18 Questions for Top of the 2023 Class: After serving as the graphics editor for The Accolade, DaHee Kim decides to pursue her interest in engineering at Stanford University


Chloe Kang

Senior DaHee Kim poses with a light-sensor painting she created that bridged her interest in art and engineering. (Illustrations by DaHee Kim)

Question 1: How do you feel as one of the 18 valedictorians?

Answer: Excited and tired. 

Question 2: What are your plans after high school?

A: I’m going to Stanford and planning to major in electrical engineering. 

Question 3: What are your career aspirations?

A: I want to help make consumer products like phones and laptops because I want to make the world better through things that are tangible to people. 

Question 4: How did you handle stress and manage your time effectively?

A: I have a dump journal on my Notes app, and I have a sticky note on my laptop to remind me to do things. 

Question 5: What extracurricular activities or leadership roles were you involved in?

A: I was a captain of the Science Olympiad, director of publicity for COFA [Conservatory of Fine Arts], graphics editor for The Accolade and was part of robotics.

Question 6: What was the class that threatened your valedictorian status?

A: Every single English class ever. 

Question 7: What were some of your academic failures or setbacks, and how did you bounce back from them?

A: I had a D in English for a hot minute in freshman year. I made sure to read the book next time.

Question 8: Were there any teachers or mentors who played a significant role in shaping your academic journey? If so, how?

A: Mr. [Brian] Wall definitely helped me tap into my artistic side during my school years. Without him, I would have probably stopped creating art. 

Question 9: How did you navigate the college application process, and what advice do you have for other students going through it?

A: You need to start your college application during the summer. I am being serious: jot down ideas, write down good sentences — do anything just to get the ball rolling. 

Question 10: Whether it be school-affiliated or not, were there any specific projects or assignments that you feel were particularly impactful or rewarding?

A: I created an interactive painting that would flash LED lights if there was enough light in the room. I loved how I combined both art and tech to create something much more meaningful than its parts.

Question 11: What was a specific study habit or routine you had that helped you excel?

A: The day before an English exam, I turn on the novel’s audiobook and listen to it with my eyes closed.

Question 12:What is your most memorable experience or highlight from your high school years?

A: In ninth grade, our Science Olympiad team was eligible for the Southern California state competition. There was so much leading up to it, and I saw the seniors crying happy tears. 

Question 13: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: Rich enough to afford a house. 

Question 14: What will you miss most after you graduate?

A: Competing. I am super competitive, so whatever it was, I was really invested. 

Question 15: If you could go back to freshman year and redo high school, would you?

A: Absolutely not. High school is an experience meant to be done once!

Question 16: Tell us a life lesson you learned at Sunny Hills.

A: Just be better next time. 

Question 17: As a valedictorian, what last message do you have for the underclassmen?

A: Do what you want when you want. Your happiness comes second to everything else, I promise. 

Question 18: What was the most useful advice you have received from someone about high school?

A: Keep it simple, stupid.

This is part of an ongoing series featuring the Class of 2023 valedictorians. More Q&As will come soon.