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Local Teen Accomplished Beyond Her Years

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Getting good-enough grades to be admitted to Harvard would be good enough for many people.

But add to that drawing two nationally syndicated cartoons, volunteering with the Red Cross and serving as the Science Club president.

Now, imagine doing all of it at age 18.

That describes a local teen who is making the most of life.

Sakura Christmas soon will say goodbye to Chapel Hill High School, and she'll say it as class Valedictorian, with a 4.0 grade point average. She's always had a lot to say, and she often says it with a picture and a joke.

"I've been drawing for a really long time," Christmas said. "I mean, like, ever since I could remember."

Christmas' syndicated comic strip appears in


magazine. Publishers saw her work in the Durham Herald Sun's kids' page.

"Well, the target audience is definitely my age group," she said. "But if you get it, and you're an adult, more power to you."

Christmas is president of the Science Cub, a presidential scholar, even a licensed HAM radio operator.

"That grew out of me trying to contact my pen pal on Pitcairn Island," she said. "But she never got her license, so I couldn't really talk to her."

Sakura's grades and activities earned her first team on the

USA Today>

High School All Stars. A reporter broke the news over the phone.

"I was really excited, and I tried to be really calm," Christmas said. "But I was silently screaming. And I was definitely jumping up and down when the lady was talking to me on the phone."

She'll spend the $2,500 check on college -- Harvard, that is. But she hasn't decided on a major.

"I really don't know," she said. "I'm still trying to work on it. I think I'll be working on it for most of my life."

Christmas will stick to cartooning for now as a part-time gig to get her through college.

One more thing about Sakura. She speaks Japanese. Her mother is from Japan, and they lived there for a couple years.

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