By Angelina Liang
At yesterday’s Renaissance Rally, Bianca Lee and Leon Tran were revealed to be the Class of 2018 valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.
Lee and Tran are the top two students of six finalists chosen for consideration for this academic achievement. The remaining four candidates were Alyssa Liu, Christopher Lung, Hugo So, and Sarah Tang.
Principal Sharron Heinrich explained that the criteria for valedictorian and salutatorian is more than just having the highest G.P.A. in the senior class. Instead, the administration looks to honor the two students who best represent the ideals of Gabrielino High School. Therefore, several factors are considered in addition to a high G.P.A. These factors include rigor of course load, number of core classes completed at Gabrielino (as opposed to completing course work at other campuses), long-term dedication to specific extracurricular activities (as opposed to the number of extracurricular activities), leadership in those activities, and, finally, volunteer and community service.
In addition to the 4.6 weighted GPA and 11 AP classes on her record, Lee is involved in Speech and Debate and the Home Economics Club. She is also a Gold Award recipient, the highest service achievement bestowed by the Girl Scouts of America.
As the 2017 state champion in Publication Design and 2018 state champion in E-Business at the California Future Business Leaders of America State Leadership Conference, Lee has high hopes of becoming an emerging leader in the business world and is attending the University of California, Berkeley, as a Pre-Haas business major this fall.
In addition to the 13 AP classes she has taken on campus, Liu has also taken four college courses in psychology and college level mathematics. She has a weighted GPA of 4.7, and will be attending the University of Southern California this fall to study environmental science and health, biology, and international relations. On top of her rigorous academic schedule, Liu has also put in over 200 hours of volunteer work throughout high school, worked at a local hospital, and conducted research at USC’s Keck School of Medicine.
“[Volunteering] opened my eyes to different cultures and backgrounds,” stated Liu, “[I learned] to serve as a role model for the future of our community.”.
Lung has taken ten AP courses and maintains a 4.5 weighted GPA. Like Lee, he will also be attending the University of California, Berkeley, this fall. He intends to major in bioengineering and pursue research opportunities to work with DNA and stem cells in a laboratory setting.
“I got a lot of support from my counselor, Ms. Borja, and my family, which helped me on my academic journey,” stated Lung.
Over the past four years, So has taken 12 AP courses and earned a 4.8 weighted GPA. He will be attending Harvey Mudd College this fall to study engineering with a focus in chemical or mechanical engineering.
So hopes to pursue a career in the STEM field as well. From earning the achievement of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America to competing in track and field, So’s involvement has taught him to be a well balanced, efficient worker.
“[Through my extracurriculars,] I learned team building skills, how to be a leader, and furthered my interest [in science],” stated So.
Tang has taken nine AP courses and a 4.5 weighted GPA. She will also be attending the University of California, Berkeley, in the fall with a major in psychology. As a team leader volunteering at the Methodist Hospital taking care of premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, she hopes to work in the medical field as a neonatologist.
Over the course of his high school career, Tran has earned a 4.5 weighted GPA and taken nine Advanced Placement (AP) courses. During his four years at Gabrielino, he has competed in FIRST Robotics, won International Extemporaneous Speaking at the California High School Speech Association State Championship Tournament, and found time to maintain an internship with Jack Sayers, a research assistant professor of Physics at the California Institute of Technology.