Editor's note: Fourth in a series of 10 Personality stories on the Top 10 academic students in the Loudonville High School Class of 2018.
LOUDONVILLE — Gabi (short for Gabrielle) Burkhalter is already involved in the new phase of her education, a phase that will begin in the fall as a early childhood education major at Ashland University.
"A few days we had tryouts for the AU Elite Dance Team, and I made it," said the Loudonville High School senior, who with a 3.907 accumulative academic average is one of the Top 10 academic students in the Class of 2018 at Loudonville High School.
That record is short of straight A's by just one grade, a B in chemistry last year. She earned straight A's her freshman and sophomore years, and has straight A's so far this, her senior, year.
Burkhalter is the middle of five children, all girls, of Craig and Kim Burkhalter of Loudonville.
One of the reasons she chose Ashland as her college was to remain closer to home, where she can continue to help her mother with two ongoing pursuits, serving as adviser to cheerleaders at LHS, a post she has filled for the past nine years, and help her with her in the home babysitting service, which she has done for at least four years.
Her mother also operates Kim's Photography, prompting her daughter to comment "she has taken dozens of 'senior' pictures of me, summer pictures, fall pictures and recently winter pictures."
Her older sisters are Ashley Chance, 22, who is married to Chance Lee and lives in Loudonville; and Sierra, 20, a sophomore speech pathology major at the University of Akron.
Younger sisters are Maci, 16, a sophomore at LHS, and Emma, 13, a seventh-grader.
Her father works as a maintenance specialist at the Mohican Youth Academy near Loudonville.
Burkholder changed her mind several times about a career field. "I always enjoyed and did very well in science, so at first I wanted to go into forensics," she said. "Then, because I enjoy people and have always wanted to help them, I changed directions and considered nursing.
Later, mostly because my mom saw how well I did helping her with the kids she babysits as well as coaching the cheerleading squad, encouraged me to look into education. I also enjoyed helping other students in my classes at LHS when teachers asked me to. I really enjoy working with kids."
She has been a cheerleader since she was in the third grade, and earned four varsity letters for basketball cheering, three for football, along with four letters as a member of the drill team. Her senior year she served as captain of both the football and basketball cheerleading crews.
She also is a member of the National Honor Society and Leo Club at LHS.
She also works with three nights a week on the night shift at Mills Dairy Farm south of Hayesville, mostly feeding calves. That shift runs from 8 p.m. To midnight.
She also teaches tumbling at Adoni of Ashland Performing Arts, where she first participated when her mother was teaching there.
She listed the sciences, particularly Biology II and Anatomy taught by David Spreng, as her favorite courses. She said Mr. Spreng, and Eric Stoner (social studies), are her favorite teachers.
So far, she has taken four College Credit Plus courses, English/Composition I and II, American Politics and American History.
Burkhalter will continue her college activities preparation later this month when she tries out for the AU cheerleading squad.