2017 Valedictorian reflects on achievement

First Person

Jasmin Tran, Guest Writer

Four years, 1,825 days, countless hours of homework from AP classes, and many, many seconds of relying on the clutch for grades.

It’s been a dream of mine to graduate as valedictorian since I was in 7th grade, and that dream has been fulfilled this year. My parents encouraged me to follow my dreams, but they never pressured me into being perfect all the time, and I think that was what drove me to accomplish this most. To be valedictorian is to be recognized for your GPA alone, but we all must remember that GPA isn’t everything, especially during college applications.
I found that I eventually got into a routine: come home after school/club meetings, have a snack, do homework, take a nap, go to practice, and do the rest of my homework plus anything else after that. I spent a lot of late nights on projects and essays, and trust me, procrastination is NOT your friend, no matter now cliché that may seem. Somehow, my time management skills came though and I was able to balance four years of tennis and badminton, Red Cross, Vietnamese Club, various community service events, and more.

To be honest, getting to know my teachers paid off when I needed to ask for letters of recommendation or references for applications or when I just wanted to rant about life in general. Two classes that I especially enjoyed were APUSH with Ms. Blount and AP Spanish with Señor Gil, not only because the classes were engaging and challenging, but because these two teachers have a passion for teaching that we, as students, were able to channel toward our learning. I don’t think that I would have made it through high school without them, Ms. LaRue, and Mr. Ramirez because they have truly kept me sane during this time in my life.

As I’m writing this, I’m almost mentally checked out from high school. I have fewer than seven days left with one letter and two speeches to write, but one thing to take away from this is to enjoy high school while it lasts. Avoid overloading yourself with AP classes just for the GPA boost, and instead, take the classes that really interest you. Also, if someone ever asks you what you’re doing, just say “my best” and move on. I became valedictorian because I wanted to do it for myself, not because it was expected of me, and as long as you put in time and effort in anything you do, you’ll be successful.