Duke University’s Student of the Month: NHS’s Alpha Girl

Feb. 17, 2014 @ 10:25 AM

Northern High School senior Bianca Decatur doesn’t see herself as one of the high-achieving “Alpha Girls” profiled in Dan Kindlon’s book of that name.
But the 17-year-old’s accomplishments to date say otherwise.
Decatur has a 5.0 grade-point average and is a virtual lock to be valedictorian of Northern’s 2014 graduating class.
And by the time she graduates in June, Decatur will have no fewer than 16 Advanced Placement courses under her belt.
She is captain of the varsity cheer team, a member of the National Honor Society, president of the National Spanish Honor Society and serves on the student council, all while holding down a part-time job.
What’s more, Decatur was a semi-finalist for the prestigious Morehead Scholarship and attended Governor’s School of North Carolina last summer.
Still, Decatur says she is humbled when she reads “Alpha Girls:  Understanding the New American Girl and How She Is Changing the World.”
“These girls are crazy, crazy amazing, and I don’t hold a candle to them,” Decatur said. “I always go back and read it because it’s both humbling and motivating at the same time.”
Northern Principal Matthew Hunt said Decatur arrived at Northern High a little more than three years ago already plenty motivated.
Hunt said Decatur and a friend, Lexa Oakeson, met with him early on in their freshman year to talk about ways to build school pride.
“It was really exciting to see that kind of enthusiasm,” Hunt said. “I think they, along with other seniors, have had a huge impact on school pride over the last four years and that’s translated into academic success. She and a lot of her classmates have really helped us improve academically as a school.”
In addition, Hunt said Decatur and the other seniors have shown a willingness to help fellow students.
“What impresses me most about [Decatur] is that she’s involved in so many things, clubs, organizations and teams, but she’s not doing it to build a college résumé, she’s doing it because she has a genuine interest in helping others.”
Barbara Decatur said she and husband, Victor Decatur, are extremely proud of their daughter.
Barbara Decatur said rearing children is not easy but there’s a good chance for success if you teach them to be responsible for themselves and hold them accountable for their actions.
“I’ve just tried to do the best I can and it’s turned out great,” Barbara Decatur said. “We’re very proud of her. She’s done well.”
After Northern, Bianca Decatur plans to double major in neuroscience and nutrition.
She hasn’t decided where she will matriculate but has received acceptance letters from Elon, The University of Virginia and UNC-Chapel Hill, where her brother, Adam, is currently a sophomore.
“I think my family would like that,” Bianca Decatur said.
She is still waiting to hear from Duke and Harvard universities, her two “reach” schools.
It’s hard to imagine either being a stretch for Northern’s Alpha Girl.