Hats Off to 2017’s Vals and Sals

By Alice Bai
Every year, Chamblee crowns a valedictorian and salutatorian from both the resident and the magnet programs. The titles go to the two students with the highest and second highest grade point averages in their class, respectively. The Blue & Gold caught up with this year’s vals and sals to get to know them a little better, and we asked them the following six questions.
1. What was your reaction to being named salutatorian?
2. What was your favorite Chamblee memory?
3. What are you most looking forward to in the future?
4. What advice do you have for incoming and returning students?
5. How many APs did you take? Would you recommend it?
6. What’s one interesting thing about yourself people don’t know?

Manav Mathews, Magnet Valedictorian
1. I was pretty happy. I mean, it’s a big accomplishment, and I was pretty happy to find out I got it. I wasn’t like completely surprised because I thought I might be, but I wasn’t sure, so it was nice to find out.
2. Probably the last week of junior year, when we were sitting in the senior courtyard, and we had a picture on the steps and all that, and then we had the crowns… that was my favorite memory. Or the football games.
3. I’m going to UGA, and that’s going to be a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to college for sure.
4. My main advice for school is don’t spend all your time stressing out about college, because you’ll end up where you end up and pretty much everyone is ending up somewhere they want to be this year. A lot of times parents, friends of parents and teachers put stress on you on about getting into the college, but there are lots of places where you’ll be happy. I don’t believe in a “sole college,” so I think, just try to enjoy your high school experience, do your work, and be good, but also just make sure you stay relaxed and try not to stress and take care of your mental health during school.
5. Freshman year I took one, sophomore year I took four, junior year I took six APs and a college class, and then this year I only took three [APs] and then two college classes. So, it’s definitely not for everyone, for sure. If you don’t like school, then you definitely shouldn’t be taking six APs, but I think it depends on what you want to get out of high school. If your goal is to have a really really high GPA, then you need to be taking a lot of APs, but it also has to be something you enjoy doing. You shouldn’t be taking a lot of APs to get a high GPA because your parents want you to do it. It should be a personal goal to have a high GPA or to take challenging classes in high school, otherwise you won’t have the motivation to actually be successful and it’ll be really really difficult. But yeah, I mean, you’ll also have a lot of counselors tell you, you know, ‘no, you can’t do that, that’s going to be way too hard on you, don’t do it just because your parents want you to do it,’ but if it’s something you want to do, I definitely say go for it. Like, junior year was really really hard for me, but it was also a good experience.
6. I’ve started learning guitar and I really enjoy playing the guitar.

Ananthu Pucha, Magnet Salutatorian
1. I thought I knew for a while, it was just confirmed yesterday [May 8]. I kind of knew for a while, since last semester I got all A’s, and we’d kind of mapped it out at some point, as a grade, so I wasn’t that surprised. It was just good to know for sure, because I wasn’t 100% sure until yesterday. It was relief, a little bit, so I could tell my parents.
2. I remember, the last day of first semester in ninth grade, we were leaving the old building and coming into the new building. I remember we were walking down and I was like, ‘dang, we’re not going to see this old building ever.’ That was back then, they had a big pile of dirt and I was walking past that and I was like, ‘this is cool, we’re leaving this place,’ and then we came back at the end of winter break with the new building. It was a cool feeling, walking away.
3. College. In college, I can do more, I’ll have a little bit easier of a schedule. It won’t be as stressful work-wise, and I’ll be able to learn more, because teachers nowadays give us a lot of busywork. With college professors, they’ll know what they’re doing more, and it’ll be easy to learn more. And then I’ll also have more opportunities to do clubs and different activities that weren’t offered in high school.
4. It’s always good to have good study skills. Don’t waste too much time with like, Instagram, Snapchat, video games. Never wait until last minute because you don’t want to get too stressed, and everything else will really fall into place if you manage your time well.
5. I took four sophomore year, six junior year, and six this year, so that’s sixteen periods, but some of them count as two, like macro/micro[economics] and physics C. Honestly, it wasn’t that hard. I didn’t take all the exams, and it’s honestly not that bad. Teachers here don’t give an insane amount of work. Don’t take a bunch of hard APs at the same time. I took physics and bio one year and physics C and chemistry the next year, instead of doing physics, bio, and chem all in the same year. Basically, make sure you map it out, don’t get too many extremely hard ones in the same year, and yeah, you can do all of them. It’s not too bad.
6. I’m extremely ticklish.

Michelle Tran, Resident Valedictorian
1. I was surprised when I found out that I was valedictorian. I didn’t expect it would be me.
2. My favorite Chamblee memory was when it was Pi Day and I was a sophomore then. I taught people how to count in my language, which is Cantonese. It was very fun that day.
3. I look forward going to college and meeting new people and continue to learn and expand my knowledge.
4. My advice to incoming and returning students is that they should have fun while they are high school. Take it easy. It’s okay to fail on something because there will always be another chance to improve yourself.
5. I took seven AP classes throughout my high school years. I would recommend to take it if you are interested in that subject. It’s okay if you don’t do well on the exam because you tried your best.
6. One interesting thing that people don’t know about me is that I like to travel around the world. Since I was a little kid, I traveled to many places such as Canada, England, France, Hawaii, and other places around the US.

Michael Abbott, Resident Salutatorian
1. I couldn’t believe it, it was a big surprise to me because I had no idea that I was even close to having one of the highest GPAs.
2. I am looking forward to the people I will meet and the experiences I will have while I’m at college.
3. My favorite Chamblee memory would have to be the relationships and friendships I’ve built with students and teachers during my time here.
4. Advice I would give to students would be to cherish the time you have as a high school student, we have plenty of time to grow up later.
5. I took one AP my sophomore year, four APs my junior year, and dual enrolled full time my senior year, so I guess technically I took the equivalent of 14 AP classes if I include the 9 college courses I took my senior year. I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone to take on the challenge of an AP course. It will make you a better student and teach you many things along the way that are not included specifically in the class’s curriculum, and what you gain from some of these teachers and classes can be useful to you long after you graduate.
6. One interesting thing to note about me is that I would love to travel to new places if I have an opportunity to. So far I’ve only been to Canada, Ireland, some places in the North East such as NYC, Boston, Niagara Falls, and soon to be California and Costa Rica this summer. Later in life I would love to travel across Europe, and Southeast Asia, specifically Vietnam, which is where my mother’s side of the family is from, but in all honesty I just want to travel new places and experience different people and cultures.