By Aly Prouty
This year, the senior class of 2015 has not one, but two valedictorians—Seniors Sarah Thomas and Theresa Neubig are tied for first in their class. However, there is much more to these two students than a high GPA. They are both National Merit Scholars. Theresa has a busy schedule filled with sports practices, and Sarah is involved in music and other clubs. In mid-May, Panther Press sat down with both girls to get to know them a little bit better.
What was your reaction when you found out you were valedictorian?
T: When I found out I was number one, I was super excited, especially when I found out that I was tied with Sarah Thomas. It feels great to share something we both worked so hard for! I also find it very funny that Sarah and I came from the same school before PVI.
Do you have any advice for freshmen? Students in general?
S: Ask questions. Join a study group for a class that you’re having difficulty in. Don’t be complacent with what you think you know. Find an outlet for stress. Don’t base your personal happiness and self-worth on your GPA. Walk around if you’re in need of ideas or inspiration. Appreciate your classes for the knowledge they impart, not the grade you receive. Please walk on the right side of the hallway. Don’t stand in the middle of the hallway and stare absently at the wall.
T: Never back down from a challenge. If you succeed, you learn what you can do; if you fail, you learn what your limits are. With that being said, once you learn your limits, break them!
What college will you be attending in the fall?
S: Stanford University.
T: United States Naval Academy.
What career goals do you have?
S: I have many different academic interests, so I would like to combine them all into an interdisciplinary career. I enjoy computer science, and I’d like to apply it to solve problems and explore ideas in different humanities fields, including linguistics and philosophy. I love traveling, so I’d like to have a career in which I can travel the world. Id also like to teach at some point.
T: I hope to be a Marine Corps pilot and to be flying F-18s in about 6 years! When I retire from the military, I would like to become an Imagineer (designer of roller coasters) for Disneyland!
What are your summer plans?
S: We’re going to California for a few weeks and will explore some of my favorites places there, including Yosemite, Big Sur, San Francisco and Joshua Tree. I’m hoping to start writing a book at some point during the summer.
What was your favorite subject in school?
S: AP Spanish with Senorita Ali.
T: AP Chemistry with Mr. Andrews. It was also my hardest class.
What extracurriculars do you participate in?
S: I was president of Web Crawlers Club, vice president of the Literary Magazine and a member of It’s Academic, National Honor Society, and Spanish Honor Society. I played varsity tennis my freshman and sophomore years, and I took piano and classical guitar lessons. I also took two online university-level computer science courses outside of PVI.
T: I play a lot of sports—I swim year round for Machine Aquatics, I swim in the winter for PVI and I swim in the summer for Poplar Heights Crush. I also run cross country and track for PVI. I play basketball for a Rec League, and I play tennis for PH Crush! I am part of the National and Latin Honor Societies, Junior Classical League, Student Ambassadors, BAPPA G (shoutout to my fellow -dogs), and I am a Girl Scout.
What’s something no one knows about you?
S: I have been to 12 countries.
T: I play piano and trumpet.
How have you changed since your freshman year?
S: I think I’ve come to see how all the knowledge we learn from our classes matters in the grand scheme of things, and I’ve become more appreciative of subjects I didn’t necessarily enjoy or find useful prior to high school. I also made great friends who impacted my worldview.
T: I think I have, well, all of us have, matured a lot! Also, I have been told that I have definitely become more social and outgoing as these past four years have progressed.