Column: The truth about high school from a valedictorian’s perspective


My name is Victoria Chung and I am Redlands East Valley High School’s valedictorian of the class of 2018.  I’m writing this to tell you how much that doesn’t matter at all. 

Being rank one isn’t representative of how intelligent you are, and it definitely doesn’t mean that you are the smartest person in your class.  I could never tell you how to build an organ from scratch like Alex Kristoffersen could or how to analyze the emotions portrayed from Beethoven’s Große Fuge like Jace Elliot probably could. 

There are so many students who know more about certain subjects than I could ever understand.  And that’s okay. 

When I see my rank, I don’t see a number.  I see myself pulling all-nighters to make study guides for my upcoming tests and showing up to school resembling something similar to the undead.  I see myself writing the definition of a limit (L is equal to the limit of f(x) as x approaches c if and only if for any value epsilon is greater than 0, there is a value delta is greater than 0. Such that, if x is within delta units of c but x does not equal c, then f(x) is within epsilon units of L.) over and over again so I don’t forget it.  I see all of the hard work that I had invested into each and every one of my classes. 

When asked what I remember most fondly about my high school experience, I think of sitting in Coach Patalano’s golf cart with my teammates laughing about the mistakes we made after our matches.  I think about going crazy at prom with my friends to Dexys Midnight Runners’s Come on Eileen.  I think about sitting on the grass at lunch debating with my friends about which flavor of Jolly Ranchers is the best.  (The cherry one, if you’re wondering.) 

Don’t get me wrong; it’s important to have a good GPA if you’re looking to go to college, but it’s not the most important thing.  People say that high school is the worst four years of their life— yeah, it will be if you have that mentality. Surround yourself with good people who make you laugh and challenge you to be better.  Do what interests you and not what you think will look good on your college applications.  As cliche as it seems, you get what you put into it. 

Rank doesn’t mean anything, but the memories that you make and the lessons you learn will.

When I leave high school this coming summer, I DOUBT that I will recall my rank first.  What I will remember are my friends who I’ve seen grow and develop into the people they are today and the life lessons that I had to endure while learning to figure out how the real world works. 

Don’t waste your high school experience stressing about minuscule matters like failing that one test in that one class.  I am more than a number.  You are more than a number.    Make these four years count because you’ll never get them back. 

4 thoughts on “Column: The truth about high school from a valedictorian’s perspective

  1. OMCheese, I love this! I have a lot of friends who are spending their senior year with a bunch of stress. It’s just sad to watch them skip lunch to retake a test, stay up until three in the morning, and so forth. 😦

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