Valedictorians dish out straight facts
By Lisee Crayton, Reporter
As their senior year comes to a close, the class of 2022’s students are happily getting ready to graduate. Shining bright in the bunch are the six valedictorians; Amelia Spence, Erik Pringle, Ryder Jones, Ryen Kirschner, Alyssa Hawkins, and Tyler Huffman. These students all displayed strong academic stamina, and look back on their time at VHS, as well as forward to their future.
While many might think earning stellar grades is an impossible feat, the valedictorians make it known that it is within reason—and very possible— to succeed.
“I had to work pretty hard, but I’m also super lucky, and it was usually manageable for me. I’m also really really conscious of the fact that that hard work isn’t what sets me apart from a lot of students,” Kirschner said.
While academic perfection in the classroom comes easy to some, the valedictorians assure VHS that hard work is essential in order to excel.
“Keeping my grades up definitely took a lot of work, but I never felt too overwhelmed. Getting work done efficiently was a lot easier over the pandemic,” Hawkins said.
The class of 2022 has an astounding number of 4.0 students. However, the valedictorians don’t seem to mind sharing the title.
“Six valedictorians is unusual, but when has this class been normal?” Hawkins said.
“It’s an honor to share the accomplishment with my fellow valedictorians,” Pringle said.
Of course, there is a reason for all of the hard work. The valedictorians have ambitious plans for the future. Erik Pringle is attending Cal Poly SLO, and majoring in materials engineering. Alyssa Hawkins is attending University of Alabama in the Blount Scholars Program. Ryen Kirschner is attending Illinois Wesleyan University, majoring in secondary education and English. Ryder Jones is attending Claremont McKenna College, majoring in Economics. Amelia Spence is taking a gap year. Tyler Huffman is attending the University of Washington, majoring in Engineering.
Many students might wonder if all this work is worth it. Is the title and the speech worth four years of hard work and dedication to your studies? The valedictorians seem to think so.
“I am proud of my accomplishments and got into a school I really wanted to,” Jones said.
Jones is not alone in his sentiment. Other valedictorians also are proud of how their hard work paid off.
“It was worth it to work as hard as I did because it allowed me to open as many doors as possible for college and have no regrets,” Pringle said.
The class of 2022’s top six have some advice for those aspiring valedictorians. Mainly, they want students to know how to enjoy their time in high school and not stress.
“Don’t try too hard. Have as much fun as possible. I learned this halfway through high school, and had better junior and senior years,” Jones said.
The biggest piece of advice from the class of 2022’s valedictorians seems not to stress yourself out with working too hard, but rather to find a work/play balance and to enjoy high school while it lasts.
“This may seem hypocritical, but don’t put grades on a pedestal. If getting good grades isn’t intrinsically motivating for you, chasing them for the sake of a trophy will rob you of the best parts of your high school experience,” Hawkins said.