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#1 Kevin Tran)

Kevin, who is finishing at the top of his class and got a near perfect score of a 35 on the ACT, plans on attending Stanford University in the fall. “I honestly don’t really feel anything,” said Kevin. “I’m proud of the work I put in the last four years, but nothing beyond that.”

“Early in my life, my parents taught me the value of education,” said Kevin. “I’ve never needed the push of anyone to do well. I just did it and expected a lot of myself.”

Kevin has learned many valuable lessons over the last four years, but the most valuable lesson he learned was through Koua Yang, the boys varsity head tennis coach. “I learned from Mr. Yang that if you want something, you will do anything,” said Kevin. “Like the saying goes, ‘When there’s a will, there’s a way,’ and I believe that one hundred percent.”

“Make your friends wisely,” said Kevin when continuing about lessons learned. “Who you hang out with will influence who you become.”


#2 Bao Nhia Thao)

“I feel like it’s a big achievement for me because I’ve always wanted to graduate in the top 10 of my class,” said Bao Nhia. “For me to be able to achieve that goal is a very big accomplishment for me.”

Bao Nhia’s dad was her biggest motivator to help her be so academically successful. “At home, it would be my dad because he pushed me and my siblings in order to accomplish what he wants us to become,” she said. “He’s my motivation and role model that I strive to become what I want to become.

Bao Nhia also has some influence inside the building, as most students do. “In school, (Ms.) Keenan would be my role model in terms of how she will be there for me whenever I needed to go to her to ask for advice, and for me, I feel like that is a very big help.”

Bao Nhia has no regrets about high school after four years. “To be honest, I feel that everything I did was everything I wanted to do,” she said.” I really regret nothing, and everything I have been doing prepares me for college and everything I want to do.

Bao Nhia plans on shooting for the stars after high school, and hopefully her goals take her to the moon. “I will be going to U of M Twin Cities of Science and Engineering and plan to major in computer science and computer engineering and possibly in the future apply to work with NASA,” she said. “I hope to work on space crafts and programming and different robots to explore outer space.”

“Be clear of what you want to be in the future, and work towards that goal is what I would tell an incoming freshman,” she said.


#3 Pa Thao)

Pa’s family has always pushed her to do the absolute best she can in school. “My teachers are also some of my best motivators,” she said. “They constantly push you to your highest limit until you can no longer reach higher.”

“It feels good to be graduating in the top 10,” said Pa. “But you also don’t feel good, because you know that some other people feel sad that they aren’t graduating in the top 10. But overall it feels good and I feel proud and it’s deserving.”

Pa plans go to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities to major in biology. “My career is in the medical field,” Pa said. “So maybe I do something with medicine.”

Pa preaches about reaching out and asking questions when needed. “Before, I wouldn’t ask questions and get a lot of stuff wrong on tests,” she said. “Nowadays, I ask questions and tend to do better on tests and have more knowledge.”

Pa regrets not joining clubs or sports. “I would highly encourage others to join sports or clubs and enjoy your time in high school,” she said.

Pa said to work hard and to focus on who and what you are. “Don’t listen to others about who they say you are, but focus on you and do what you want to do in high school.”


#4 Celina Huerta)

Just like many others in the top 10, Celina’s attributes her academic success to her parents. “My biggest motivators are my parents,” she said. “Growing up in Mexico, they didn’t have the opportunity to get an education like I did, so my academic success is really for them more than it is for me.”

Celina plans on attending the University of Minnesota Twin Cities with some of her peers that are also in the top 10 and plans on majoring in chemistry. Afterwards, she would like to attend dental school.

“The biggest lesson that I’ve learned in high school has been that you need a purpose for whatever it is you do,” she said. “It’s your purpose or goals that make the sacrifices and all your hard work worth it.”

If Celina could go back in time, she would change some things from her freshman year that she regrets now. “The biggest regret I have is not joining sports or clubs during my freshman year,” she said. “If I could go back, I would have definitely been more involved in extracurricular activities when I had the chance.”

Celina believes in strong starts and says underclassmen and incoming freshman should do the same. “I would advise freshman to start off high school strong academically,” Celina said. “While it may not seem like the fun thing to do, in the long run, it will help with success in high school and in the future.”


