Payton Polk will become a Bruin this fall when she attends UCLA to major in biochemistry with a minor in African American Studies. She is considering a future career as an anesthesiologist or in sports medicine. With a nod to her French Creole ancestry, she will also study French for the first time.
Payton is no stranger to learning new ways to communicate – in 10th grade, she learned Braille in about eight months. While in middle school, she was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that has gradually taken about 80% of her sight. Ever strong in her faith, Payton remains positive that her sight will return, and she never lets the impairment slow her down or stop her from achieving her goals. “I’m a go-getter; I need to get things done!” she said.
Despite being in and out of the hospital numerous times during high school, she maintained good grades and completed two years college! She also served as ASB senior lieutenant governor; was a member of the Black Student Union and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Club; volunteered to work with the ESHS football, baseball and basketball teams through the ESHS sports medicine class; performed in choir and all four annual spring musicals; and was honored with five scholarships at Senior Awards Night.
“I get inspiration from my mother. She always says: ‘Be a Great Day!’ – I believe that no matter what happens, you can always have a great day. You just have to “be” the positivity you seek.”