Mount Si valedictorians relish having some buddy to lean on
June 13, 2012
By Sebastian Moraga
Sally Miller and Riley Edwards know the old cliché by heart. Smart students are smart because they have no friends, no fun, no life.
They have heard it all before, to the point that it makes the two class valedictorians for this year’s Mount Si High School graduation joke about their supposed fixation with grades.
“I have friends,” said Edwards with a laugh. “I have Sally. She’s my friend. She calls me and we talk about homework.”
Miller and Edwards finished their four-year high school career with a 4.0 grade-point average. Connor Deutsch finished with a 3.97 and will be the class salutatorian. Which, incidentally, was Edwards’ goal when she left middle school four years ago. She even wrote it down.
“I told my mom,” Edwards said, “and she said, ‘why would you write that? ‘I want to finish second.’ So I changed my mind.”
Miller said she always wanted to be valedictorian.
“I always tried really hard to keep my 4.0,” she said.
With their mission accomplished, they can look back on it with a cool head.
“I am honored and proud to have been chosen as valedictorian,” Edwards said, “But learning the same amount and getting an A-plus or a B-minus is just as valuable. What you learn is more important than the grade you get.”
Furthermore, Edwards said she would not advise any student entering high school to have being a valedictorian as their main goal. Do your best, she said, but make excelling in high school your beginning, not your end.
Miller will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and major in aerospace engineering. She thanked her parents for their support and credited her teachers for making it this far.
“Only with their encouragement I think I could attend MIT,” she said.
Edwards will attend Fordham University in New York and major in international relations with a focus on the Middle East. She credited her parents, saying that they expected her to go to a good college.
“Although it’s my work,” she said. “I don’t know what I would have done if they had not been there to support it and encourage it.”
Miller and Edwards pledged to remain friends and share the shuttling back and forth between Cambridge, Mass. and New York.
They also shared the pluses and minuses of living in a small community.
“I feel like I’ve really gotten close to my teachers,” Miller said.
Edwards said that while MSHS is not perfect, she praised the fact that the school is raising its standards.
“It’s making students look past Central and Western as part of their college choices,” she said referring to two of the state-run universities, which she said students tend to favor.
They know some Wildcats attend Central, so they choose it.
At the same time, being from a small town sometimes conditions the way people view student accomplishments, Edwards added. She applied to Yale and Valley people assured her she was getting in.
“I would do the same thing because I wouldn’t want to bring them down, but I don’t know about people’s understanding of the caliber of students across the country,” she said, adding that every high school in America has a valedictorian.
“People haven’t been exposed to schools where standards are so much higher,” she said. “I know Mount Si is improving and that makes me glad, but there are college prep schools with curriculums that Mount Si students would be blown away by.”
Sebastian Moraga: 392-6434, ext. 221, or email@example.com.