Quest to be a surgeon fuels Erin’s yearning for learning

DAGSBORO — Fully committed to learning, Erin Haden was razor-sharp as a student at Indian River High School.

Someday she wants to be a surgeon.

“It’s my dream of becoming a surgeon,” said the 2017 IRHS graduate. “Being a surgeon is one of those jobs where you have to do really well in school, so I just work really hard because I know that is what I want to do. That’s why I work so hard in school.”

Her hard work paid dividends. At IRHS’s May 31 graduation, Erin shared the valedictorian stage with Hayden McWilliams. Almost incredibly, they finished with identical 4.756 grade point averages.

“Tied to the thousandth; I don’t know how we did it,” Erin said.

Academic success is nothing new to Erin or her family. Twin sister Alexis Haden was a member of the National Honor Society. Her older brother Cole Haden, currently attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, was valedictorian for Sussex Central High School’s Class of 2015.

Speaking of “Bean Town,” that’s where Erin is headed. She’ll attend Boston University to begin her quest for a career in medicine. She plans to major in Human Physiology with a minor in Spanish.

Erin, the daughter of Kristin and Rick Haden, resides in Dagsboro. At Indian River High School, she was involved in athletics and extra-curricular activities. She was a three-year member of the LEO Club, serving as treasurer this year, and served as vice president and treasurer for the National Honor Society.

Erin Haden

In sports, Erin participated in field hockey and swimming all four years. “And this year I tried out for lacrosse,” she said.

This week’s Person to Meet: Erin Haden.

Your decision to attend Boston University?

“I applied to old colleges that were in cities because I really wanted to be involved in internships and volunteer opportunities in abundance. So, I applied to schools in D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston. And I applied to one in Cleveland, Ohio.”

“But I ended up choosing Boston because it’s well known for the medical field. I want to go into medicine and be a surgeon. And Boston is just a great city in general. Boston University has a great major in Human Physiology, that a lot of pre-med students get to do. There are a lot of upsides to going to Boston.”

How would you describe your four years at Indian River High School?

“I think it was challenging. Both (Erin and Hayden McWilliams) of us took a huge number of difficult classes. This year we filled our schedules with AP (Advanced Placement) and Dual Enrollment classes. Having the option to put so many of those in our schedule, it was nice to be able to do that. So, we could get a lot of our day when we came here.”

Is their a fondest memory at IRHS? 

“Field hockey this year is probably one of my fondest memories. My field hockey team has progressed so much since our freshman year. We were 1-14 our freshmen season. And this year we ended up making it to the state tournament. That was really exciting. I am always saying I wish we could go back to field hockey season because I miss it so much.”

What do you see in your distant future?

“I am not totally sure about it but I have a strong desire to be a surgeon in the military. So, I hope to be somewhere around the world serving our country and medicine. And then eventually settle down at like an urban hospital and be there for the majority of my life. But I would like to be in the military at some point; not enlist, but work with the military.”

Any words of advice to your classmates and the world in general?

“Based on the way that I got through high school, I want people to know what their dream is and work their hardest in that direction. Not everyone has to be valedictorian to do what they love. If somebody wants to go into construction I want them to work their hardest and be the best at construction. Or if they are going into military do everything that they can to move up in the ranks and be the best at what they do.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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