For any student, high school can be rigorous, stressful, and challenging. For a top student, it is possible that these stressors may be heightened; striving each day for the top score, with the knowledge that half of a point could make a difference; the high school career of a future valedictorian or salutatorian can be extremely taxing. Today, I had the opportunity of speaking with Mepham’s salutatorian, Gabriela Daza, who also happens to hold the positions of Class President and Co-Kickline Captain, on her experience with achieving this position at Mepham High School.
1. What does it mean to be salutatorian to you?
It means that the work is worth it.
2. Knowing that a tenth or hundredth of a point could change your rank, did you find yourself stressing over achieving the position?
Somewhat, but it’s really just a title more than a part of who I am. I had to remind myself that it’s a really specific title that’s based off of my specific school and it’s not everything. But it is exciting.
3. Do you feel like you studied enough or too much throughout the years?
It really depends. There were definitely times where I could have studied more, outlined more, watched more videos. And there were also times where a nap would’ve been more useful than more studying.
4. How do you find time to dedicate to your studies and all of your extracurriculars?
I have a lot of great people in my life who help me manage my time and who are so understanding of my other responsibilities. If it wasn’t for my parents, coach, guidance counselors, bosses, and teachers, I wouldn’t have been able to manage anything at all, let alone everything at once.
5. Which university will you be attending next year?
University of Pennsylvania!
6. Do you think the weight of this title helped with your college acceptance?
It’s definitely nice to have the distinction, but I can’t say if it was the make-or-break thing that got me into college. It’s hard to tell.
7. Do you have any advice for future salutatorian-aspiring students?
My advice would just be to be true to yourself! Push yourself, but know your limits. Work hard, but rest, too. Grades aren’t everything and remember to thank those who help you.
It clearly appears that Gabby’s hard work paid off. She will be attending an excellent school in the upcoming fall, and we are sure she will achieve even more there. Congratulations, Gabby!