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The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

18 Questions for Top of the 2023 Class: Yash Thaker earns valedictorian status as he prepares to pursue aerospace engineering at UCI

Jaimie Chun
Senior Yash Thaker stands as one of the 18 valedictorians in the Class of 2023. Continuing his academic journey at the University of California, Irvine, Thaker looks forward to exploring space and the universe. (Illustrations by DaHee Kim)

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

Answer: It’s alright.

Question 2: What are your plans after high school?

A: UCI [University of California, Irvine], aerospace engineering, maybe double major in astrophysics.

Question 3: What are your career aspirations?

A: I want to be an aerospace engineer. My dad used to put on shows about the universe when I was a kid to put me to sleep, but they just got me fascinated with space. Contributing to space exploration and furthering humanity’s understanding of the universe are my life goals.

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

A: I do the bare minimum in classes; I don’t have an interest in maintaining an A. That frees up time for the work I actually enjoy.

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

A: I was very involved in the National German Society.

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

A: English in junior year. Finished with a 90.00%.

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

A: No.

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

A: Mr. [Andrew] Colomac got me very interested in chemistry, specifically in energy. In my four years at this school, I have not had a better, more influential teacher than him. I never considered anything related to that before taking his class. 

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

A: It’s not exactly a tough process. Just fill out the online forms. 

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: It wasn’t necessarily impactful, but it was fun building a go-kart in engineering class.

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

A: I work when I feel like it. I’m very lazy, but I get stuff done when I have to. Most things I end up not starting until the day before or the day it’s due.

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

A: I will never forget going to Mr. [David] Wolf’s class every day for two school years. Certainly memorable, to say the least.

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

A: At a job in aerospace engineering.

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

A: Absolutely nothing. Bye bye.

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

A: No, it would be a waste of time. I’m content with where I am.

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

A: Procrastinating works.

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

A: Take it easy. Stop stressing so much about little assignments. I hear that whining cry about homework or exams too often. We’re all in the same boat. Just chill out and do your best. It might feel like it because we are full-time students, but school isn’t everything. Besides, chances are one assignment isn’t going to break your grade. If that’s not comforting, then at least for my sake, stop complaining. It’s annoying.

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

A: Don’t do IB [International Baccalaureate] because it’s a lot of work. I definitely do not have the work ethic or personality to thrive in that program.

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About the Contributor
Jaimie Chun, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Jaimie Chun returns excited and grateful to lead The Accolade as the editor-in-chief. Since her first year on staff two years ago, The Accolade newsroom has become a home away from home. She looks forward to each issue, story, audio and video reaching the biggest audience possible and bringing the community together. Chun will continue honing her skills as a journalist to ensure that her storytelling is informative and empathetic. Because of her love for print journalism, she hopes that The Accolade's publications will be read by many people and equally appreciated. When Chun isn't in the newsroom, you can find her searching to try new food, exploring new music or reading in the nook of her room.
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