Holly Bergman said she’s not a perfectionist.
But, today she’ll graduate Moffat County High School with a perfect 4.0 grade point average.
In art class, she found herself pulled to painting instead of drawing because she didn’t like smudging her work.
She finished high school this week with the designation of scholar athlete, an academic letter, and academic awards in art, English and community service.
When she walks across the stage in the high school gym, the senior will graduate as the only female with a 4.0 GPA, making her one of four valedictorians.
But, for Bergman, anything less was never an option.
“It’s always been how it is for me,” the 18-year-old said. “I never thought of not doing my best.”
She strives for greatness, she said, not perfection.
“I’m OK with not doing the perfect thing to get it done,” she said. “I’m more able to let go and be creative.”
Bergman learned to let go at a young age.
Her family moved multiple times, sometimes for her father’s job and sometimes because the Bergmans were simply comfortable with moving.
She lived in Connecticut, New York, Maine and Montana, and with each new home, she was thrown into a different school where she felt the social pressure of being the new girl once more.
Sophomore year, she found herself the new girl in the MCHS halls.
But, when her parents moved again in the fall of 2009, she elected to stay behind for her senior year, launching herself into another unknown situation.
In the fall, Bergman moved in with Samantha Johnston, a Craig resident who worked with Bergman’s father, Barry, at The Memorial Hospital for a year.
“It was a lot of different things,” Bergman said of her decision to stay behind. “If I had left Moffat County, I probably would have been in two or three different schools for my senior year. And it was just easier this way for my credits.”
Johnston, who has no children of her own, said the situation took some getting used to on both ends.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” Johnston said. “She taught me a lot of things… just about the simple things that you forget when you’re an adult, like sharing your space.
“She taught me how to slow down a little bit and taught me sometimes it’s fun to come home and hang out and not work all the time.”
Johnston said she couldn’t have been luckier with her new roommate, and will be sad to see her go.
“She has a very infectious laugh and she’s fun and silly in a good way,” Johnston said. “She’s game for anything.”
Some of those qualities might come from her experience with transitions, Johnston said.
“She’s learned how to fit in,” Johnston said. “It’s a really hard skill for adults, let alone kids. Whatever your situation is, you have to make it work.”
For Bergman, it was all part of preparing for the next step.
Whether it was learning how to go grocery shopping for herself or being able to ask for something when she needs it, the independence she’s gained in the last year will stay with her.
“Of course I’m going to miss my parents,” Bergman said. “But I think this was a good gateway to living on my own in college. Now, I’m not really worried about going and being on my own.”
Bergman said she never feels uncomfortable anymore in new towns with new faces, which made it easy for her to find a social circle when she first arrived at MCHS.
In her advanced classes, she developed friendships with Brodie Schulze and Curtis and Nathan Ellgen, who will also graduate today as the three other 4.0 students and valedictorians.
The boys may not have known at the time, but Bergman looked up to their success and strove to keep up with them academically.
“I’ve met a lot of new friends who made me want to get better,” she said. “I didn’t want to fall behind them. I wanted to be up at their level.”
In some areas, she excelled with her own passion and motivation.
In the art room, she honed her creative skills that will lead her to a new home once more.
In the fall, Bergman will move to Manhattan, Kan. to attend a five-year program in architecture at Kansas State University.
“Since I was little, I always liked looking at buildings to design,” she said. “Like on the Sims (video game), I would just build the houses and then move on. I never actually played the game.”
In the program, she will earn a master’s degree in environmental design, with which she hopes to go on to design residential houses.
Today, her belongings are boxed up and ready to accompany her to Texas, where she will spend the summer before college. with her parents
On Thursday, she said she doesn’t expect her moment on the graduation stage — her last day in Craig before she moves — to be emotional.
She said she expects feel the nostalgia of the relationships she’s forged in her three years here.
But, she knows that her friends will be moving on, just like her.
“It might get to me when I’m up there,” she said.