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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 the Top of the 2023 Class: Magdalene Kho envisions the next 8 years of her life in Brown University’s medical program

Chloe Kang
As one of the 18 valedictorians of the Class of 2023, senior Magdalene Kho aspires to immerse herself in the science, technology, engineering and math field and attend medical school. (Illustrations by DaHee Kim)

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

Answer: To be honest, I feel as proud as I would be even if I wasn’t valedictorian. The title doesn’t hold that much weight for me personally because I’m not that fond of the GPA system to begin with.

Question 2: What are your plans after high school?

A: I’ll be attending Brown University as a part of the PLME [Program in Liberal Medical Education] program and majoring in health and human biology with a second concentration in biophysics.

Question 3: What are your career aspirations, and what influenced you to pursue them? 

A: Currently, I’m thinking of becoming an immunologist or pathologist. Science Olympiad influenced me a lot in pursuing the STEM [science, technology, engineering and math] field, especially for research because it opened me up to a lot of different subjects in biology that I would’ve never considered normally, like herpetology.

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

A: When I get stressed out I’ll normally run the treadmill at the gym. It helps me sweat out my frustrations and then I’ll probably order a Starbucks drink and sit down for a couple hours to work.

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

A: My main extracurricular was being co-captain of our Science Olympiad team along with my fellow valedictorian DaHee Kim.

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

A: While some classes were challenging, I don’t know if any of them really “threatened” my status. To be honest, I almost never check Aeries because I don’t have the emotional willpower or energy to care about GPA calculations. I am married to the grind.

Question 7: Did you encounter any academic failures or setbacks, and how did you bounce back from them? 

A: I don’t consider any of them too serious, but if I had to pick one it would probably be my very first APUSH [Advanced Placement U.S. History] test, where I got a 75%. I knew I wasn’t the best at history but because I didn’t really like it I also didn’t really study for it. Luckily, Mr. [Arlie] Kearney made me love APUSH class a lot, so I ended up with a 99% in the end.

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

A: I think Mrs. [Jennifer] Kim helped me the most during high school because I felt like I really learned how to write in her class. My middle school wasn’t the greatest when it came to teaching English, so it was definitely a change of pace when I entered her class in freshman year. I ended up liking writing a lot afterward, which is why I’m so glad I got into the PLME program, which focuses on having strong liberal arts foundations. She also helped me a ton with editing my college essays and also as someone that I could talk to for advice or just for fun!

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

A: I think I was a little disorganized going into the college application process, but my main advice is to start early and to really make the essay stand out in some way: content-wise, structure-wise, etc. My mentality while writing a lot of my essays was that I wanted the admissions officers to remember me as “that girl who wrote about blank,” even if it was the most random thing.

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 think the school projects that were the most impactful were definitely my 3-D Design projects like my paper-mache dissected frog and all my other anatomy-related works. I took the class as a filler, but I ended up writing about the projects in my [Greg] Brown essays and PLME essays, and I felt like they really helped to symbolize my belief in interdisciplinary studies. I also showed some of my work when I did my scholarship interview for USC and ended up getting the Trustee Scholarship, so I’m really grateful to Mrs. [Preetha] Mathen and this class.

Question 11: Did you have any specific study habits or routines that helped you excel?

A: I think my biggest study habit is to not overstudy the material. I also make sure I understand its basis rather than just memorize everything without truly understanding; that way, if I forget, I can just figure it out while taking the test.

Question 12: What are some of your most memorable experiences or highlights from your high school years? 

A: My most memorable experiences have to be my freshman year Science Olympiad regional competition (I cried so much), my senior year Science Olympiad regional competition (first in-person regionals after COVID, and it was also my last one) and definitely all the dance concerts this year.

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

A: After 10 years, I will be in my residency period after graduating with an M.D. I hope to match with a school in California!

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

A: I’ll miss all my friends at Sunny the most since I had so much fun with you guys during my high school career. I’ll also miss the food here since Rhode Island doesn’t have as much of a variety of Asian food.

Question 15: Were there any challenges posed by remote or hybrid learning during the COVID-19 pandemic? How did you overcome these challenges? 

A: For me, I used the COVID time as a “reset” opportunity. I wasn’t in the best mental state during freshman year, but sophomore year allowed me some time for self-reflection and self-care, and I went back into junior year with a much better mindset.

Question 16: What lessons did you learn from failure or setbacks during your high school years? 

A: It’s no use wallowing without progression. Even if it sucks, you gotta do what you gotta do.

Question 17: What was the most useful advice you have received from someone about high school? 

A: “Prioritize self-care.”

Question 18: As a valedictorian, what last message do you have to the underclassmen? 

A: Don’t get too caught up in all the semantics and drama of the education system; just enjoy the learning process, and live life the way you want to. “Another day, another slay!”

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Hannah Lee, Web Managing Editor
Senior Hannah Lee looks forward to her third and final year on The Accolade staff as the web managing editor. After serving as a copy editor and opinion editor in the past, Lee is excited to experiment with multimedia elements to broaden her journalistic skill set. Though she still enjoys designing print issue layouts for readers, Lee hopes to focus on helping maintain the online website this school year. Outside of The Accolade, Lee is involved with several school clubs, such as UNICEF and Science Olympiad. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano and spending time with her older sister, Vivian.
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