Class of 2019 LHS Salutatorian’s Reflections and Advice
The Wong Family. (From left) Vanessa, Natalie, Sydney and Alvin.
Lucas resident, Sydney Wong, graduated as the salutatorian of Lovejoy High School’s class of 2019. She began attending Hart Elementary in kindergarten and has lived in Lucas for 13 years.
Sydney believes her secret to academic success was that she spent a lot of time studying and throughout high school she learned how to manage her time so that she could study and have free time to do other things as well. She said her favorite subject in school was calculus, because, “I really like STEM courses and problem solving.” She was on the tennis team for four years, mock trial team and a staff member on the school newspaper, The Red Ledger.
Her favorite high school memories include anything related to the tennis team. She said, “I spent most of high school focused on tennis. I became really close with my teammates.” She feels that being on the tennis team is what she will miss most about LHS.
Advice she gives to incoming freshman is, “Make sure you are able to separate your academic and social life. You don’t want to graduate from high school and look back and say, ‘I could have studied more’ or, ‘I could have hung out with my friends more’. It’s possible to have both.” The only regret she has regarding her high school years is that she stopped playing piano going into her freshman year. She wishes that she had understood what she does now about time management.
Over the last four years she has found she has become less shy. She said, “Going into freshman year, I was a lot quieter, I didn’t speak up in class. By being involved with different friend groups and different extracurricular activities during high school, I have become someone who voices my opinion more.”
In order to reach this echelon of academic prowess, she said that she sometimes sacrificed time with friends so that she could study more and work harder. She said, “I wouldn’t go back and change that. It let me get to where I am today. Based on class rankings, she knew she was ranked number two the summer after her junior year. However, it wasn’t officially announced until two weeks before graduation.
In addition to academic achievements, Sydney also qualified for tennis regionals and competed in the girls’ doubles. They made it to the quarter finals. For two years, she was on the regional mock trial team and this year she was nominated for Best Advocate.
She describes her graduation speech as reflective and humorous. She focused on finding a good balance in life. She said, “As graduates, there are a lot of good things to look forward to.”
LHS tennis coach, Adam Cherry, is someone who she describes as inspirational in her life. “He saw me as someone who was quieter as a freshman and he encouraged me for four years. He made the experience on the team really nice for me.”
To her parents she voiced appreciation to them for all they have done for her and the encouragement they have given her not just during high school, but throughout her life.
Sydney’s parents, Alvin and Vanessa Wong, both agree that part of Sydney’s academic success is due to her sense of independence. Alvin added, “Curiosity has a lot to do with it. To be successful in so many subjects, you have to be curious to want to learn these things.”
Vanessa explained her hopes for Sydney’s future, “I hope she’s really happy at UC San Diego and that she meets a great group of friends. I hope that she is excited about her major and that it leads to a career in computer science.” Alvin’s hopes are, “That she never forgets the importance of family. I want her to be happy and to contribute to society in a very helpful way.”
Responding to a question regarding advice they would give to parents who wish for their children to be successful, Alvin said, “Be a good example. I like to read a lot; Sydney saw that and she loves to read.” Vanessa said, “Allow them some independence but watch over them from a distance. Be available and supportive.”
Both Alvin and Vanessa use examples from tennis as the time they were most proud of Sydney. Alvin said it was during Sydney’s junior year when she won the deciding match that allowed her to advance to the next round of playoffs. Vanessa said, “When I see that she’s mentally tough. When she plays a match, she’s not going to give up easily. She will play with her head. She plays smart.” They both say they have never told her to study more, or study less, she just does it on her own.
Sydney will attend the University of California in San Diego in the fall. She will major in computer science.