Emma Baker’s high school career will end on the campus of Austin Peay State University. Her college career will start there also.
In the fall, Baker — Cheatham County Central High School’s valedictorian for 2021 — will kick off her freshman year of college in Clarksville, where she will pursue prepare for a career in nursing.
“I want my master’s degree in labor and delivery because I like childbirth,” said Baker. “I just love the whole process of childbirth — labor and delivery.”
She said that she had thought about pediatrics but wasn’t sure about dealing with sick children all of the time.
“That would break my heart,” she said. “I know there are times when labor and delivery are going to be sad, but for the most part it’s a miracle in the hospital, and it’s going to be happy. A nurse makes it or breaks it for you. I feel like I can really be patient and caring in that time when someone is going through that in their life.”
She has had quite an impact at CCCHS both in and outside of the classroom.
“I cheered all four years of high school,” she said. “It’s not seen as a sport because people think you don’t work hard. But they don’t see all of the times that we fall when we’re stunting. It’s a lot more than just putting your arms up in the air. You have to tumble. We do work out, and we do conditioning. You might be tumbling for two straight hours back-to-back to back, just flipping and flipping and flipping, you get tired.
“It’s a lot of work and time and year-round — from football through basketball season. You do it all year with a month off.”
She said she wouldn’t be the person she is now if she hadn’t been so involved with cheerleading.
“With pep rallies and always on the go, it helped develop my outgoing personality and confidence and compassion.,” she said.
Some of her accomplishments were being named Ms. CCCHS and “Most Likely to Drive a Tractor” among her seven senior superlatives.
She said that math is her least-favorite subject. “But the teachers make it or break it for me, and I’ve had a lot of positive teachers.”
One teacher who is at the top of that list is her mother, Monica Baker, a teacher at Ashland City Elementary STEM Academy.
Emma said that one of the more impactful high school moments for her came during her freshman year when she took a theatre class with teacher Lauren Street.
“What moves me the most when I think back is when we had to lip-sync,” said Baker. “It helped with bringing out my personality as freshman and helped with being confident. I loved doing and watching others do it.”
CCCHS teacher Kelly Lewis has been a mentor in helping Baker hone her skills for a medical career.
“In my seven years of teaching, she is probably one of the most organized, hard-working students ever,” Lewis said of Baker.” She was working on scholarships like as soon as she started her senior year. She’s very determined; very thorough in her work, and seeks out every opportunity to present herself in a way that’s going to look good to the colleges. She’s in all of the clubs, and she’s doing all of the activities. She’s applying for all of the scholarships. She has the community service hours. So, you see her everywhere. She has her hands in a little bit of everything, which looks good.”
Lewis recalls a special experience that Baker had.
“Emma biggest thing in my class was she said she wanted to see a baby – specifically a delivery – a water birth, which I thought was kind of odd,” said Lewis. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t do that because of COVID; so, we couldn’t get her to a Nashville hospital. She did get to spend time in the ER at Ashland City TriStar and got to see some unusual situations. She was always wanting to start IVs and draw blood and she’s just really a go-getter.”
Monica Baker also noted her daughter’s passion and focus of her daughter.
“As you can imagine, I am so proud of Emma,” said Monica. “She has worked really hard to keep her grades up while being active in the school and community. She has been a cheerleader for all four years. She volunteers in events for her community. She has a strong faith in God and isn’t afraid to let that show. She is very caring and nurturing. Her decision to go into nursing suits her perfectly.”