Valedictorian’s Advice: Friends, Involvement and Self-Discovery

Henry Wise Wood High School Class of 2017 valedictorian details her personal experience and advice for high school students.

Unafraid. Vivacious. Leader.

You have to put yourself first

Being involved in the school community and having a balanced social life is very important to me. I think it all comes down to what’s important to you and what makes you feel passionate and happiest. My biggest piece of advice about this sort of thing would be to be unafraid. High school will be the most self conscious time in your life and it will feel like it’ll never be more important than now to worry about what other people think of you.

Friends come from your passion and interests, not the other way around.

Oftentimes, making friends in high school seems to be a formidable task, but the Valedictorian of the Henry Wise Wood class of 2017 speaks from experience that if you follow your passions and do the things you love, you will be able to easily meet people with similar interests and form friends as a result. She is seen to be a happy, smiling face around the school and is very well known, even by people who have never had her in their classes. She attributes this to her recognition of the fact that high school is a very small-knit community and that once she followed her interests and did the things she loved doing, making friends came naturally.

While high school places a great importance on academics, one mistake people often make is disregarding extracurriculars in their freshman and sophomore years of high school. It is incredibly important to create relationships with a wide variety of people as you never know which of those might be your link to a new internship or a new leadership position. Joining clubs and sports teams is a great way to foster such relationships as you will get the opportunity to meet a wide variety of people outside your grade. Plus, the high school years only get harder so joining early is the best way to grow when you still have the time to do so!

Try as many things as you possibly can. For the valedictorian of the Class of 2017, Student Council was one way she found her community in high school. It taught her leadership skills, and similarly, sports teams or band can do the same if you are athletically or musically inclined. Remember, even though it seems daunting at the start, high school is a very safe environment to try and explore your interests. You should be unafraid to try new things and step out of your comfort zone. Do not worry too much about what people think, because others are feeling the same way. Everyone is self conscious and time flies in high school. Before you know it, it will all be behind you. So don’t be left wanting more when high school ends!

So, what have we learnt from Vivi so far? We have learnt that high school might be the most self-conscious time of one’s life, but truthfully, it is a very close-knit community and that it passes by in a flash. Vivi also was brilliant at keeping in touch with the school’s admin and counsellors. She believes that the relationships she built are a major reason why she was chosen to be on the pedestal on the day of graduation to represent the graduating class of 2017. These relationships will be truly invaluable when you get to your grade 12 year and when you need reference letters for everything. Vivi was not shy about going to counsellors when she felt sad or depressed about school and she did not shy away from saying a simple hello to them whenever she got the chance.

This article was written from the help of Vivi Le, the Class of 2017 Valedictorian at Henry Wise Wood High School.