Hardworking, innovative, and involved describes Glen Rock’s 2023 Valedictorian

by Neil Sahu, News Editor

The definition of Valedictorian: a student, typically having the highest academic achievements of the class, who delivers the farewell address at a graduation ceremony.

This year Glen Rock High School is happy to present the title of Valedictorian to Mikayla Kim, a senior who has worked her way through four long years, especially in a time during a global pandemic.

Mikayla describes herself as an actively involved student, as she is part of many extracurriculars and was the captain of the tennis team and debate team this past year. Kim plans on going to college at Rutgers University Honors College next year. She wants to be a pediatric orthopedic surgeon in the future, a path which brings great excitement to her.

However, obtaining the title of valedictorian was no easy task, and it took a lot of dedication. Mikayla never planned on obtaining the title of Valedictorian, as one day she was called down to Dr. Parent’s office in March. She described the moment she received the title as “a little bit of a shock” because she never expected it, and it was never a thought beforehand.

Kim had many feelings expressed towards the title of being Valedictorian,

“I believe a student is more than just their GPA. While being a valedictorian is a wonderful title, there’s more to it than grades. As I’m passionate about science, STEM, volunteering, tutoring, and debating.”

With the last three years being faced with challenges of a global pandemic (which was announced midway through her freshman year), and on top of college applications, Kim has pushed through each challenge relentlessly.

“It was a big transition for me, because I knew that in high school, everything did matter. Every quarter grades, they mattered to my cumulative GPA and what I was going to do for my final GPA for college, But also, I had a ton of great teachers, and they were definitely just so great to kind of ease that transition.”

Kim described her hardest year of high school being Junior year. Kim explained that at the end of her Junior year and beginning of senior year, there was so much more responsibility with college admissions, and just sending them out. It was already hard enough managing schoolwork and extracurriculars, but adding another layer of stress with college applications made Kim’s Junior and senior year harder.

As a student who has been working very hard throughout her entire high school career, Kim had some advice for those who want to achieve a high academic standing and personal growth.

“Definitely make time for yourself because I was like, Oh, I have to do homework, I have to go to a club meeting, and I have to study for all my tests next week. But you also have to realize at the same time that your life is not all about the college that you’re going to, it’s also about having that balance, not only within like academics and extracurriculars, but also within your like more I guess like school life and your personal life.”