Sibley Senior Spotlight: Emma Verby
Sibley Senior Spotlight: Emma Verby
Posted on 05/09/2016

The Senior Spotlight series features interviews with Sibley seniors who have shown commitment to academic excellence and personal achievement. The series will highlight two seniors each week until graduation.

Emma Verby
Senior Emma Verby

Daughter of Steve and Joyce Verby, from West St. Paul

For as long as she can remember, Emma Verby has wanted to be a nurse. As a child she would pretend to mend the bones of family and friends, and eagerly await her daily conversations with her mother, Joyce, who is a nurse. Now, as Emma prepares to graduate from Henry Sibley High School, she has positioned herself to finally achieve her dream.

On top of her classes – including five Advanced Placement (AP) courses such AP Biology and AP Psychology – and multiple activities – like Link Crew, National Honor Society (NHS), and Student Council, Emma also enrolled in a 5-credit Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) class at Inver Hills Community College. She took the Minnesota CNA exam on April 30.

Emma will continue on the nursing track when she enrolls in Augustana University (S.D.) in the fall. While her desire to become a nurse has never been in doubt, Emma is still undecided as to any specializations she might pursue in the nursing field.

“I’m not exactly sure which specialty of nursing I want to go into, but that is what college is for,” Emma said. “I will be the first person from my entire family to get a four-year degree and that is my ultimate goal, to have my four-year nursing degree.”

In addition to her healthcare aspirations, Emma is also a dedicated volunteer. She has logged more than 170 hours of service with United Hospital since her sophomore year, along with volunteering with Dodge Nature Center during their annual Halloween extravaganza and serving as a DARTS volunteer for two years.

“Volunteering has been at the roots of my education and values since I was young,” Emma said. “My family has definitely instilled that value into my life. Also, I feel good after doing something for someone in need.”

Other ways in which Emma has helped those around her include her two years as a math tutor and her work as a life guard for the YMCA and TriDistrict Community Education. Starting in June, Emma will serve as the coordinator for Camp United, which is United Hospital's summer volunteer program for high school students.

At Sibley, Emma served as one of the Give Once for All (GOFA) Chairs during her senior year, along with leading multiple programs through NHS and Student Council. She is also a four-year letter winner as a member of the Henry Sibley girls’ swimming and diving team, holding the school record in the 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle relay. She is a three-time state qualifier in swimming, twice in the 50-yard freestyle and once with 200-yard freestyle relay.

Additional honors include: three-time team MVP in swimming, letter winner in track and field during ninth and tenth grade, four-year member of the A honor roll, SCUBA certified through a Henry Sibley Marine Biology trip, and recipient of both the Dean’s Scholarship and Academic Scholarship at Augustana University.

Previously, Emma attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School in West St. Paul, where she continues to volunteer as a middle school helper.


District 197: How has Sibley prepared you to succeed after graduation?
Emma: I feel that the AP classes I have taken have pushed my study skills to be better. College is the unknown right now, and I know it will be very difficult, but I feel I have a solid foundation because of Sibley and the great staff we have.

Who is your favorite teacher or what is your favorite subject?
I have had a lot of great teachers and classes especially in the science and social studies departments. However, the teacher that stands out for me is Mrs. [Alison] Footh. I took her youth leadership class first semester of my junior year and then I took general psychology my second semester of my junior year. Mrs. Footh is so passionate about what she teaches, which inspired me to take AP psychology. I absolutely love AP psychology. I can make so many connections with psychology and all my other classes. Mrs. Footh has been a great person to talk to about college decisions and has helped tremendously with scholarship and college applications. She not only has helped with school, she is also a great person to just talk to. I think it is so important to have good connections with teachers. She is also great at organizing what needs to be learned and how to achieve it. She knows how to apply real life situations to our learning, which makes it twice as interesting. I will truly miss her next year.

What’s a memory from your time at Sibley that will always stay with you?
I feel like there are so many! A few to name off would be beating St. Thomas Academy in football on their home field, you definitely could feel the Warrior Pride that night. I also enjoyed AP Biology and Mr. [Eric] Friberg's class. The SCUBA diving trip was also a great memory from Sibley. Making it to state twice and beating the school record in my 50 freestyle is definitely one that went down in the books. I also loved going to the plays and musicals. I think one of the more significant moments would be GOFA and presenting Mr. Lufkin with the surprise check. The amount of support in that gym was unbelievable.

What advice do you have for younger students about high school?
I truly believe Sibley is a great place to be. I recommend challenging yourself, yet knowing your limits. Sometimes school can be very stressful and you need to know when to take a step back. It's ok to not be the best at everything, but make sure that you have something to be proud of. I am also a very strong believer in teamwork and helping each other out with our learning. Another key thing I feel is very important is being able to vocalize your opinion in a tactful way. Students have voices too and they should be heard. Also talk to your teachers! They love it when you come in early to ask questions and it makes you a more respected student. Getting ready for college should start the minute you start high school. Set goals, if you have a strong goal everything seems to fall into place.

Anything else you’d like to share about your time at Sibley?
I just want to let all staff know that I am truly grateful for all the time and effort you put into this school. Also a big ‘thank you’ to my friends who have helped me, and made me laugh throughout these four fast years. I will definitely miss wearing red and gold this coming fall.

Read about other achievements by students in the class of 2016:

-Sibley Senior Spotlight: Jose Figueroa Castro
-Hannah Delmont named Henry Sibley's 2016 Athena Award winner
-Cailin McMahon recognized by National Merit Scholarship Program
-Eighty-six Henry Sibley students earn AP Scholars honors
-Moog, Fischer named National Merit Semifinalists
-Meet the School Board's new Student Representative, Drew Conway