Borah teen starts dedicated path toward being a surgeon

Phillip Cathers wants to be a cardiac surgeon, so he enrolled in a nursing program and he’s getting perfect scores in advanced classes. This load often requires seven hours of studying a night.

His resume looks like that of a college junior. But he’s only a 17-year-old Borah High junior with perfect grades in a high-octane class schedule filled with medical and Advanced Placement (AP) classes.

“I wasn’t surprised that Phillip received a 5.0 GPA because I know how hard he works and how much effort he puts into everything that he does,” said Bill Donaldson a Borah High School math teacher. “Very few students actually take all AP classes and are successful. It’s a rare quality.”

Cathers owns a 5.0 grade-point average (GPA), a recognition for taking on the challenges of AP course work where grades are weighted on a five-point scale. He’s enrolled in six AP courses this year, including U.S. history, calculus, English, biology, Spanish and physics. He took one AP class as a sophomore.

“It’s hard and a lot of work,” he said. “They [teachers] tell you each AP class is an hour of homework and having six really adds up.”

Cathers also dedicates time to baseball. He’s in infielder on the varsity team.

“Ever since I was young, I have enjoyed school and have tried my hardest at it,” Phillip said. “This year I wanted to see how dedicated I am and I went for it all.”

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On top of sports and AP course work, Cathers is enrolled at the Dennis Technical Education Center in Boise completing the certified nursing assistant certificate.

“Being successful is about self drive and self want and that’s what I have,” he said. “It’s about putting dedication to what you want to achieve.”

Cathers plans to take another six AP courses his senior year and enroll into a pharmacy technician program at Dennis Technical Education Center. He’ll also tryout for the varsity baseball team.

His top choices for college are Princeton University and Stanford University.