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
Senior Jayden Lee plans on majoring in pre-mathematics at UCLA upon graduating as one of the 39 Class of 2024 valedictorians.

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?

Question 2: What will you major in?

Question 3: What were some notable setbacks you encountered during your high school career and how did you overcome them?
A: Alright, so COVID-19 and being fat was one of them. I was super fat during my freshman and sophomore years. My hardest class was PE in my sophomore year. Like, that was kind of crazy. I overcame it by going on a diet and exercising.

Question 4: What was one of your most memorable experiences in high school?
A: Probably junior year homecoming or my dissections that I did in [Advanced Placement Biology] class. I just think it’s interesting; some people think it’s gross, but I think it’s cool seeing all the insides and everything.

Question 5: How do you think beginning high school through distance learning positively or negatively impacted your high school journey?
A: It was positive because all my classes were easy and I could play games during class. But it’s negative because this transition into next year was harder. I didn’t really learn anything. Like nothing was cemented into my memory.

Question 6: What is your biggest regret in high school?
A: I [have] no regrets.

Question 7: What advice about school would you give your freshman self if you were to start high school again?
A: Some sacrifices aren’t worth it. Like, I wouldn’t sacrifice sleep over a small homework assignment. Why? Because it just doesn’t matter. Like the big scheme, you know? Like, I’d rather get those one extra or two extra hours of sleep. 

Question 8: What class threatened your valedictorian status the most?
A: My junior year AP [English] Language [and Composition] class with Mr. [Randy] Oudega because on my first-semester final essay, he gave me 70% which made my grade a B. Then, after winter break he let me do it again because he couldn’t read my handwriting.

Question 9: What are your career aspirations and/or activities you want to be involved in at college?
A: I want to be a general surgeon and since I’m going to UCLA, I want to be a part of pre-med-oriented extracurriculars and clubs.

Question 10: What would you say was the most rewarding aspect of being valedictorian?
A: I was proud of myself. It’s just like you know the bragging rights, the ego. I’m the first valedictorian in my family.

Question 11: What was your favorite class in school?
A: Junior year AP Bio [Biology] with Mrs. [Kelly] Kim. The teacher is super nice, super chill and you can just like have a casual conversation with her. I just feel disconnected with other teachers. A lot of my classmates are some of my closest friends now. And I just had a really fun time with all the activities I did, and I learned a lot. I just like the subject as well. But like the teacher and the environment has made it so much better.

Question 12: Who was a mentor who helped you throughout your academic journey?
A: Me, myself and I. I don’t really have a mentor. I plan out my stuff. I just like finding out what I need to do, what I need to get, what I like, how I need to do it. I just plan my own path.

Question 13: What is a study habit that you would recommend to someone else?
A: Studying is doubting your own potential. I legit haven’t studied except for AP tests because that’s like the whole year. I went home and did my homework. I guess homework was a form of studying. And because I did the homework, I remember what I learned and then I play games. If you do that, you don’t need to study. Don’t study because studying is doubting your potential. You know? You don’t want to doubt yourself.

Question 14: What is something you look forward to the most after graduating?
A: UCLA food because I’m a fatty. UCLA is the No. 1 public university and has the No. 1 fast food in the entire country. I went on the tour, and the food there looked so good. That’s the only thing I look forward to — all I want to do is eat. Also, [I want to be] a general surgeon, but food is more important than that.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Accolade
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Sunny Hills High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Accolade
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Accolade Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *