The RunDown

The RunDown

Chloe Lee Crowned Valedictorian

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  • Lauren Lee (left) Chloe Lee (right)

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To those attending River Dell High School, Chloe Lee being titled valedictorian was no surprise. However, it was through her tenacity and diligence throughout the four years she attended River Dell high school that she has made it this far. Most students are, without a doubt, hardworking. But what makes Chloe Lee outshine her peers?

From the beginning, Chloe’s high school career was off to an abnormal start. “When I started high school, I was in COVID. It was virtual school, so most of my focus went to schoolwork because there really wasn’t much to do outside of that,” commented Chloe. Her workload was manageable, and things were smooth sailing: “Freshman year was pretty fine.”

In her sophomore year, the difficulty level picked up and Chloe had to start using a planner. She wrote things down checkbox style, wrote reminders for herself, and was able to balance these extra assignments without too much trouble. But things were still “okay”.

Junior year was when the workload suddenly intensified. The assignments were rolling in, and the need for organization was at its peak. Chloe shared, “All of my classes were honors, and I took four AP classes. So, I had to plan out [my schedule]”. At this point, the difficulty level was rapidly increasing, and assignments only looked to be piling up if she solely compiled everything on one list. Chloe had to find the right study method that would be the most effective to her to ensure that she would not be overwhelmed.

It was in senior year that Chloe perfected her studying routine. She would organize all assignments ahead of time in her planner during the day. Then, she would create a specific timetable, making an assignment-specific study schedule. By giving herself ample time to finish each assignment while on a strict schedule, Chloe felt she had achieved studying success.

Senior year had felt the most “work-heavy” because she was taking some of the hardest courses offered at River Dell High School such as AP Physics, AP Government and Politics, and AP Lit. These classes focused on reading, annotating, or applying strategies on content-based learning.

Along with these intense classes, followed peer pressure. “Junior year was definitely when things started getting a bit more intense, you know? There’s a lot of metrics of comparison in junior year, like ‘How many different classes are you taking? What did you get on this test? What did you get on this quiz?'” Chloe mentioned.

Students began talking about these factors and implementing them into their opinions of who the valedictorian and salutatorian would be. They began to care more about colleges, things were becoming numbers-based, and students taking more intensive courses felt the most pressure.

“People expected a lot of things from me, and I think that affected me. But it was more like I internalized that, so I expected a lot more from myself. And I felt like if I had reached a certain standard, then I [couldn’t] go below that standard, and that caused a lot of unnecessary stress.”
Peer pressure increased as the stress of college admissions began to affect most juniors. Most of this pressure went on the ones whom most believed were high achievers and top students. Students would assume Chloe would become valedictorian, even though most GPAs were not shared. With a lot of students acknowledging Chloe as valedictorian before anyone was properly titled, an unintentionally unfair situation had been created.

“I felt like I would have to adhere to their expectations because it’s either ‘Yeah, she got it’ or ‘I’m surprised that she didn’t.’ So, it was a little bit of pressure from peers. I know that nobody meant to make me feel like that, but I did feel [pressured] in certain moments.”

Though Chloe had a lot on her academic plate, she still made time to spend with her friends and family.
“Chloe is pretty famous for how dedicated she is to her academics, but beyond that, she’s just a really genuine and caring friend, in that when we are joking around at lunch, she’ll be joking around lightheartedly; but, if there’s something wrong or someone needs advice, she’ll truly be invested in the conversation and try to offer advice or just show her support,” said Helen Kim, one of Chloe’s close friends.

Over the years she built strong friendships at RDHS. Ashley Chang explained that, “When Chloe talks to you, she will really listen to you, and I feel like that’s a really good quality because it shows that she really cares about what you have to say. She’s really active in conversation, so when you’re really excited about something she’ll get excited with you, and if you’re really sad about something she’ll get sad with you. She’s always there for you when you’re struggling, and she’s someone you know you can confide in.”

Ultimately, Chloe Lee’s GPA of 100.6387 led to her gaining the title ‘Valedictorian’ of River Dell High School in 2024. After learning she was valedictorian of her grade, Chloe was relieved. Her hard work had paid off, and she was grateful to find so many people who were genuinely happy for her.

“I would say a very valuable lesson I learned throughout high school was that the advice that I give to some, might not work for all. There’s no formula for success, and what people think of as success is different. So, I would say, really reflect on how you think and respond to certain situations, and that might help you reach your own personal success,” mused Chloe.

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