Muir HS Early College Valedictorian Commits to UCLA

The key to becoming a valedictorian? Prioritize. That’s the advice from John Muir High School Early College Magnet senior Haley Cogshell.

The young graduate told Pasadena Now this week, “If you know that you have a lot of work, and you kind of want to watch some TV or do something else, just know you have to get done with your work first, and then have fun.”

Easier said than done perhaps, but just to prove she’s human, Haley also offers, “And then, (I) also have those times where I would take a day off, so I’ll be working a lot during the week, and then on Saturday, that’s when I do completely nothing. I just do whatever I want, so I can just decompress because I don’t like stress.”

Still in her tender years, Haley is no stranger to academic awards. Before becoming valedictorian, she had already earned the John Muir Service Award, a California Scholarship Federation award, and an academic letter award. She also found time to earn a medallion in the Engineering and Environmental Sciences Academy.

As the school transitioned to become an Early College Magnet, Haley also took advantage of the Pasadena City College classes offered at PCC Northwest, located on the high school campus. Haley completed six college courses while in high school, earning a total of 17 college credits at the time of graduation.

We’re just getting started.

Haley was also on the cheer squad for four years, and captain during her junior year. And on the track team since her sophomore year. Along with attending Upward Bound for the past three summers, she was a participant in the 2020 Ms. Black Pasadena contest. And she counts her local church membership as part of her “support system.”

We know. You’re tired just reading this.

Meanwhile, Haley is pragmatic about a world-wide pandemic basically wiping out her senior year and all its rituals and festivities.

“I can’t really do anything about our circumstance,” she says. “So (we’re) just taking advantage of what we can have. The virtual graduation is something special, because we no longer can have a physical one. But at least the administration and our teachers are trying to put forth an effort to do something special for us. So I appreciate it.”

Grown-ups might do well to face life these days with such a grown-up attitude.

At the same time, her college acceptance scorecard is just as crowded as her own schedule, as Tuskegee University, UCSB, Sacramento State, Howard University, Charles Drew University, UC San Diego, San Diego State, LSU, San Jose State, Langston University and UCLA, all welcomed her.

She’ll stay close to home, however, and attend UCLA in the fall, with a goal of studying medicine and eventually becoming an OB/GYN practitioner.

Some babies out there will begin in good hands.

John Muir High School Early College Magnet, 1905 Lincoln Avenue, Pasadena, (626) 396-5600 or visit






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