Written by Jadan Washington and Cameron LeClaire |
When some people think about a valedictorian, they might think of some intelligent but pompous and uptight jerk. But Alaina Hartnett is the complete opposite of that. She is a sincere, funny, and inspiring person that anyone would be privileged to know. She’s the Interact Club president as well as a member of National Honor Society and French National Honor Society. She is a commended National Merit Scholar, a winner of the SHED writing contest, and the winner of the Harvard Book Award. From talking to her I have the sense that she knows she is intelligent but doesn’t feel the need to rub that in anyone’s face. While sitting down and talking to her about her title as valedictorian, I felt extremely inspired to hear about her overloaded high school experience.
She explained that when selecting courses, ” It was difficult to take everything I wanted to and difficult to have more time to take more fun classes because I was always more focused on strong academic courses.” Alaina even took independent courses online to make certain she had all the course work she felt she needed. Most people would have trouble dealing with so much work and stress, but Alaina has a great mindset about it. “There are times when I used to get really stressed, but that doesn’t happen anymore. I think instead of stressing, you need to realize that if you’re not perfect, and if you don’t get everything wrong, then you still are going to be fine. Sometimes you need a break. ” Along with her hectic workload, she is also a dedicated dancer. She has danced at New Haven Ballet for 12 years in addition to attending summer programs at both the Boston Ballet and the Ailey School. Although she has committed to Barnard College, she has decided to not enroll until September 2016. Alaina has decided to take a gap year to to dance professionally with Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet II.
Alaina is excited about dance. “I can’t wait. I think it’s something that I can’t do forever so I might as well do it now. People always say, ‘aren’t you afraid you won’t want to go to college’, but of course not! I’m just as excited for college as I am to dance.” Luckily, Alaina has parents that are very supportive about her taking a year to follow her dreams.
A part of being valedictorian is delivering a speech at graduation. While some people would be stressed, Alaina has decided to not think too much about it. The idea of having to write a speech has barely even crossed her mind. At the point of our interview, she was trying to decide if she would just wing the speech and not even write anything. She has a very interesting view point, “Some people try to be humorous or super originial. I think I’m going to stick with a good old fashion, take on the world speech.” Many in the class of 2015 are curious about Alaina’s speech.
Tori Hopkins, the salutatorian, is a hard worker, and tries her best in everything that she does whether it is in sports or academics. She strives to be the best at anything that comes her way. She is on top of every school assignment while also, being dedicated to sports. She plays basketball and softball. This year the basketball team won Shorelines, and for softball she is first team all Shoreline. She is extremely responsible and is a very dependable person.
Like Alaina, Tori has had a rigorous four years of high school. She has successfully completed the Honors Program, including 7 AP classes. She has been awarded the Rensselaer Medal Award, along with academic all state for basketball due to her basketball abilities and her high GPA and SAT scores. Tori will be playing basketball at Haverford University next school year.
Tori has a strong support system and a group of people who inspire her. Those people include her dad and many of her coaches. She said that she looks up to her dad because” he has instilled in me to always work hard and do my best no matter what the task.”
When I asked Tori how she felt about receiving this honor, she explained “I feel extremely proud about being awarded this honor. All my hard work at Morgan the past four years has paid off because I have this honor to show for all those difficult honors classes and AP classes I put myself through.”
Throughout her years at The Morgan School, Tori has had many friends that are important to her. “Tori is a hard worker, and she always strives to do her best in everything that she does with school and in sports. She is extremely intelligent,” explains Senior Ashlyn Chidsey. English teacher, Paul Serenbetz explained how “Tori is always engaged in discussions and is very conscientious.”
Congratulations to Alaina and Tori on their amazing achievement!