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An Interview with Carrie Conton – Peoria High School 2016 Valedictorian By Katherine Young

Carrie ContonCarrie Conton is a young lady that the Peoria community and the world needs to take note of, celebrate, and acknowledge. Holding a 4.0 GPA at Peoria High School, Carrie spends her time playing the violin, saxophone, and flute for various events such as the Central Illinois Youth Symphony, Peoria High School String Ensemble, Jazz Band, and Marching Band. She will even play for special occasions such as weddings and luncheons. Carrie is a young lady of many talents.

Her impeccably detailed resume demonstrates her dedication to music and to broadening her horizons in STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. She is an active participant of the National Society of Black Engineers Jr. Central-IL Chapter (NSBE), and she has also had experience conducting research in a microbiology laboratory for the Peoria High School Mentoring Program-USDA UCAR Agriculture Lab, looking for new ways to use sugar beet pulp. Carrie has also worked as a design engineer for the Caterpillar Student Trainee Program, where she used Pro E/CREO in a corporate setting. And when Carrie is not busy learning more about STEM, she is happily helping her peers prepare for difficult violin auditions, or tutoring them in algebra, trigonometry, chemistry, and physics.

Katherine Young photoPersonally, I am so honored to know that I may have helped water seeds of greatness within Carrie, being that I was her seventh grade ELA teacher at Roosevelt Magnet School. Of course, I cannot take all of the credit, but felt it necessary to showcase a young woman who has accomplished so much and who still has more in store for her future. She is cool as a cucumber in a class of her own, building her own unique platform to fuel her future. Taking a moment out of her productively busy schedule, Carrie answered some questions for the Traveler that continues to show her respect for the shoulders she has stood upon and how she keeps her eyes on the prize.

Who is your supporting cast? Family, friends, teachers, etc.?
I am blessed to say I have many people in my life who have supported me. To name a few: my mother Sonya Conton, my mentors Dr. Jacqueline Henderson and Xavier Horton, and my teacher Jason Warner. Thank you so much for all of your support.

What is a quote that inspires you and why?
One of my favorite quotes is Gandhi’s, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I want to see the world produce more people in STEM careers. To start this change, I am determined to become successful.

What are your future goals?
My future goal is to graduate from Prairie View A&M with a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering and minor in music. I would like to become a private contractor that designs innovative military equipment while becoming a professional violinist.

What has been something that scared you but you did it anyway?

Being in the 2014 All-State Orchestra scared me. It was my first time playing in an orchestra so large. After the first rehearsal, I met other musicians and made friends. I had a lot of fun by the end of the weekend.

From your perspective, what are 3 great tips to success?
(1) Work hard—opportunities become readily available when you have a sense of ethics surrounding your work.

(2) Network. You never know who may be watching and willing to help you.

(3) Pay it forward—thank those who helped you in your community.

What advice do you have for the youth coming up behind you?
My advice is to stay true to yourself. It’s easy to lose yourself in this world. Keep your eyes on the prize and success will be within reach.


Congratulations Carrie Conton on being Peoria High School’s 2016 Valedictorian.

You are commended for being a positive role-model in the Peoria community and we celebrate with you!