FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Talie Cloud's high school days ended with her graduation at the top of her class Friday, but her education will only get more intense.
She is planning to be a neurosurgeon specializing in health care for rural communities like hers.
"Just growing up in Sanger in a small town obviously a community, it's allowed me to have a very unique experience compared to that of a lot of other people who've applied to competitive scholarships," said Cloud.
She has competed at the highest intellectual levels for a long time already.
As a sophomore, she won the National Agriscience Fair and earned a trip to Washington, D.C., where she met President Obama on the White House lawn and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
She even went on national TV to talk about experimenting with Chinese bitter melon seeds to fight fruit flies targeting some central Valley crops.
She aced her classes and packed her days with extracurricular activities like FFA, student government, and aquatics.
Add it all together and you get a Coca-Cola Scholar -- one of just 150 in the country plus a $20,000 scholarship and a trip to the soft drink company's headquarters in Atlanta where she met some of the other best minds in the country.
"It's great to know I can step into a lot of college campuses across the country and know that I know someone there because of Coca-Cola," said Cloud.
A lot of colleges wanted her, but Cloud chose her dad's alma mater at the University of Southern California.
She will stay close to the communities she hopes to help one day and to the other activities, she somehow finds time for.
"Moving forward into college I'll probably want to do more fun things more often-- but I did, I had lots of time I scheduled lots of time to be able to hike and ski and hang out with my friends and do all the fun things," said Cloud.
But first, she will spend her summer tutoring kids in Sanger before launching into her freshman year and a bright future.
Sanger graduate receives rare scholarship for outstanding education achievement
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