Rachel Rackov, a math-loving senior at Dickinson’s Trinity High School, credits North Dakota Governor’s School, which she attended the summer of 2017, for teaching her the sum of math and computer science is the double major she plans to study this fall at North Dakota State University.
“Governor’s School was about six weeks of intense learning and a lot of fun,” she said. “It showed me I love math and I can’t imagine my future without doing math. It inspired me to stay in the state and go to NDSU — a great school — to study math and computer science.”
The 17-year-old Dickinson native says math has always been her favorite subject because it makes sense and when you “finally” figure out a new concept, it’s “fun” to do it over and over again.
This semester, Rackov decided to give tutoring a try. She devotes time each week to teaching elementary students — you guessed it — math.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said, noting one of the kids recently told her: “Oh, you’re just like my best friend. You make everything fun.”
The straight-A student has taken more than a handful of advanced and dual-credit classes throughout her high school career. Getting good grades shows you excel at time management, she says, and have self-control, because “there are probably other things you’d rather be doing than homework.”
“Grades should come first, it’s your future,” she said.
Rackov, who teachers describe as a role model and a leader, is this week’s Teen of the Week.
“Rachel is a very conscientious student, has excellent work habits and is a diligent worker. Problem solving is a unique quality of hers,” wrote Gregg Grinsteinner, Trinity’s math department chair, in a letter of recommendation. “Rachel knows that the group can accomplish more than the individual can. You will always get her best effort. Even though she has many talents, she is extremely humble.”
The former cheerleader has been playing piano for nine years and picked up the trumpet as a fifth-grader. She plays the horn in Trinity’s high school and jazz bands, as well as the Dickinson City Band and Dickinson State University’s pep band.
Rackov, who has also participated in the Northern Plains Music Festival and the University of North Dakota Honor Band, has received numerous awards for her musical talents, but says earning Outstanding Performance at regionals for trumpet trio has been the most rewarding, as well as being selected to play in the All-State Band.
“I like the way it feels when I play music,” Rackov said, noting when she plays a piece, she tries to interpret the message the composer is trying to convey. “It’s a lot of fun.”
A six-year speech team member, the co-captain says extemporaneous programmed reading is her favorite event. The youngest of three children, she says she’s used to her brother and sister talking over her all the time, so she likes that the judges have to listen to her during competitions.
“Harvey” is a production Trinity’s drama club recently put on. Rackov, a six-year member, played Nurse Kelly, who she describes as a flirt. Getting to know other cast members over the years has been most enjoyable, she said, and everyone feels like family.
The teen volunteers at her church, Redeemer Lutheran in Dickinson, on a regular basis. She teaches Sunday school to preschoolers, acts as secretary of the youth group, helps with vacation Bible school and has sung in the choir.
When time allows, she serves as her neighbors’ dog- and babysitter, too. Her hobbies include playing piano and trumpet and reading.
Rackov, the daughter of Peter and Cheryl, says being able to teach her passion — mathematics — to her own kids, one day, or students in a classroom tops her bucket list.