#5 Gabe Das)

“It feels great (graduating in the top 10),” said Gabe. It’s an accomplishment I’ve always tried to reach and I’m glad that I was able to be one of the best in my class.”

Gabe plans on attending Pomona college and majoring in something he doesn’t know yet. He does have it narrowed down to either physics or anthropology, however. “I want to find a career with something I want to do and eventually attend grad school,” he said.

Gabe has learned that it’s good to get involved in clubs and to make connections. “It really helps you stay motivated,” he said.

Gabe regrets not reaching out more and taking advantage of more opportunities early on.

“My dad is my biggest motivator because he always pushed me to do well and get good grades,” said Gabe.

Gabe has learned the effects of procrastination and wants incoming freshman to be prepared for it. “Try not to procrastinate, because it really takes a toll on your performance in school,” said Gabe. “Also, join clubs and find activities you like and stay focused on your task in school and try to enjoy high school.”


#6 Chi Minh Vue)

“My biggest motivation has to be my brother,” said Chi Minh. “He graduated from Harding, top two of his class, and I wanted to follow suit.”

Like so many others in the top 10 of the graduating class, Chi Minh will be attending a University of Minnesota campus, this one being in the Twin Cities, where he plans to major in economics or mathematics. “I think I do pretty well in those fields,” he said. “That’s why I decided to pursue those.”

“I regret not joining Cross Country earlier,” he added; Chi Minh was a senior captain this year, bolting the team down as the second best runner. “Speak up and give your opinion when you have the chance” is one valuable lesson Chi Minh learned.

“Take classes that you’re interested in, don’t take classes that people tell you that you should take,” he said. “It’s too bad that people take classes they’re not interested in because other people say they should take them because they’re challenging and not what they’re interested in.”


#7 Kathleen Tran)

Kathleen Tran, who is graduating seventh in her class, plans on attending University of Minnesota Morris to study English or economics. “I feel immensely proud,” said Kathleen. “Knowing that the hard work and the long hours of studying at night actually paid off is truly rewarding.”

“With my parents, I know they want me to have an education that they couldn’t have for themselves, and because of this, I always saw school as a priority,” said Kathleen.

Kathleen regrets “being afraid to take part in things that interested me because of the fear of embarrassment,” she said. “Also, not being able to be more open and extroverted during my freshman and sophomore year.”

Kathleen preaches to younger students to do the exact opposite she did. “Join a club or sport and make positive relationships with other students and your teachers,” she said. “While it is important, be sure to have some time for yourself to relax or hang out with friends.”


Paia Lee #8)

“I plan on going to University of Minnesota Rochester and study health science and hopefully get internships at the Mayo Clinic down there,” said Paia.

Paia’s parents have been her biggest reason for her academic success. “They never got an education, so they pushed me to do my best in school,” she said.

Paia has regrets about becoming lazy towards the end of quarters, especially her senior year. “Not coming to class or coming to school towards the end of quarters or the end of the school year is definitely one of my biggest regrets,” she said.

Paia’s lesson that she has learned is a total classic that many seniors have learned before. “To not procrastinate and always do your work,” she said. “Because it will always catch up to you and hurt you in the end.

Paia advises that underclassmen join clubs and go out and do things whenever possible. “Go out and join clubs and activities,” she said. “I promise that you will miss it when it’s gone and you’re out of high school.”


#9 Jenny Yang)

“My parents are my biggest motivator for being academically successful,” Jenny said. “They came from a place that wasn’t as privileged as the US is, so I wanted to do better so that I can provide for them.”

Jenny plans on attending Hamline University and majoring in biology so she can go to medical school. “Try new things, and don’t let any opportunity pass you,” Jenny said.

Jenny regrets taking naps, as much as high schoolers love them. “I’ve been going home and napping a lot,” she said. “I haven’t gotten much done while I am sleeping, and I should have gotten more done, especially my senior year.”  


#10 Vue Pao Her)

Vue Pao studied his way to a 4.4 GPA (3.8 weighted). “I did my homework every night and studied for about 1-2 hours for every test to make sure I was prepared,” said Vue.

When asked how he celebrated, Vue said, “Nothing much, went to the dinner and hung out with my girlfriend, Pa.”

Vue received many scholarships, including a Presidential scholarship to the University of Minnesota, which he plans on attending.

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Cream of the Crop