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Class of 2013: MSA seniors love science - and a challenge

Math and Science Academy students Mikayla Dalton (left) and Rachel Glick have been friends since the first grade. Despite having very different career paths, both are connected through their self-admitted love of all things nerdy.

Anyone who thought sports and astrophysics are on opposite ends of the spectrum has never met high school seniors Mikayla Dalton and Rachel Glick, just two in an elite class of 28 graduating from the Math and Science Academy in Woodbury.

The two MSA students, who have near 4.0 grade-point averages, have been friends since the first grade and said the competitiveness of their small class kept them coming back for more challenges.

"I find math and physics fascinating," Glick said. "Physics is how the world works and math is what makes physics work. It all connects."

The 17-year-old aspiring astrophysicist was immersed in the world of science at a young age, thanks to her father who taught in the field. With three semesters of post-secondary schooling under her taekwondo belt, Glick is looking forward to her time at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y.

Dalton, 18, is just as enthusiastic about math and science, but her real passion in life is sports, specifically hockey. When the aspiring NHL general manager isn't taking classes full time at the University of Minnesota, a school she will attend in the fall, she is cheering on her favorite hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. With two years of general education courses completed, she hopes to finish her double major, marketing and business management, within two years.

"I'll graduate high school with 98 credits of collegiate work done," Dalton said. "I just love the challenge. Academic wise, I've always been accelerated and it's fun to stay on my toes."

And after college she has her sights set on managing a Stanley Cup winning franchise or going to law school.

Reminiscing about their time at MSA, the girls both said that all the difficult tests, long hours spent studying and hard work put into their high school careers was worth it.

"When I come back to visit," Glick said, "I just hope the school keeps its nerdy, unique flavor. And, I hope the math program stays as challenging."

"I hope everyone gets as close as our (graduating) class did," Dalton added. "We all got to be so close. We were like a family. A lot of hard work was put into this, a lot of mental sweat, so I think this will be a well-deserved diploma for everyone."