Ngo, Liao earn top honors for seniors

By Deandra Du

Editor in Chief

At last Friday’s Renaissance Rally, seniors Dylan Ngo and Andy Liao were announced as the valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively, for Gabrielino High School’s class of 2017.

Ngo has found time in his four years to be a representative for Boys State and three-time California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) qualifier, all while being enrolled in 12 Advanced Placement (AP) classes and maintaining a 4.7 weighted GPA. He has also taken multivariable calculus and linear algebra courses at Pasadena City College (PCC).

Yet, the activities that meant the most to Ngo were those off campus, be it volunteering locally or putting in hours at the pool. His fondest memories come from participating in a summer medical program, where he got to aid a live C-section, and working as a lifeguard and swim instructor for kids.

“For me, I took classes and did things I knew I would enjoy,” stated Ngo. “The most important factor in doing well is doing the things you love. That’s what helps keep you [grounded] and committed.”

While Ngo notes that practicing for exams like standardized testing is necessary, he advises students to balance those requirements with their passions, and prioritize what is important to them.

Ngo will be attending Brown University in the fall as a neuroscience and computer science dual major on the pre-medical track.

He attributes much of his success to counselor Jacqueline Borja. According to Ngo, “she’s what made it all happen,” by constantly advising him and put- ting him on the right path ever since he was a freshman.

“I am always amazed by his ability to balance athletics and academics […] I have never seen him stressed!” stated Borja. “He is easy to talk to, eager to learn, [and] open-minded. I am proud of [him], and know he will continue to do well.”

Having taken 11 AP classes, Liao holds a weighted GPA of 4.81. His accolades include being president of the Interact Club, vice president of the Home Economics Club, treasurer of the Red Cross Club, and co-host of Gab Talks.

Outside of school, he volunteers at a local nursing home and tutors math at the East Los Angeles College (ELAC). His favorite part is getting to share his knowledge with others and contribute to their success.

Liao is even a member of the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA). Despite not being on the speech team, he chose to compete in several tournaments because he has an “intrinsic love for performing and entertaining others.”

He thanks his friends, family, and Borja for their “undying support” in everything he does, and, like Ngo, encourages students to spend their high school careers doing what they are passionate about, and is worth their while.

“Pursue your goals always, always with your happiness in mind,” stated Liao.

Liao will be majoring in general biology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to study Eastern medicine and train to become a medical doctor. He wants to expand treatment options for patients and, in turn, give them hope for recovery.

“He’s a perfect student!” stated Mandarin teacher Yan Mao. “He has the grades, but it’s the attitude that makes him. He is always positive even when put under pressure, and that allows him to become stronger. He chooses not to be bitter.”

The other contenders for the title included seniors Angel Chen, Sheena Horiki, and Brigitte Phung.

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