CATO, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — All month long, NewsChannel 9 is shining a spotlight on Central New York students graduating at the top of their class. Tuesday’s top student is the Valedictorian at Cato-Meridian High School, Katelyn Johnson. Johnson has had her dreams mapped out before she even started school, and she had no idea where the road would take her.

Being named Valedictorian came as a surprise for Katelyn Johnson.

“I was like I actually did it, like its always been my goal since I was like two,” says Johnson.

Her drive is obvious, but something else helped fuel Johnson’s academic success.

“My mom promised me a car if I was valedictorian. So I’m like I got to do it. I want that car,” says Johnson.

Even the smoothest rides come with a few speed bumps.

“AP Chemistry was hard this year. But I manage to get through it. It took a lot of studying, but I enjoyed the class a lot and that helps with everything,” says Johnson.

Everything that has to do with Johnson’s future plans. Come this fall, she’ll be attending the University at Buffalo.

“I’m studying chemistry and I am part of the honors college. So I get to take special classes like honors, calculus and stuff like that,” says Johnson.

Johnson eventually plans to trade the winter coat she’ll need for Buffalo winters, for a white coat.

“I want to be a trauma surgeon in the future. So chemistry obviously will help with the background in med school,” says Johnson.

Johnson added, “I think its a really fascinating career. I watched a live surgery over this past summer and I thought it was the most fascinating thing. I enjoy it so much.”

As for that car she was promised, Johnson says she’s still waiting. She’s hopeful she’ll be behind the wheel before fall, ready to shift into the next gear of her life.

Johnson says she plans to work this summer to try and save money for college.

NewsChannel 9 has been asking each of our Valedictorians what advice they have for their classmates. Johnson says she encourages everyone to find a balance between friends and school work. It might mean some sacrifice along the way, but Johnson’s show.. it’s all worth it!