Class of 2013: Megan Cavanaugh makes memories during senior year
This is the final story in a four-part series profiling students from Worthington High School Class of 2013.
WORTHINGTON -- In less than a week, Megan Cavanaugh will join her classmates, clad in caps and gowns, as they march across the stage and receive their diplomas.
That ritualistic exodus from Worthington High School is a moment Megan anticipates with great excitement -- although she admits to a bit of trepidation, too. There are some aspects of high school that she will miss.
"I like the part where I can see my friends every day," she said. "But I am getting tired of my classes.
"Senioritis is a true thing," she asserted. "It happens."
The daughter of Tom Cavanaugh, who co-owns American Media in Sibley, Iowa, Megan was a young girl when her mother, Tami, died.
"Today is the 11th anniversary of when she passed away," noted Megan quietly during an interview earlier this week. "She had lupus."
An only child, Megan has always lived with her dad on the outskirts of Worthington.
"Same house, whole life. It's sort-of country -- farms on one side, houses on the other. But I grew up with 10 neighborhood kids and a creek next door," explained Megan, admitting that she used to be somewhat of a tomboy. "I'd play in the dirt with the neighbor boys, but I grew out of it."
Megan's high school experience has been diverse, although still largely focused on her studies. She's been a good all-around student.
"I think I've made it on highest honors every time except once during my freshman year, and I will graduate with highest honors," she said.
Currently, her favorite classes include advanced Spanish and one called Modern Media. She prefers offerings in the English department, although she also likes math.
"History is the hardest," she said. "And some of the science classes I wasn't sure I understood, but I got good grades, so some of it must have sunk in."
For her senior year, Megan resolved to make some memories, so she expanded her range of extracurricular activities.
"This year, I joined speech," she said. "My best friend is an exchange student from Hungary, and they got her to join, so I thought I'd do it, too. My friends have been after me to do it the last couple of years, actually, but I like to sleep in."
During the speech season, the students leave for speech events early on Saturday mornings -- hence her reluctance to commit to the endeavor. But Megan found that sacrificing some sleep was worth the experience.
"I really liked it," she said. "At first it was a little daunting, but I got into it toward the end. I made a lot of memories there. I memorized the speech, which made it so much easier than getting up in front of a crowd and making something up."
Megan's category was humorous interpretation, and her selection could certainly be labeled as black comedy.
"It was about this young actress who was having trouble getting a part, a role," Megan explained. "She's also a little crazy. She decided to take her cat to this audition, and she decided she was either going to strip -- take off her clothes -- or kill her cat to get the role. I did pretty good. I got a couple of ribbons here and there. I got fourth in one tournament, and eighth in our home tournament. Someone told me that humorous is one of the hardest categories, and I believe it."
Band was another memory-making experience for Megan, particularly playing trumpet in the Spirit of Worthington Trojan Marching Band, which won accolades for its Mary Poppins-themed program this year.
"I think I'm going to miss band camp, strangely enough," Megan said, referring to the intense training sessions that lead into the school year.
During both her junior and senior years, Megan was involved in FCCLA -- Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. This year, she did a project on organ donation.
"I was so excited to compete at state this year and make more memories my senior year," she said, her smile turning to a frown. "And then there was the ice storm, and we didn't get to go."
Having been inducted as a junior, Megan is a two-year member of National Honor Society.
"I'm also in the Drama Club," she said. "We get together and play games and normally go see a production at the end of the year. I think maybe we're going to go to the dinner theater --Chanhassen."
Megan also gained a bit of on-stage exposure.
"I was in 'The Case of the Missing Gobbler,'" she said about the WHS fall drama production. "I was the 6-year-old who had five lines."
The best part of being in the play was making a new friend.
"That's how I met my best friend, Flora Csete," the aforementioned exchange student. "We have a lot of the same interests. She told me that she didn't have so many friends in Hungary, so she's going to miss this place the most. I hope to go visit her over Christmas break.
"We like the same shows, the same movies," Megan continued, "although she's more of a history buff than I am. We like to watch 'Friends,' 'Glee,' although I'm not a true Gleek. ... I don't know how many times she's seen it, but I've seen (the movie) 'Pitch Perfect' like eight times. She was also in speech and did humorous, too."
With just days left in the school year, Megan gets sad thinking about being separated by an ocean from her European friend, but is hopeful that their paths will cross again. Before she can think about visiting Hungary, however, she will make a trip to another foreign country -- Guatemala.
"Our youth group from Solid Rock Assembly is going to go there this June on a mission trip," she said. "That's why I've been taking so much Spanish. We're going to do a bunch of school assemblies -- skits, human videos. I really want to go and see the culture. I want to go to get outside of the U.S. and see what God can do through us down there."
Megan will spend the rest of the summer working at Hy-Vee and spending time with her friends before she heads off to college.
Her plan is to attend Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato to pursue a degree in journalism.
"I want to help bring back reading," she said. "People don't read newspapers and magazines any more. Technology is good, but you should read, too."
She chose Bethany after campus visits and much deliberation.
"I really had narrowed it down to Hamline University or Bethany," she said. "Bethany was cheaper, and I felt more at home there. Hamline was a close second, but Bethany was also closer to home, and I have to get my braces tightened once a month. And they have skiing in Mankato. I don't ski much, but maybe I would more if I lived someplace where they had it. ... I really liked the professors, too."
Someday, Megan can envision herself working for a newspaper or magazine in the Twin Cities. But for now, she's ready to grab her diploma and prepare for some new adventures.
"I'm excited to meet new people and live in the dorm," said Megan, explaining that she used to be very shy but has worked to overcome that tendency. "I think it's good to get out of your comfort zone."
Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers
can be reached at 376-7327.