The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade


Asaph Li
Graduating as the top of the Class of 2024, senior Katie Larson committed to the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she will be majoring in aerospace engineering.

The Class of 2024 produced 39 valedictorians, and The Accolade interviewed each to reflect on their high school journeys and thoughts. This is a full version of the Q&A, of which the preview is included in our May magazine issue. Any remaining full-version Q&A will be posted in alphabetical order throughout the week in the Feature section.

Question 1: Which university have you committed to?
Georgia Institute of Technology.

Question 2: What will you major in?
 Aerospace engineering.

Question 3: What were some notable setbacks you encountered during your high school career and how did you overcome them?
One notable setback was freshman year during the COVID-19 quarantine and the transition to high school — making it hard to make new friends and trying to find my way around campus since my freshman year was online. I overcame this by adjusting the way I looked at things and realizing what I needed to do.

Question 4: What was one of your most memorable experiences in high school?
A: One of my most memorable moments was the boat project. I had Brad Williams in our boat and he ended up going across the pool. It was memorable because of the time and effort it took to build that boat, and it was a busy period at the end of the year with a lot of tests and work in school.

Question 5: How do you think beginning high school through distance learning positively or negatively impacted your high school journey?
A: It made it a lot harder to adjust to a regular high school life after we had a year off and we didn’t really get that transition from middle school to high school.

Question 6: What is your biggest regret in high school?
A: I wish I had put myself out there more and made more friends sophomore year.

Question 7: What advice about school would you give your freshman self if you were to start high school again?
A: I would tell my freshman self to open up more and make more friends.

Question 8: What were some of your extracurriculars and leadership roles, if any?
A: I was part of the [swim and] dive team for four years and it was just with one other girl for three years and then on the fourth just me. Also, I’m in the IB [International Baccalaureate] program at Sunny Hills and have taken the leadership role for the IB council.

Question 9: What class threatened your valedictorian status the most?
A: AP [Advanced Placement] Physics; it took a lot of effort to maintain [my grade] compared to the other classes.

Question 10: What are your career aspirations and/or activities you want to be involved in at college?
A: I want to go into Georgia Tech [Georgia Institute of Technology] because I’m going into aerospace engineering, and I’m not sure what career I want out of that. I want to be involved in volunteer-based clubs at Georgia Tech.

Question 11: What would you say was the most rewarding aspect of being valedictorian?
A: Just that validation feeling about just feeling proud after putting in so much effort for the past four years.

Question 12: What was your favorite class in school?
A: IB Math because Mrs. [Cristian] Bueno was a fun teacher and also really good at what she did and always made sure I understood something.

Question 13: Who was a mentor who helped you throughout your academic journey?
A: Mr. [Brian] Wall and Mr. [Scott] Rosenkranz because they’ve been supportive and very helpful throughout my journey, and I know that if there’s anything we ever need we can go and talk to them. Mr. Rosenkranz was very good at keeping us on top of everything we needed to do.

Question 14: What is a study habit that you would recommend to someone else?
A: Just don’t procrastinate and turn in everything as early as possible.

Question 15: What is something you look forward to the most after graduating?
A: I look forward to relaxing. I haven’t really felt like I had a second to relax for years because I had school, summer internships, volunteering, and there’s always something that I had to do. After, I look forward to going to college and having a stable job.

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