Class of 2019 LHS Valedictorian’s Reflections and Advice
(From left) Ping, Katherine and Yang Guo at graduation. (Photo provided by the Guo family.)
Allen resident, Katherine Guo, graduated as the valedictorian of Lovejoy High School’s class of 2019. When the Guo family were determining which home they would purchase in the area, after comparing nearby school districts, they chose their current home because they have friends in the neighborhood and it put them in the Lovejoy school district. They have lived here for three years.
Katherine said that really all of her classes in high school were her favorites. However, she was able to pinpoint her top three which were art history, chemistry and the seminar class within the AP Capstones program. She explained that the seminar class focused on critical thinking skills. She enjoyed art history because she liked learning about the art pieces and history and she said her teacher, Amanda Beller, was wonderful.
Katherine said her secret to academic success was focusing on what she needed to do when she needed to do it.
She was in the Key Club at school where she helped organize volunteer events and volunteered. One of her favorite Key Club events was decorating trees at the Heard Museum at Christmas time. Her favorite high school memories include joking with her teachers and peers in school. She said she will miss her teachers and friends the most now that her days at Lovejoy High are over.
Advice Katherine gives to incoming freshman is to try things out. “Try not to limit yourself into who you think you are. Going into high school, I thought I was more of a humanities-based student. I found out that I really enjoy math and science. Explore a little bit and be open.” The only regret she has regarding her high school experience is that she wishes she had taken art as a class.
Over the past four years, she feels she has become more ambitious. She said during her junior year she was focused on academics and extracurricular activities, but in her senior year she has had more time to spend
On her way to becoming valedictorian, she feels she sacrificed some peace of mind in that she was very stressed out during her junior year, but there wasn’t much she would have done differently. After her junior year, she found out she was ranked number one in the school and that ranking never change.
The theme to her graduation speech is the fact that each graduating class has a reputation, and the class of 2019 had a reputation of being lazy. Katherine said, “I spun it into the idea that laziness could be something good. If you are lazy, you try to find the most efficient way of accomplishing something. Laziness is not the same as being complacent. You can be monitoring your environment to see if something needs to be improved. When the time calls for action, you will take action.”
A person who Katherine found as inspirational was her chemistry teacher, Jason Taylor. She said, “He was instrumental in changing my mindset from being a staunch humanities student to being more open minded and learning that I enjoy the sciences as well.” He was her Quiz Bowl mentor, AP Chemistry teacher and UIL science team coach. Katherine is thankful to her computer science teacher Pam Ford. She said that Ford changed her views on technology. She was very appreciative of the fact that Ford drove them to computer science team competitions that were not nearby. Of her biology teacher, Sadaf Syed, she said, “She is so positive. She goes above and beyond her duty. We were seniors, so we had senioritis. She tried so hard to help us understand what was going on. She really wanted us to succeed.”
To her parents, she thanked them for setting up a good, solid base to build everything upon. “They gave me the building blocks and tools on how to be a good student and to seek whatever I want by myself so that I can be an independent individual.”
Katherine’s parents, Yang and Ping Guo said that they believe many things contributed to Katherine’s academic success. Yang describes Katherine as a hardworking person and someone who plans well. He points out the fact that since she started at LHS in her sophomore year, there were some differences in courses between her former school in Portland and LHS, specifically the IB program in Portland and AP program at LHS. He was appreciative of the LHS teachers who helped with this transition, not just in the classroom but the after-school activities such as the competitions. He feels the goal of the competitions was not just to compete with other students, but to give them the opportunity to dig deep into a subject.
Summarizing, Yang said, “We are so proud of her, not just for her academic achievements. As parents, we know she is ready because she knows what she wants and knows how to get it. The future is so bright and broad for her.” Ping said, “Since she was very young, she was always very independent. This makes me proud.”
Graduation was held Jun. 1. There were 339 seniors in the graduating class.
Katherine will attend M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the fall. She will major in material science and business management.