• Divya Shenoy

GHS Announces Valedictorian and Salutatorians for the Class of 2021

Greenwich High School recently announced the recipients of the Valedictorian and Salutatorian titles. The Valedictorian for the Class of 2021 is Iris Shi, and the two Salutatorians are Colin Speaker and Mark Razanau. Valedictorian is awarded to the student who has demonstrated the highest level of academic achievement within their class and Salutatorian is given to the student who ranks second-highest. These titles are based on students’ cumulative grade point averages (GPA) throughout their high school careers.

Being named Valedictorian or Salutatorian is a great honor and opens up a host of opportunities for a student’s college experience and beyond. Many colleges award scholarships to the recipients of these titles, and it is a valuable addition to a resume, even if it does not factor into the admissions process.

The Valedictorian represents their class and delivers the farewell address to fellow students, friends, and family at the graduation ceremony. The role of this honorable position entails communication, integrity, and humility, among many other respectable traits. Irish Shi, this year’s Valedictorian, shared how it felt to be the recipient of this title.

“I feel very honored to be awarded the title of valedictorian because I know there are a lot of other really smart people in my grade who could've won it instead of me. At the same time, I'm quite pleased that all my hard work over the last four years is being recognized,” Shi said. Shi also shared her advice for the graduating class of 2021. “Take care of yourself. Self-care is extremely important, and it shouldn't be overlooked as often as it is.” She believes the most impactful part of her farewell speech is the acknowledgment that the class of 2021 survived and finally made it to the finish line of high school, despite difficult tests, “brutal AP exams,” and other challenging circumstances. Colin Speaker, one of the Salutatorians, also shared his feelings regarding the title.

“It is a testament to my hard work over the course of the last four years, and I am honored to represent my class. If I could give one piece of advice to the graduating class, it would be to seize the moment. The future holds so many incredible opportunities, but it is truly up to you to take advantage of them.”

Going into the future, both Iris and Colin would like to see visible transformations in the social atmosphere. Shi hopes for universal tolerance, expressing her appreciation for people who could “learn to accept those who are different from them instead of treating them with disdain. Speaker hopes to strengthen the youth voice. “I feel as if young voices are sometimes drowned out, but they often have a unique perspective that should be used to shape the future.”

Of course, one’s success is not entirely their own, and both students shared how Greenwich High School has prepared them for life after graduation. Shi said, “GHS has prepared me… by teaching me how to balance my responsibilities (homework, club responsibilities, extracurriculars) with my personal life. It's also introduced me to new people and new perspectives, helping me broaden my worldview.” Colin added, “Greenwich High School, and the Greenwich Public Schools system as a whole, has provided me with unparalleled opportunities to develop as a person. I have learned academic and social skills that I believe will serve me well for the rest of my life.”

Shi also mentioned that her number-one influence in high school was her older brother. “He's always willing to be my sounding board when I need to decide what classes to take or how to start this essay or how to approach that math problem, etc. He gives good suggestions, too. My older brother had a reputation for being pretty smart when he was in high school, so my sense of sibling rivalry made me want to be just as good or even better than he'd been. In that way, he inspired me to strive for greatness.” Speaker also gives credit to his older brother, Justin, commenting that, “As last year’s Salutatorian, an All-State tennis player and someone who always sought to give back to his community… [he] has been a role model and someone I have tried to emulate during high school.”

Being the recipient of Valedictorian or Salutatorian is a great honor, and Greenwich High School wishes these students and the graduating class of 2021 best of luck as they continue to progress through an exhilarating journey.

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