by Chloe Kiparsky

Mica Hart started off our interview by sneezing, and there is not a more Mica thing than that chaotic, boisterous release of energy. Daughter of Jenny and Sean Hart, and sister to Hayden, Mica has brought sneezes and much, much more to Ouray during her life so far, and now it is time for her to move on. 

A funny, deep, smart, charismatic person, Mica has “been part of Ouray school since I was three years old,” she said, and has lived here for her entire life. With a childhood full of baking, Disney movies, romping outdoors, laughter, and family, Ouray and all it contains is as much a part of her as she is of it. 

Being a senior has made Mica realize how “disconcerting” it is that “so many of the familiar faces that were there for most of my school career are gone,” whether former teachers or graduated peers. “I love Ouray so much that I’m scared to leave, and I’m sad to leave, and I don't always feel like I’m fully ready to go,” she mused, “but also I think I’ve done everything I can for Ouray School and Ouray School has given me all it has to offer.”

Over her high school years, Mica has thrown herself into many activities, including basketball, competitive climbing, aerial silks, ceramics, Honor Society, and the Voyager Youth Program. The latter two have taught her so much about leadership, she said, and “leading and being a part of the Honor Society has changed my life and put me on a really cool path.” 

Excitable and impassioned as she is, it is no surprise that, according to fellow senior Nate Kissingford, Mica has “complained to me so much over the years about how there is not enough time to do everything she loves, and I think that really encapsulates Mica: that she loves so many things with so much intensity and when she loves something, she is determined to become skilled at it.”

“Mica’s a very real person: very grounded, very unafraid to just be,” Nate continued: “she is someone who is insightful, compassionate, and solid, someone who’s incredibly vulnerable in a way that I really admire.”

When asked about her deepest flaw, Mica replied that “most of us either ignore our greatest flaw, aren’t aware of our greatest flaw, or pretend like it’s a strength,” so she didn’t know what to say, but one thing she recognizes about herself is that she cannot feel confident in anything academic until she has a very deep understanding of it. This means that she draws from an incredible well of knowledge, but she has had to work extremely hard to create it, a process she often finds stressful.

But she’s passionate about satisfying her curiosity. “Learning and thinking and talking is part of my soul,” she said. “She’s always been the learner who finds everything interesting,” added science teacher Ms. Lakin, “from random historical facts to really obscure science ideas.” 

Her other passion, the mountains, has been with her since she was a tiny child, staring at Ouray’s ranges for hours on end and memorizing the names of the peaks. Now, almost 18, she has climbed all the mountains in the area. She fondly looks out at the cliffs she knows so well and feels closure. Off to Colorado College (CC) in Colorado Springs next year, she is “excited to explore new ranges,” to make new memories in new mountains. 

CC was her first choice of college, partly because of its block plan: a semester's worth of work packed into 3.5 weeks - a chance for Mica to delve deep and be utterly consumed by one curiosity at a time. The “rigor is intimidating but exciting,” she said, an opportunity to “deeply think all the time.” 

She will major in biology but has no specific vision for her future career. Her most concrete wish is “to be connected: to people, to nature, to myself. I want to be grounded in whatever I’m doing.”

Mica would like to give a “big, huge, massive, complete, oozing thank you to every single person in Ouray who’s been in my life.” She gives “pretty much all of the credit of who I am and the cool things I’ve done to the amazing people who’ve either helped me to do them or inspired me to do them.”

Ask any member of her class, and they will tell you that Mica Hart never only sneezes once; it is always three or more times. Gesundheit, Mica, Gesundheit!