Valedictorian, salutatorian announced for Class of 2017

February 16, 2017 — by Saya Sivaram and Eileen Toh

Each of the honorees has taken at least 15 AP and honors classes.

    Senior William Hu is one of the current Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Club presidents and an in-game captain of the Science Bowl team and recently gained national recognition in the Siemens competition.  

    Senior Harrison Cui works for the Bay Area nonprofit organization, Bay Echo — a group that aims to facilitate communication between teenagers and their parents who live in less-fortunate areas.

    On Feb. 14, both Hu and Cui were called into the office and learned from principal Paul Robinson and assistant principal Brian Safine that they had received the top honors of being the valedictorian and salutatorian for the Class of 2017.

    Hu, the valedictorian, boasts a total weighted GPA of 4.81, one of the highest in the school’s history, while Cui, the salutatorian, holds a 4.79.

    Throughout his high school career, Hu took 17 AP and honor courses, ranging from AP Calculus BC to AP US History. While Hu has kept a rigorous class schedule all four years, such as tripling in AP science courses in his junior year, he believes that his willingness to put time into his work and organization skills are what helped him receive this top recognition.

    “Personally, I think it’s really fun and exciting to just learn more,” Hu said. “I think that a lot of students are motivated by external factors like peers and parents, but I am more motivated internally.”

Cui’s resume displays 15 AP and honors classes, including AP Computer Science. And although Cui has taken primarily advanced courses over the past few years, he does think it has hurt him in one way.

I feel like one downside of AP courses is that they limit the number of people you can meet because as you go to higher classes there are fewer and fewer people who are in your classes,” Cui said. “Some of the friends that I made freshman year I don’t get to meet much anymore.”

Cui credits this honor to his parents and his peers.

“My parents encouraged me and pushed me to do my best, and my friends are great people who study hard and encourage me to do more,” Cui said.

Both Hu and Cui have already been congratulated by their teachers and other staff members.

Cui’s guidance counselor Monique Young appreciates the care with which Cui selected his classes and executed a difficult course load.

    Harrison is so responsible and self-reliant, so much so that he doesn’t need to come into my office very much for help,” Young said. “I would say that he’s definitely independent, but what I appreciate is that he took his courses for his real interests and not just because they would make his GPA higher.”

Spanish teacher Arnaldo Rodriguex, who has had Hu in his Spanish 4 Honors and Spanish 5 AP classes, admires Hu’s work ethic, perfectionist attitude and conscientiousness.

“I am so proud of Willy,” Rodriguex said. “He really tries hard to be the best that he can at anything that he does. I wish him the best of luck in the future, and I just hope he can have some fun.”

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