Cleveland Journal

Academic Empire

Jay Kent, Staff Reporter

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With one school, four long years and 197 of your closest friends, the game begins.
Entering Cleveland as a freshman is a lot like a game of Monopoly. Nobody’s sure where the dice will take them, but they’re excited for the journey all the same.
As students pass “go” each year, they start to notice their peers building an academic resume worthy of elite college admissions while you’re just trying to pass Humanities. Eventually, everyone finds their footing, and it’s only a matter of time before you’ve built your own path to success.
As senior year comes to a close, this is the Class of 2018’s last lap around the board. The friend groups have been divided up, the colleges and career paths chosen and the bank account nearly emptied. The seniors are done playing this game; it’s on to the game of life.
Cleveland’s best of the nest – these Elite Eagles – have been making academic deals since joining the game their freshman year and it’s paid off. They are the ones on top. Where will they build their property? Who helped them around the board? Which class made them feel like they were locked up? Meet the Class of 2018’s Elite Eagles.

 

1. Valedictorian Ai Vy Nguyen
Princeton University

What’s your major/business plan?
“I plan to pursue neuroscience, or molecular bio, somewhere in the pre-med track or maybe even anthropology then med school.”

What class made you feel like you were “locked up”? “I would say art … you’re supposed to show your creativity, the assignments make it make it feel like, ‘Oh, we have to follow a certain ideal the teacher sets’ and sometimes I want to go beyond it but I can’t … or else I’ll have bad grades.”

What are you most afraid of in this economy?
“Possibly not making enough [money] to sustain myself and my family … having to live in fear that one day something happens, and I won’t have the extra money in savings to cover it.”

 

2. Salutatorian Karlee Wong
University of Washington

Where do you want to settle after college?
“I hope to stay here in Seattle. There’s a lot of people in the industry, there is a lot of industry that is part of my major that is here, so I don’t see the need to move. Plus, most of my family is here, so I’m staying here.”

What’s your major / business plan?
“I plan to major in Electrical Engineering, or I might change my mind and wander between engineering majors.”

What class brought you to tears?
“I’d say probably my programing class. Right now, my Engineering Physics class ‘cause I’m dying … 50 percent on my exam.”

 

3. Jaden Nguyen
University of Washington

Where do you want to settle after college?
“After college, I think I would just want to move here, near my family.”

What’s your major or business plan?
“My major is health; I’m gonna major in pre-med.”

What are you most afraid of in this economy?
“I think one of the things I’m most afraid of is finding a job. I heard that finding a job after college is hard, so what I have to do is I have to find connections.”

What class made you feel like you were “locked up”?
“Math class.”

 

4. Jerry Ho
University of Washington

What’s your major / business plan?
“Work in a STEM field. It would be ideal to go into a tech field like Boeing or Microsoft.”

What class made you feel like you were “locked up”?
“AP Physics because with senioritis hitting, I was just done with school. I just didn’t take it as seriously as I should.”

Who helped you along the way?
“Mrs. Dawn [LaMance] was a big help for helping me apply to colleges. Mrs. [Laura] Hollingsworth helped me a lot senior year.”

What chances have you taken?
“Academic wise, I have … pushed myself beyond limits like with Calculus; I knew I could do it … And like Running Start too – I knew it was demanding but I knew I could accomplish it.”

 

5. Hannah Mach
University of Washington

Where do you want to settle after college?
“I would prefer to stay in Seattle.”

What are you most afraid of in this economy?
“I guess financial things are the most important thing for me right now because I’m dependent on my parents.”

What class brought you to tears?
“Cal … yeah, that was probably my worst class, but it was pretty fun.”

What’s a time you rolled the dice?
“I would say Running Start. Junior year I took AP classes ‘cause I was supposed to take Running Start, but I actually dropped out junior year because I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it … I decided not to do it so I took the AP courses and took AP tests instead to get credits.”

 

6. Dominick Ta
University of Washington

Where do you want to settle after college?
“I’d buy a house in South Seattle where I live.”

What’s your major / business plan?
“I am planning to major in Computer Engineering, and I want to work at a big software company like Microsoft or Google.”

What are you most afraid of in this economy?
“I’m afraid that housing prices are gonna go up, and Beacon Hill, South Seattle the house prices might get a lot more expensive. I might not be able to afford living here.”

What class brought you to tears?
“Can I say Humanities? Because I hate poetry.”

 

7. Joseph Ho
University of Washington

Where do you want to settle after college?
“Somewhere in Seattle.”

What’s your major/business plan?
“Computer Software Engineering.”

What class made you feel like you were locked up?
“AP Calculus.”

What are you most afraid of in this economy?
“Not making enough money or getting the right job.”

*Joseph Ho declined to pose for his Elite Eagles photo

 

8. John Hoac
University of Washington

Where do you want to settle after college?
“Ideally, I want to stay in the area but since I know housing is pretty expensive, I might have to end up moving somewhere else but we’ll see how it goes.”

What’s your major/business plan?
“I plan on doing nursing. I know it’s super competitive, but I’ll do my best.”

What are you afraid of in this economy?
“I think it’s the housing. I know it’s really hard to buy a nice house and settle somewhere nice close to family especially if they’re living in a really populated place like [Seattle].”

Who helped you get around the board?
“I think my friends for sure. They encouraged me to participate in things I otherwise wouldn’t have, and it kind of helped shape who I am and find out my personal interests.”

 

9. Peter Lam
University of Washington

Where do you want to settle after college?
“I just want to have a good career and maintain a stable lifestyle for now. I want to stay in Seattle where I live now, south Seattle.”

When asked what’s your major?
“I’m trying to major in Computer Science. I want a job in the big tech companies around Seattle like Microsoft or Amazon.”

What class brought you to tears?
“Calc 3 because it’s just very difficult and there is a lot of topics to cover.”

What’s a chance you’ve taken?
“I risked taking AP Computer Science class when the main teacher [left], and we had a substitute the whole year.”

 

10. Jonathan Aphayvanh
University of Washington

Where do you want to settle after college?
“Preferably here because the weather is really nice. I’m not really a big fan of really hot areas so I like staying in Seattle.”

What’s your major/business plan?
“I plan to major in medical lab science. I’m trying to work towards going into medical school and getting to my dream job which is to be a medical examiner in a crime lab.”

What class brought you to tears?
“One of the things that made me cry in a very good way was when in the first semester of when I was taking health, I had all A’s in my classes except for that one class. I was stuck with a B for the whole semester until the very end … the teacher was like, ‘I’m gonna give you guys extra credit’ … and my grade went from a B to an A and I was crying, I was so happy that I could maintain a 4.0.

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