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Megan Bagley is at the top of her class — and one day, she hopes to be on top of the world.
Since she was five years old, Bagley has dreamed of discovering distant galaxies, flying by planets and seeing the stars up close — and all that could become reality if her career aspirations work out.
“I’d like to apply to become an astronaut,” says Bagley, who graduated with a near-perfect average, earning the highest overall mark in the Halton District School Board.
“I know it’s really competitive, but it’d be really cool to be a female in an occupation that’s mainly full of males.”
Bagley received a 99.17 per cent average based on six university-level courses in the challenging International Baccalaureate diploma program at Robert Bateman High School in Burlington. She earned her diploma with a score of 45, the maximum any student in the program, which is offered around the world, can receive and puts her among the world’s high school academic elite.
Bagley knows her desired career path is risky, but in an interview from her family’s cabin near Idaho Springs, Colo., she says she thinks it’s worth it.
Bagley will study astronomy and physics at University of Wyoming with a prestigious National Merit Scholarship.
She recently moved to Laramie, Wyo., after her father — who had been teaching environmental engineering at the University of Toronto for more than a decade — got offered a job “back home.”
Bagley, who was born in Ithaca, N.Y., spent the early years of her childhood moving around. After living in New York for a couple of years, the family headed south to Florida. They then moved back up north, living in Mississauga for a year before settling in Oakville.
Until school starts, Bagley plans to spend time outdoors with her family hiking, running and just enjoying the mountains.
“But once the leaves start turning colour, it’s back to the books for me,” she says. “If I want to fly into space in a shuttle some day, it’s going to take a lot of studying.”