Finally Feeling the Spotlight


Jess Harmon, Chief Editor

She throws her guitar strap over her shoulder and swings it in front of her as she checks to make sure her strings are still in tune before she goes on. She breathes deeply but she  isn’t nervous; she has played these chords a million times before. As the spotlight shines down onto the Kings High School stage she walks into it without hesitation: a spotlight she didn’t really get to feel until now.

Valedictorian, Caroline Mott, has worked very hard in her four years at Kings High School, but she did not expect to be awarded with the number one spot in her class. She began taking classes at Sinclair Community College during the summer before her freshman year.

“I’d say I have a passion for knowledge. Like, it sounds pretty cheesy, but probably some of my moments of greatest joy and pleasure have been reading and figuring stuff out, like making little devices and inventions as a kid. Figuring things out and observing things just come really naturally to me. I think I just recently started valuing it more. That’s something that always gets me really excited,” says Mott.

Ever since she was a small child, Caroline has been known for her ability to pick up concepts quickly. She was seen as a star pupil by even her preschool teachers and was sent to kindergarten a year early.

“Well, she started preschool at six weeks old,” says Caroline’s mother, Kelly Mott. “When the director of the school would go and take parents on the tour, they’d always stop by the toddler room and introduce them to Caroline, so that they could show them all of the things they had learned, because Caroline would always pick it up so quickly. She was impressing all of the teachers and the director even way back in preschool as a toddler.”

Besides focusing on her schooling, Mott also participates in a myriad activities, such as knitting, hiking, macrame, pottery, guitar, volunteering at her local animal shelter and library, and running the herpetology club at Kings.

“She always was very shy and quiet and she always did what she needed to do to take care of herself and her academics, so when she emailed me I thought ‘Oh! How fun!’ You know, because now she has taken that leadership role. It’s been neat to watch her because she has organized games and brings in her pet snake and even organized a zoo field trip,” says Mrs. Fruhwirth, Kings Junior High science teacher..

During her sophomore year, Caroline was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Asperger’s is a condition that is on the autism spectrum and is typically seen in higher functioning people, but it can make social situations harder to interpret.

“I struggled more in the first years [of high school] because I was still figuring things out and figuring myself out and I really didn’t like it. I didn’t get the autism diagnosis until I was like a sophomore. So things really bothered me and I didn’t know why, and I didn’t know that it didn’t bother other people,” says Mott.

Despite her social barriers, Mott pushed through and stepped outside of her comfort zone to do things that haven’t always been the easiest for her, like starting clubs or volunteering.

“Social situations just didn’t make any sense to me,” Mott says. “ I was super nervous a lot. But eventually I’ve gotten some help and I’ve learned how to deal with things. I’ve just gotten to know myself, and I’ve learned that the way I am is pretty awesome.”

Mott will be moving to Tacoma, Washington, in the fall to study geology. Her mother has no doubts that Caroline’s success will be due to her passion, and is proud of her for pushing herself in and out of the classroom for the past four years.

“She is so focused on her career choice, that she is going to really take it all the way and become a scientist that is going to help make the world a better place.” Kelly says. “ Of course, I’m proud of her academics, but I am more proud of her going out and getting involved in things that are out of her comfort zone. I know that she’s going to change the world.”