“I love Brooke for her commitment to Marietta High School,” said Student Council Faculty Adviser Kibbie DeJarnett. “I wish all students could have the same loyalty to their role as a leader, as well as a student. Washington and Lee has a gem coming their way.”
The 2013 Marietta High School valedictorian will be attending Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., this fall.
She is only one of a handful of incoming freshmen who received the school’s Johnson Scholarship valued at almost $60,000 a year.
The 18-year-old, who chose to attend Marietta High because of its International Baccalaureate program, jumped into high school and hit the ground running from the very beginning.
“The IB program brought me to Marietta High School, but also the experience that my brother (Cole Donnelly) had when he was there because he really loved it there, helped me decide to go there,” she said.
Donnelly has served on her school’s student council and played tennis for the school team since ninth grade and is also a member of 11 other school organizations, including Beta Club, Spanish Club and the Environmental Club.
“I pretty much got involved as soon as I could and as often as I could,” she said.
And if there’s anything she’s learned about being so heavily involved in her school, it’s been what she refers to as “internal motivation.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about what you’re willing to do,” she said. “It’s not about how much your parents push you, but what you’re going to do to take initiative. … Start out being motivated from the beginning; don’t wait till your senior year to try to do things.”
Her involvement stretches beyond the walls of Marietta High, though.
She also participates in The Bert Show’s Big Thank You! Project, Wounded Warrior Project, Keep Marietta Beautiful and CAS (Creativity, Action and Service).
“It’s been busy and the IB program keeps me working really hard and the classes are very challenging, but that’s good,” she said.
She is hoping to take that excitement, involvement and heavy participation on to her college experience.
“I think I’m more excited than nervous about going to college,” Donnelly said. “It’ll be nice to take classes in college that I’m more interested in and I’m excited about playing college tennis and having a little bit more flexibility.”
That doesn’t mean she won’t miss high school, though.
“I think I’m going to miss my friends, my teachers and all the different clubs that I’ve been able to do,” she said. “I think it’ll be difficult in college to be able to do so many different things.”
Donnelly was initially leaning toward a larger college, but chose Washington and Lee, which is a private liberal arts school with around 2,000 students, because she liked the intimacy of the smaller classes, plus she’ll be able to continue playing tennis for the school.
“I went to visit one weekend and realized I really liked a smaller school like the IB program here at Marietta,” she said. “For the longest time, I was planning on going to the Air Force Academy but I couldn’t make up my mind and then I decided that Washington and Lee would just be a better fit for me.”
She’s still undecided on a major but is thinking about pre-law.
“I have a lot of interests still so I haven’t narrowed it down,” she said.
Donnelly is one of about 350 seniors graduating from Marietta High School this morning. The ceremony will be at Northcutt Stadium.