An avid traveler, Khairi Appleberry has explored exotic places including Jamaica, Belize and Puerto Rico. Those trips, however, were nothing compared to the notable accomplishment she achieved this year – she flew to the top of the Destrehan High School class of 2020 and was named the valedictorian.
“Khairi Appleberry is one of the best students, and more importantly people, to have walked the halls of Destrehan High School,” a former teacher said.
Throughout her time in high school, Appleberry racked up dozens of community service hours and academic honors and awards. She was a member of the National Honor Society, Student Council, National Beta Club, Wildcat Mentor Program, Newsletter Club, Community Advisory Panel for Bayer, NOLA Community Alliance, Mu Alpha Theta, National English Honors Society, Interact Club and Literary Rally – and held leadership positions in most of those organizations.
“In my house, as I was growing up, I was always taught that it was hard work that gets rewarded,” she said.
“It has a really good pre-med program and they have really good connections with medical schools,” Appleberry said of her top choice school. “I expected to get a scholarship, but I didn’t know it would be a full one … I had only heard of people getting partial ones.”
Attending this particular HBCU was Appleberry’s dream.
“I’ve always talked about going to Xavier,” she said.
A DHS advanced placement psychology class peaked Appleberry’s interest so much that she completed her senior project on mental health in the black community
“I was interested in it because it’s highly unaddressed in America, and such a taboo topic,” she said. “I wanted to bring more awareness and have more conversations.”
The lack of health insurance and access to healthcare in the black community is a problem Appleberry said she wanted to bring awareness to. For her project, she assembled a community forum where she presented questions about what can be done to curb the issue.
She plans to study psychiatry at Xavier, and eventually attend LSU or Tulane for medical school.
“I want to open my own practice or work in psychiatry clinic that helps people … with and without health insurance,” she said.
Appleberry said she plans to explore the different clubs and groups Xavier has to offer.
“I wants to be well rounded,” she said. “Finding people with similar interests can help you with your journey.”