By Ashley Shah
Albert Liu, Kevin Zhao and Grace Li, graduating seniors at Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS), have the highest grade point averages (GPA) among all students in their 2023 senior class. They share their tips, advice and experiences in maintaining their high scholarly status:
Albert Liu, valedictorian
Valedictorian Albert Liu will be heading to Duke University studying biology under the pre-medical track.
To get to such a prestigious school, Liu worked incredibly hard during his four years at Scripps Ranch High School (SRHS).
“I had a work hard, play hard mentality. You have to enjoy the journey. I had a lot of fun along the way. For me, I always picked activities, and commitments that I actually liked. I didn’t put myself in activities just for a better college application,” Liu said.
As one of his most memorable commitments, Liu was involved in the Red Cross club for all four years of high school. He served as co-president for the club in his last year.
“The Red Cross was very good at developing me as a person and a leader. I got to practice public speaking, organizing events and much more. It taught me how to take on a lot of responsibility and how to work with many people since I worked on the county level as well,” Liu said.
Other commitments he was involved in included Science Olympiad; research intern at University of California, San Diego(UCSD); volunteered at local hospitals; soccer; and much more.
For his accomplishments and success, he acknowledged Ms. Skalman, his history teacher, and his parents.
“I couldn’t have done this without the mentality that my parents taught me, which was to enjoy life and make the most out of it,” he said.
Kevin Zhao, salutatorian
Kevin Zhao is one of the SRHS salutatorians this year. He shared his thoughts on how to achieve such success.
“I’m going to be honest; I don’t have great study habits or any secret recipe. I will say though, that hard work pays off. If you keep at something, it will get easier, and that’s what I did. With school, if you keep putting in the time, eventually it will work out,” Zhao said.
Besides maintaining his grades, Zhao was involved in many commitments, such as Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC); an internship at University of California, San Diego; the varsity Academic League team; freelance translation, and more.
“The most notable organization I was involved in was Math Club. It was such a contrast to the general environment that I find myself in where most people do not like math. Being in this organization exposed me to people who have a passion for math. I felt very at home because I love calculations,” Zhao said.
All his hard work led to his enrollment to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he will study
computer science and minor in linguistics.
Zhao leaves his graduating class and those to come with the following message: “We all went through COVID. It was disruptive. But for me, it helped me figure out what I wanted in the future. It is good to find the positive in anything.”
Grace Li, salutatorian
As one of this year’s salutatorians, Grace Li shared her recipe for success.
“Balance is key. There are many opportunities. It is important to take advantage of those. But, it is also important to figure out what makes you happy, healthy and encouraged. What keeps you in balance is what you should pursue,” she said.
Following her own advice, she maintained balance with the commitments she was involved with. She highlighted her most memorable commitment.
“The Youth Pedia project with the Be the Change Foundation is something I started. This project created an online encyclopedia of video books. I volunteered over 600 hours to this. I was able to meet so many new people, learn how to manage my time and fulfill a passion of mine,” Li said.
Other commitments that she was involved with included being a research assistant at the University of California, San Diego; president of the debate team; badminton captain, and more.
Through all of these commitments, Li wanted to thank her parents and Mr. Selvi, her debate advisor.
“My parents and Mr. Selvi believed in me and constantly supported me, and I could not be more grateful,” she said.
In the fall, Li will be attending University of Southern California to study biomedical engineering.