Despite the strain online learning has placed on students across the country, some have stood out – making history in the process.
Nine students at a Houston high school were named valedictorians in mid-April.
Yes, you read that right.
Bellaire High School students achieved a grade point average of 5.0, breaking the record for most students to achieve the title in the Houston Independent School District.
The nine valedictorians are Alkiviades Boukas, Daniel Chen, Evie Tseng-Ying Kao, Angela Ling, Miles Mackenzie, Wenson Tsiah-Hao Tang, Christopher Zhou and twin sisters Annie and Shirley Zhu.
“I started thinking about the idea of two or three valedictorians, but I never would have imagined nine,” said Michael McDonough, principal of Bellaire High School, in a statement.
McDonough said the class demonstrated excellence early on as a freshman in 2021. Students are involved in after-school activities and run various school organizations, he said.
“To juggle their schoolwork and extracurricular activities, then initiate a pandemic and virtual learning and still maintain a GPA of 5.0. It’s just amazing. I couldn’t be more proud of her, ”said McDonough.
HISD calculates both “weighted” and “unweighted” GPAs. A weighted GPA takes into account courses that are known to be more rigorous, including AP courses or dual credit courses, according to the district website. Students with weighted grades can achieve a GPA higher than the Standard 4.0.
Twin sisters Annie and Shirley Zhu were previously in the spotlight when they founded Fresh Hub, a student-run organization that collects unsold groceries and distributes fresh produce and bread to food desert areas in Houston.
“When coursework becomes challenging and it becomes difficult to balance academics with extracurricular curricula, remember to relax a bit because making mistakes is the best way to grow,” said Annie Zhu, who plans to Attending Stanford University and studying symbolic systems encompasses a variety of areas from computer science to mathematics to linguistics and philosophy.
Virtual learning during the pandemic has put a heavy strain on students and parents across the country. Thousands of high school students have dropped out of the coronavirus pandemic, which in some cases has exposed inequalities in the U.S. educational system.
“One of the things I really learned is to understand how everyone comes from different backgrounds and so become more open to the situation of my classmates in their households when we do group projects,” said Annie Zhu in one of her producers Video school. “I think everyone is exposed to people posting the best version of themselves online. You should never compare yourself to other people’s best version. “