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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: Accolade photo editor Rebekah Kim commits to Pomona College as an aspiring lawyer

Chloe Kang
After exploring her passion for photography during high school, senior Rebekah Kim looks forward to immersing herself in Pomona College’s pre-law track. (Illustrations by DaHee Kim)

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

Answer: I feel that my sleepless nights, all the clubs I joined and the rigorous classes I took paid off. I’m happy that I believed in myself and continued my work ethic until the end!

Question 2: What are your plans after high school? 

A: I will attend Pomona College in the fall and plan to double major in English and economics on the pre-law track. 

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

A: If I can pass the LSAT [Law School Admission Test], fingers crossed, I plan to attend law school and work for an estate planning company. I recently developed an interest in the legal field and am currently interning for an estate planning office, where I’ve grown to love my work! 

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

A: Throughout my study periods, I took a lot of breaks. Like a lot. Whether that be napping, sketching randomly or snacking on food, make sure to take breaks when you study!

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

A: I served as vice president of the National Honors Society and Key Club and was involved in the Conservatory of Fine Arts, Link Crew, California Scholarship Federation and Dance 3. I was also the photo editor of the award-winning school newspaper, The Accolade — the website you’re on right now! 

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

A: I would say I studied the most for AP [Advanced Placement] Chemistry, but Mr. [Andrew] Colomac got us through the class! 

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

A: I definitely encountered bad test grade moments, people who didn’t work in group projects and a lack of motivation, but at the end of the day, I realized none of these determine your future. If you have the right mindset and keep a positive outlook on life, failures turn into opportunities for growth. 

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

A: Chemistry with Mr. Colomac shaped my academic journey as I saw what a teacher who loved his job was like. He sincerely helped me through titrations, acids and bases and all the labs. Ms. [Teresa] McCarty always gave her full support and found interactive ways for us to learn. I grew a genuine love for English and literature, and she played a role in my love. Lastly, freshman year with Mr. [Tommy] Li made me have a paradigm shift. I came to enjoy walking into class with the desks in a circle — it meant we were doing a Socratic seminar — and testing my abilities with in-class essays. 

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

A: Write down any inspiration you receive or jot down any notes you can think of over the summer of your junior year. Look at previous college application prompts and plan a basic outline of your A’s. It really helps! Also, every day, reflect back on your high school experience or your life in general and think about which moments were special to you. 

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: My internship allowed me to acquire a taste of the legal field, which I found rewarding because I encountered hands-on experience and was able to develop bonds with my co-workers. Also, my photo assignments for The Accolade enabled me to become more involved with school events, so I attended numerous football events, award ceremonies and clubs that I would have never accomplished if it wasn’t for The Accolade

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

A: I didn’t check my phone until I was finished with my homework or studying, and sometimes would put it in another room so I wouldn’t be distracted. I also made sure I kept my notes organized; I would have a color-coded highlight system where green highlights would be vocabulary, yellow would be the main ideas, pink would be questions and so on. Honestly, I think I just really liked highlighting, and it kept me focused and entertained listening to lectures. 

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

A: I loved finding my friends in senior year. I really grew to cherish all the small moments with them, from waking up early for senior sunrise to late-night drives after football games. They made my high school experiences feel special. I especially loved going to the beach spontaneously after school, catching a 10 p.m. movie on the weekday, and, my favorite, taking a 0.5 picture with Mr. [Greg] Del [Crognale] at stag. 

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

A: Married with kids! I hope to have a loving, stable family by 30, though that may be a bit of a stretch. I’ve always wanted to be a mom and travel around the world with my family.  

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

A: The people. I’ll sincerely miss the welcoming environment here, from the faculty to the students; I feel that they’ve really made Sunny Hills my home. I’ll also miss the ease of not having to worry as much about what I want to do in my life and the comfort of living at home. Most importantly, I’ll miss my sweet, sweet friends and all the bonds I nurtured over these past four years.  

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

A: I had so many awkward breakout rooms and DMs [direct messages] of random people asking for help on assignments, but my teachers made it mandatory to turn on our cameras so I could put a username to a face and also meet some new people. Learning what my teachers were like through Zoom and finding friends online also proved challenging, but I would often FaceTime my friends so that I wouldn’t feel socially deprived. 

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

A: I learned that setbacks only make you more resilient and give rise to opportunities for growth. Ultimately, don’t dwell too long on your past mistakes and seek to learn from them. Failures don’t define you! 

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

A: Don’t be too hard on yourself because you deserve all the credit for making it this far. Take a moment to stop and breathe. Go to football and basketball games. Go to school dances. Live out that high school life so you won’t regret it in the future. Also, you’ll probably find your friends your senior year.

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

A: Put yourself out there. Forge connections with your teachers, go to football and basketball games, ask the person sitting next to you for help and get involved with extracurriculars. Within the midst of it all, try to discover your passion. What you love is more important than what will look better for college. If you can find your passion, pursue it and center your activities around it. On a lighter note, you’ll find your friends during senior year; don’t worry!

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About the Contributor
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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