When Carissa Clemens dreams about the future, her life revolves around a couple of planets at the same time, each as different from the other as dark is from light.
In one orbit, the 18-year-old senior is singing to the masses, and in recent weeks she's taken the first step in reaching for her musical star: She accepted a mucho grande vocal scholarship from Augustana College in Sioux Falls.
Fine art: music
Fine arts activities: A Cappella Choir, Smith Sisters, Windfall
Most memorable art achievement: performing with BHS choir in France
Artist most admired: Lauryn Hill
Favorite subject: music
Favorite movie: "Con-Air"
Favorite TV program: "Friends"
Favorite food: wild rice hot dish
Future plans: elementary teacher in school for the deaf
Parents: Diane Clemens and Justine Morrison
In the other, Clemens stands before a classroom of hearing impaired youngsters as their elementary teacher, using sign and lip movements, rather than music, to communicate her thoughts.
It's in her heart, however, where the two aspirations come together, she said in an interview, equally committed to both music and teaching because she "loves to give of myself."
"Ever since I can remember, I've loved to perform, to give of myself," Clemens said. "Singing is a great way to express what I'm dealing with inside, to just let and disappear into the music.
"But I want to work with deaf kids and am really sensitive to people with handicaps," she said. "I have a soft spot in my heart."
At Augustana, Clemens plans to major in education and music, with an eye on a teaching position among the hearing impaired, but with a fallback position in music education, she said.
Nominated for her contributions to A Cappella Choir, Clemens is Fine Arts Student of the Week. She's the group's secretary-treasurer, which means she works a lot of after-class hours when she's not leading the alto section.
"Rissa has been an outstanding leader and positive influence in choir for the past two years," said Vocal Director Michael Smith, who selected her. "She is a very special person with lots of talent and desire to do well in whatever she does. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with her."
Clemens and more than 70 of her classmates returned last weekend from the A Cappella Choir tour of France, where the group appeared in concert at cathedrals and other venue in Paris and elsewhere.
"The acoustics in the cathedrals were really awesome," she said. "It gave me goosebumps, took my breath away."
Clemens, also a member of Windfall and Smith Sisters choral groups, has achieved superior ratings for her solo vocals and is a member of the Central Lakes All-Conference Choir 2000.
When she's not working for choir, or at her part-time job at a local kennel, Clemens serves on Class Cabinet, volunteers with DARE and plays with the school's girls' softball team.
Kelly Diiro, junior, Brainonian: She has been selected editor-in-chief for the 2001 yearbook.
Adam Senkyr and Manny Anderson, seniors, debate: They received an outstanding speaker award at the National Forensic League's Student Congress, which elected Anderson as presiding officer.
Chris Jabs, senior, speech: A member of the speech team for two years, he performs an original, creative piece which is a humorous commentary on current social issues.
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