Red and Gold turns Brown

An interview with 2022 valedictorian: Kaley Newlin  

by Breanna Huynh

     As the school year is coming to an end and the class of 2022 are preparing to get on with their lives, we reflect on our accomplishments, memories, and lessons learned during our time at Mission. 

     With there being 475 seniors graduating, it is important to recognize one student who has committed hours of her time challenging herself academically in and outside of school. For the class of 2022, it’s Kaley Newlin, this year’s valedictorian. 

     Newlin has been able to maintain a 5.12 GPA while balancing numerous AP and IB classes, doing MUN, lacrosse, and soccer. 

    Outside of school, she has been involved in volunteering at the sheriffs department and have trained for four years at the  JROTC (Junoir Reserve Officer Training Corps), a high school elective program that teaches students citizenship, leadership, character, and community service. 

     While leaving behind her training as an explorer at JROTC, Newlin will be attending Brown University majoring in sociology but also having an interest in biology. Luckily, she was able to sit down and answer a few questions about his time and experience at Mission. 

Q: Did you ever see yourself being valedictorian?

Yeah. I thought I could be valedictorian or one of my fellow students. 


Q: Being valedictorian, people probably expect you to have an amazing work ethic. How would you describe yours? 

My work ethic? Usually, if I don’t have to do it, I won’t. [But] it’s a trait I really want to improve on. The way to be most successful in something is to be consistent at it. Besides that though, I just get my work done and listen to the teacher during class. I’ve been very tired this year and ended up fighting sleep several times during my classes. So, if you knew me, you probably have seen me holding an energy drink more than once. My work ethic is partially determined by my energy level [as well]. 


Q: Having done about 9 AP classes and been involved in the IB (International Baccalaureate) program, what are your thoughts on it? 

IB is…well it’s a little difficult, but the classes are relatively easy. You just have to remember to make sure to study and know your subjects throughout the year so you’re prepared for your tests. It’s also good to be consistent with studying. Without consistency, it doesn’t work. For me however, the IB program has been relatively OK, just been a little bit busy. Sometimes we have a lot of work, sometimes we hardly have any. 


Q: Now that it’s your last year in high school, what is your favorite and least favorite memory throughout your four years here? 

Favorite memory: finishing high school 

Least favorite: That’s really hard to choose. I’ve had a lot of bad memories just because people tend to be disrespectful and tests tend to be stressful. One I can think about is doing my AP Physics test online (during junior year). That really sucked cause I thought I failed and made me feel stupid. 


Q: Do you have any advice for underclassmen or those wanting to become valedictorian? Did you think that it was worth it?

For underclassmen trying to become successful students, it’s important that you prioritize studying in school over the other things. And for some of you, it might be more difficult to learn than others. But to make up for that, you just have to put in more effort and time into learning and studying. If you ever need help, don’t be afraid to ask for help from teachers. Honestly, if you want to become the valedictorian, it’s not really worth it. If you’re trying to get into the top college, being in the top 0.5% of your class will be just fine. You don’t need to be number one. I would have rather spent the extra time trying to become valedictorian strengthening friendships or growing my hobbies. 


Q: What were your personal goals in high school and do you have any for college? 

My personal goals in high school was just to get ahead in my assignments when I could. When I played lacrosse, my goal was to get better. I always focused on the level of my grades and tried to become more organized throughout high school. In college, my goal is to just be organized, be happy, and take classes that I enjoy and go from there. 


Q: What would be some personal struggles you faced during high school? 

Personal struggles…one of the biggest struggles I faced that caused me the most pain was trying to choose between classes that I wanted to take versus classes that I didn’t want to take as much but would help my grade. I eventually stopped playing music, and even though I wanted to take multiple art classes, I was never able to. In addition, I wanted to take wrestling but ended up not doing it because of classes. I was so disappointed that I never ended taking these classes because they just meant so much to me. Another personal struggle I faced was getting boyfriends. My advice: don’t. 


Q: What would be the greatest lesson you learned in high school? 

A social life is important. Since it’s important, choose your friends wisely. And wanting to learn versus forcing yourself to learn is also important. 


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