Pioneer High School seniors reflect and look ahead – Daily Democrat

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With the new school year slated for Monday in the Woodland Joint Unified School District, the Daily Democrat reached out to senior class 2022 co-valedictorians at Pioneer High School to reflect and move forward.

Ayantu Tamene, Pioneer High School

Q: What were your biggest challenges during high school?

A: One challenge I encountered during high school was balancing school and various extracurricular activities that occupied all of my time. I enjoyed having a lot on my plate but it was stressful at times. By the time final year was over, navigating the college process was another challenge. It’s not easy being the first in your family to go through the lengthy college application process, but luckily I had supportive family and friends to keep me going.

Q: What were some of your most significant triumphs/victories during high school?

A: I set specific academic and personal goals for myself each year and have achieved most, if not all, of them. Apart from that, I’m proud that I made it through distance learning without losing motivation. I also took advantage of as many opportunities as possible to study and explore in high school, which I hope to continue in college as well.

Ayantu Tamene, top of the class at Pioneer High School. (decency)

Q: What were some of the learning skills (techniques, habits, tips, etc.) that helped you excel academically?

A: I found it helpful to eliminate as many distractions as possible, which is to keep my phone as far away as possible. I also planned my days and started working on tasks as soon as possible to avoid delays.

Q: What were your favorite high school classes and why?

A: One of my favorite classes was AP Calculations because I had so many “aha” moments in that class. It managed to link math from seventh grade to precalculation and show how it can be applied to interesting real-world scenarios. I also really enjoyed physics, again because of the real world applications; I enjoyed seeing the math and explanations behind concepts that I understood intuitively, as well as ones that didn’t really make sense at first. Anatomy & Physiology was also one of my favorites because of all the hands-on labs and dissections.

Q: What are your college and career plans?

A: I’m going to study at MIT, majoring in Computer Science and Molecular Biology. It’s an area where I can apply my interest in computer science and applied mathematics to understand biological systems. As this is a relatively emerging field, there are so many avenues I would like to explore such as modeling the genetic and molecular processes that lead to disease progression and improving disease diagnostics and therapy. After completing my undergraduate education, I would like to pursue a PhD or PhD in Medicine and Philosophy and make research a career focus.

Andreas Olvera, Pioneer Gymnasium

Q: What were your biggest challenges during high school?

A: My biggest challenge in high school was time management. While doing homework (especially homework on a Chromebook) I get distracted and lose track of time doing something unproductive. As a result, it can be difficult to stay focused and complete tasks quickly.

Andreas Olvera, best in class at Pioneer High School.  (decency)
Andreas Olvera, best in class at Pioneer High School. (decency)

Q: What were some of your most significant triumphs/victories during high school?

A: My greatest achievement during high school was staying on top of my work during virtual learning. Although online school was challenging and daunting at times, I was able to find motivation to keep going and do my best. Much of this motivation came from the encouragement and support of my parents, who helped me keep the big picture and my own long-term goals in mind.

Q: What were some of the study skills that helped you excel academically?

A: Some of the study skills that have helped me do well were taking good notes, staying organized, and taking frequent breaks during long study sessions.

Q: What were your favorite high school classes and why?

A: One of my favorite courses was AP Calculus because it linked a lot of mathematical concepts that I thought were unrelated. It has also taught me a lot of very cool and exciting applications of math in the real world. Another of my favorite courses was AP English Literature because of the books we read, which I really enjoyed, and the deep, thought-provoking discussions we had in class. Our teacher challenged us to think in new directions, which had a profound impact on my approach to reading literature.

Q: What are your college and career plans?

A: I will be attending Westmont College in the fall to major in mechanical engineering. During my studies I would like to study abroad to broaden my understanding of other cultures. After graduation, I would like to pursue postgraduate studies and find employment in an industry that focuses on sustainability, such as agriculture. E.g. electric vehicles or renewable energies.

The Daily Democrat reached out to both Woodland High School valedictorians but was unable to establish contact.

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