Caitlynn Bupp will begin her first year at Grand Valley State University this fall, but the Central Montcalm senior won’t be going as a freshman.
When the 19-year-old graduates on Sunday afternoon, she will already have 26 college credits under her belt.
Bupp — who served as her class president her freshman, sophomore and junior years and student council president her senior year — participated in the district’s dual enrollment program, taking college courses at Montcalm Community College along with her high school classes.
“My junior year of high school, I took six credits at MCC and this year it was 20, so I’ve got a total of 26 credits already,” said Bupp, who completed her MCC course work two weeks ago and had her final day at Central Montcalm this week.
While attending the two schools, Bupp also worked as an assistant manager at NCG Cinemas in Greenville, often putting in 30 hours a week.
“It gets very difficult sometimes,” Bupp said. “I have a lot of nights where I get only three or four hours of sleep. During exam week, I will try to cut back on my work hours a little so I can concentrate on academics.”
She succeeded, qualifying for and being inducted into the National Honor Society. According to High School Principal Tony Petersen, Bupp is a role model to other students.
“Caitlynn, as one of our dual enrollment students, is in and out of the building,” Petersen said. “She has a lot of motivation and is very involved in school. She is going to be successful at whatever she does after high school.”
Athletics were also part of her high school life as she participated in basketball one year, track two years, volleyball three years and was part of the Mecosta/Osceola Volleyball Association traveling volleyball team.
“I liked doing the sports, but I had so much going on,” Bupp said. “My job is important to me, keeping my grades up is important to me. My heart just wasn’t in it as much as some of the other things in my life, and so my senior year I didn’t do any.
“I do try to run every day, just run on my own without the competitiveness involved. Running is my downtime and is a lot cheaper than therapy,” she joked.
Her parents, Robert and Beth-anne Bupp, saw a lot of inquisitiveness and curiosity in their daughter as she was growing up.
“She always stayed very busy, even as a little one, and she was always asking questions,” Beth-anne said. “She is not one to slow down at all.”
As her parents watched her grow up and go to high school, they begin to let her make more and more decisions.
“We loved watching her play her different sports, but it was her choice to stop doing them,” Beth-anne said. “The minute she turned 16, she wanted a job and we helped her fill out the applications, we supported what she chose to do. We have always felt that getting a good education was more important than a job at this age. We didn’t discourage her, but we didn’t want her missing out on high school either.”
A class at MCC helped Bupp in choosing to major in political science and minor in business at GVSU.
“I was really thinking about doing something with psychology when I went to MCC,” Bupp said. “Then my senior year I had one class there that was not working out at all. I went in to see my counselor and said I need something else. The only other class that was scheduled at that same time was an intro to political science. With my hectic schedule, I couldn’t fit in any other time, so I said I would take the political science class. It ended up being one of my favorite classes,
Unsure of what career she would have, Bupp knows there are “lots of possibilities in that field. I think I would like to do some international business, and I know someday I would like to run a nonprofit, mainly to help families get back on their feet after things like a job loss.”
Juggling a job and classes at two schools, Bupp admits, can get overwhelming at times.
“I tend to think I am invincible, I can do it all. For a few months, I worked a second job at Maurices in Greenville. I was stressed, I could feel it, I couldn’t cope,” Bupp said. “I had to give it up, and I hate doing that, I hate quitting and get really hard on myself when I have to say, ‘I can’t do it.’”
“I do realize I missed out on some things in high school. I wish I could have gone to more football games, and one of the best times my senior year was being on the homecoming court. But I do think I am more prepared, and my parents are more prepared, for me to go to college. I am ready to go. I have goals of things I want to do and I think when I go to GVSU, it will help me know the things I need to do to reach those goals.”
Her mother knows she has always set very high expectations and is very determined.
“I think she will get involved in different clubs and organizations at GVSU,” said Beth-anne Bupp. “I just hope she can take the summer and get caught up on her sleep a little before she starts in college this fall.”
Correspondent Lori Hansen is a Greenville-area resident.