Student Profile:
Kelsey Dutcher, senior
Atlanta Girls School

When asked if she ever had time to sleep, Atlanta Girls School senior Kelsey Dutcher laughed and said “barely.”

With her to-do list, which includes tennis team, swim team, environmental club, student council, work at J. Christopher’s, peer leadership, internships, homework (and, get this, she actually enjoys reading “Wuthering Heights”), piano lessons, and, of course, college applications, it’s a wonder she ever has time to take a rest.

“Time management is one of my best skills,” Kelsey said. “It’s not that hard for me to balance everything and still be social. I would go crazy if I wasn’t so organized.”

Kelsey has grown up learning how to handle her time; between piano lessons since she was 5 and swimming and tennis since she was 10, free time was, and still is, an uncommon luxury.

Although music and sports still are major time commitments in her life (she also takes an online college-credit music theory course from Berkeley’s College of Music, accompanies the middle school chorus once a week, and plays ALTA tennis during the fall and summer), perhaps her biggest passion for the past two years has been the environment.

“I grew up listening to the news and NPR and always heard about how much trouble our world in,” Kelsey said. “When I saw the ‘Inconvenient Truth’ in ninth grade, I realized I wanted to stop just listening and start doing something.”

Through Atlanta Girls School Internship Program, Education for the Development of Leadership and Service, Kelsey has been able to pursue two environmental internships. Her first was with Greenlaw, a non-profit law firm which takes on environmental cases for both communities and individuals. There, she wrote up press releases, Web site articles and briefing papers for attorneys. Afterwards, she worked with Trees Atlanta where she monitored, planted and improved the city’s tree coverage.

Kelsey’s work experience inspired her to begin an environmental club at Atlanta Girls School, which is now in its second successful year. The club is currently revamping the school’s “not-so-intensive” recycling program and participating in the “Green Cup Challenge,” a competition between Atlanta-area schools to see which one can reduce its electricity usage the most.

“The club is growing,” she said. “It’s hard because we’re only capable of taking these small steps, but in the end we know we’re making big changes.”

But, despite Kelsey’s achievements, she is still learning how to master the art of putting aside tennis balls, music scores and recycling campaigns for a well-deserved break.

“[My schedule is] overwhelming sometimes,” she said. “I’m a teenager: I like keeping social, I like sleeping in. But, I’m happiest when I’m busy doing what I love.”

What’s Next:

Kelsey’s first choices for college next year are the College of William and Mary in Virginia and Elon University in Tennessee. She recently was accepted into her first college, Tulane University in New Orleans.

In college, she hopes to double-major in music and business and maintain her passion for the environment. Though she is unsure of what profession she would like to pursue, she is willing to try anything “so long as I make a difference.”

–Amanda Wolkin