LOUISVILLE, Ky. — When it comes to academic performance, she is perfectly named: Opal Best. The senior at Christian Academy of Louisville has a stellar 4.7 grade point average, one of the highest in school history.

What You Need To Know

  • Opal Best has a 4.7 GPA at Christian Academy of Louisville

  • She also plays violin and sings in All-State choir and acts in school plays

  • Best was adopted from China as an infant and advocates for that process

  • The standout student will attend Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, in the fall

Best shared she has a unique way of learning. “Some people think ‘Oh she just rolls out of bed and gets an A’ but it’s not exactly like that. There is a lot of time put in, out of school and in school that comes with the grades that I get.”

“A lot of the things that I do to study and learn is I talk to my mom. So when I’m reading from a textbook or I’m looking over notes from class, I usually try to explain it to my mom. I’ll just show up at her in her room and say ‘Hey mom, you want to learn about photosynthesis?’ and if I can explain that process to her, that shows that I’ve learned it. If I can explain it, then it shows I understand it,” she explained.

Spectrum News 1's High School Scholar Opal Best has been playing violin since the second grade. (Christian Academy of Louisville)

But great grades just scratch the surface of what makes her special. She also has a strong creative side, playing the violin since she was in second grade. “I’ve always loved music. I’ve been playing at CAL’s Orchestra for a long time and I’ve really grown to love playing in an ensemble,” she said.

“I think all the different parts working together, there’s something really beautiful. It’s kind of like a sport because you have to have balance and you have to know when it’s your moment to shine, just like in sports, when you need to pass the ball, when you need to pass the melody to the viola or the cello.”

She’s also All-State in Choir and shines on stage in CAL’s school plays. “I’ve always loved acting,” Best said. “I can be very dramatic, which my mother could tell you. I’ve played a bunch of different characters. I’ve played the Queen of Hearts and that was really fun because I just got to yell at people. And that’s not something that I do, that’s not a side of me that people get to see very often. But it was just really fun to see people come up to me and be like, ‘I didn’t know that you could be that loud’. So it’s fun to find a different part of yourself.”

Opal Best is a member of Christian Academy of Louisville’s All-State Choir. (Opal Best)

In addition to all that, growing up in Shelby County led to her involvement with 4-H. She says it runs deep in her family. “It’s basically to learn a lot of things that you don’t get to learn in school. So you focus on agriculture, you focus on cooking.

“I’ve learned how to cane a chair. I’ve learned how to sew through 4-H and do a lot of arts and crafts type of things and I’ve been able to enter a lot of those projects in the state fair and I won some ribbons. And speaking of the fair, every year I go and I give a speech about country ham.”

Best also believes in giving back, volunteering with nearly 20 community service projects. Her school counselor, Jill Blount, says she is a wonderful role model for her classmates.

“I would say that Opal is a just a natural leader. She jumps in to get the job done. Others follow suit. They know that she is so smart, and she knows what to do and she’s gonna do it, but she’s never overbearing with anyone because she’s just such a kind, humble spirit,” Blount shared.

Best credits her success to her mother, who adopted her from China when she was a baby. Opal wishes more people could have the experience she did, saying, “I really am adamant about helping fix the system because I know it’s very broken right now and I wish that we could help raise awareness about that. I really believe adoption is a very beautiful thing, and it’s obviously a very important part of our lives and my family’s lives because it makes connections, it brings out love and community.”

This fall, Best will attend Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.