Hunter Grimes seeks out new experiences

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Hunter Grimes is a senior at Whitefish High School. (Heidi Desch/Whitefish Pilot)

Hunter Grimes pushes herself toward new experiences.

She joined the cross country team after being encouraged by her friends, she tried out as a cheerleader because she knew she needed to be more outgoing and she played the flute in the jazz band. She’s also been on the tennis team, part of the HOSA club, served on Student Council and is a member of National Honor Society.

“I’m someone who can be convinced to try a lot of new things,” she says with a laugh.

Grimes will graduate Saturday with the Whitefish High School Class of 2018.

She says cross-country became her unexpected favorite athletic activity.

“Running in general teaches you a lot about yourself,” she said. “I learned I could push myself for a lot of things I didn’t think I could.”

Cheerleading pushed her out of her comfort zone, she says, and those around her were surprised she would try out for the squad. Before her family moved to Whitefish when she was in sixth-grade, Grimes had attended cheerleading camps.

“It was a different experience,” she said. “Something I always wanted to do before I moved to Whitefish. When I moved here in high school, I became more quiet.”

She recalls band director Mark McCrady encouraging students in the middle school to try jazz band. So, Grimes decided she’d give it a shot even though she plays the flute.

“It was really fun — I fell love with jazz music,” she said. “For me coming to school an hour early to play jazz was totally worth it. Flute and jazz band aren’t very traditional, which means I’ve had to put a lot of time and effort into it because it’s non-traditional — it’s definitely been worth it.”

Grimes plans to attend the University of Montana in the fall. And she’s hoping to join the UM Grizzly Marching Band partially because Whitefish doesn’t have a marching so it’s a new experience she’d like to try.

A defining experience in her high school career has been her participation in the HOSA club. The Health Occupations Students of America club is intended to help students interested in pursuing medical degrees explore the different options through opportunities to work with health groups and participate in competitive events.

Grimes has served as president of the Whitefish club for two years and has earned awards at several state competitions.

“It’s one of my favorite things,” she said. “It has helped me decide what I want to do.”

HOSA combined with her experience through the Montana MedStart program has guided her decision to study microbiology with the goal of becoming a doctor. Grimes earned a MedStart scholarship which allowed her to spend a week in Miles City touring health facilities and doing job shadowing.

She says she had always had an interest in science, but the MedStart program guided her.

“I always thought I want to work in lab, but I learned that everything is technology-based and not so hands on as I thought,” she said.

She says the experience showed her that working at a rural hospital in Montana would provide more opportunity for interaction and variety in her career, whereas working in a metropolitan area would likely mean she’d be doing just one job.

“Before that I also thought I’d go to medical school and then go somewhere else,” she said. “It’s solidified my notion that I should stay in Montana.”

Grimes was selected for the UM Presidential Leadership Scholarship, which is awarded to 25 incoming freshman and provides a full tuition waiver.

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