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Kearney High School graduate Anya Dunn is heading to Kansas State University to study food science.

KEARNEY — Bulldog graduate Anya Dunn understands diversifying her activities and interests.

During her four years at Kearney High School, she was active in sports, charitable work and more. She played soccer her freshman and sophomore years. She participated in track her junior year. On top of that, she played tennis all four years, including serving as the No. 1 singles player during the fall season. She also teamed with fellow grad Emily Shepherd and took third in doubles at districts.

With Future Farmers of America, Dunn took the Area 2 winner spot for service learning. She was involved with the group since her freshman year. She’s also a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes and National Honor Society.

“The greatest joy is being with friends,” she said. “I really enjoy the team sports. Tennis has given me the chance to excel as an individual as well as a team.”

Dunn lettered in academics all four years, three years for tennis and one for soccer.

Along with classwork, sports and clubs, Dunn had a weighted GPA above 4.0. She has taken college classes including algebra, English, chemistry and public speaking. For agriculture classes, Dunn took ag. construction and ag. business.

Dunn praised agriculture teacher Erica Hart for her support.

“I have taken about every class she has offered,” Dunn said. “I never thought about agriculture for a career, but FFA and Mrs. Hart have been influencing what I want to do.”

Dunn also tackled an internship with Northland Assistance Center. The center is a faith and community-based collaborative providing emergency assistance services to Northland families living in Clay or Platte counties.

“I got to be part of the nonprofit, helping families pay for rent and utilities or coming in for the food pantry,” she said. “I got to answer the phone and help make appointments for people to come in and discuss their needs. I helped take donations, organized the food pantry shelves and the medical equipment. There were a lot of different tasks to accomplish.”

The internship ran from September to the end of March. Dunn said she may try to volunteer again during the summer.

“It was such a mixed bag to help people,” she said. “There were some people we couldn’t help, and that was hard to watch them deal with that disappointment. For me, helping people is a gift, but it’s also hard. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a nonprofit.”

Dunn plans to head to Kansas State University to study food science. She is planning a path that includes business.

“There are so many aspects to this choice,” she explained. “I can look at recipe testing or new product development as well as sales and marketing. I think production manager would be cool.”

Many of these ideas were spurred by both of her younger sisters who deal with food allergies.

“We have discussions about gluten free and other needs. It’s about exploring what works,” she said. “I didn’t know it could be a job. I believe it would be fun to combine my love of cooking and baking.”

In college, Dunn said she may try intramurals, look at a sorority and perhaps play on the club tennis team.

As for advice to incoming high school students or those in their freshman or sophomore year, Dunn encourages her peers to get involved.

“It’s so important to be involved as much as you can,” she said. “There are so many activities to be involved in that people should be able to find their place. I look forward to what I do. It’s also about balancing classes, sports and other activities. You learn discipline and you make a lot of friends.”

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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