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After Setting Records in High School, Oakland Senior Headed to Harvard

  • Eleanor Wikstrom Eleanor Wikstrom, a graduating senior from Skyline High School in Oakland, Calif., has a huge list of accomplishments to her name. She is a National AP Scholar, graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average, was valedictorian of her senior class and is headed to Harvard University in the fall. Wikstrom was also a stellar athlete, setting records as captain of Skyline’s track and field and cross-country teams.

    She also recently made history, becoming the first ever California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Scholar-Athlete of the Year from the Oakland school system. She, along with a football player from another school district, won CIF’s top honors out of 830,000 student athletes across the state and was the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship.

    Wikstrom was excited about receiving the award and said her winning represents something bigger than herself.

     “I think that this honor reflects a lot of what I have tried to do throughout my career - to represent our historically-overlooked city at championship meets around the state, to set cross country and track records that give current and future Oakland athletes a new understanding of what is possible, and to model excellence in academics in a public school system that has faced challenges with resources and that outsiders often look down upon,” said Wikstrom in a story that appeared on the Oakland school district’s website.

    Running and academics are hardly her only passions. She placed first in Oakland’s school district Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratorical Fest four times and served as the Vice Youth Poet Laureate for the City of Oakland. Wikstrom also co-founded the organization Oakland Students for Public Education and led a Day of Education Advocacy at the State Capitol, where she empowered other Oakland public school students to meet with legislators and promote education reform bills that were then in the legislature.

    At Harvard University she plans to study government and English on the pre-med track and join the university’s cross country and track teams.

    “My ultimate goal would be to work for the United Nations or as a member of Congress on education policy and humanitarian relief,” said Wikstrom. 

    Oakland Schools Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell recalled the first time she saw Wikstrom perform at the district’s MLK Oratorical Fest and immediately recognized her brilliance.

    “Not only does she set a remarkable example for her classmates and the students coming up behind her, Ms. Wikstrom is also a vivid reflection of Oakland, the community she credits with making her who she is,” said Johnson-Trammell. “We are all proud of her success thus far, but know it’s only the beginning.”