was president of many clubs, including Science Bowl and Model U.N., with which she attended University of Washington and Harvard conferences.
Music also played a significant role in her life. She participated in the pit for the production Your A Good Man, Charlie Brown! and was a stage-manager for the One Acts. “I began taking piano at the age of five and continued lessons until the tenth grade. By the end, I was required to memorize 57 pages worth of music for my final recital.” In sixth grade, Sadlier began studying the clarinet. She was first chair in the school band and accepted to WIBC honor band for the past three years.
Throughout her Upper School years, Sadlier’s favorite activity was Knowledge Bowl. She was a member of the team since her freshman year. “My three trips to state were some of the most memorable experiences of my life. The long bus rides to Hanford High in Richland were filled with laughter, last-minute cram sessions, and tumbleweed sightings. We all were so close that we became like a family. One of the most appealing aspects of Knowledge Bowl is the collaboration. There is a glorious implicit trust that we share with one another that allowed us to perform better than we could ever dream to as individuals. I was always so sad every year when Knowledge Bowl ended!” Five months of Knowledge Bowl a year was not enough for Sarah, so she approached Mr. Kangas about entering in Knowledge Master Open. KMO is a computer-based, nationwide team competition. Sarah organized team practices, and the team placed fourth in the nation for private schools.
During her high school career, Sarah also became deeply involved in community service, logging over 400 hours working for organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and receiving the Presidents Volunteer Service Award. She founded the Global Outreach Club with classmate Decker Nielsen and was head of fundraising. “We really wanted to raise awareness for African schoolchildren. We partnered with World Bicycle Relief, a nonprofit that provides bikes for girls that makes it possible for them to attend school.” With the help of the student body and sister schools, the club raised over $14,000 for various human rights causes.
For the last two years, she organized a Holidaygrams fundraiser. Students purchased over 1,800 candy canes for friends and faculty and volunteers delivered them during classes. “Not only did we raise $2,000 for African school children, it also spread joy within our own school community,” says Sadlier. 
As her high school career wound to a close, Sarah had an important decision to make. She was accepted to Stanford, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Duke, Williams, Santa Clara, William and Mary, and the Harvard Class of 2017. She was one of the two dozen out of 31,800 applicants to be named a John Jay Scholar by Columbia and one of the couple dozen out of the 31,200 to be named a University Scholar by UPenn. 
“When it came down to it, Stanford just seemed like the best fit. The other offers of admission were extremely enticing, but I found that the Stanford was one of the most accomadating with regards to my multiple major plans. Stanford does not have the open curriculum of Brown, but the diversity of my chosen fields allows me to easily cover Stanford’s core requirements and begin the process of completing my majors. Additionally, Stanford will allow me to obtain both a B.A. and B.S. if I complete a science and history major and take 225 credits during my four years.”
The atmosphere at Stanford was also a major factor in her decision. “Stanford promotes healthy living. The majority of students on campus participate in varsity or intramural sports. The weather is a bonus, as well! It is also nice to be closer to my family. However, I plan to head to the East Coast for graduate school so that I can continue my focus on colonial history research.”
At Stanford, Sadlier is planning a triple-major in biology, history, and Iberian and Latin American cultures (a combination of Spanish language, literature, and history). “In college, I hope to engage in various research opportunities. I am planning to study anaphylactic allergies, which I have suffered from since an early age. Maybe, I can even discover the cure for my allergy to chocolate!” 
Eventually, Sadlier hopes to earn her PhD in history. “More than anything, I would love to be a history professor! I really enjoy being amongst a community of scholars and in an environment in which everyone wants to spend the rest of their lives learning. Also, I want to continue publishing. I have already begun brainstorming ideas for my first book!” 
Her advice to future applicants: “Do what you love! The best gift that you can give is to share your love or passion with others. Admission officers want to see students with a spark who can bring their enthusiasm to campus with them, whether that be an excitement for a sport, subject, or activity.” 

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