20 Questions for Top of the 2020 Class: Cecilia Lee commits to Yale University after graduating with a full International Baccalaureate diploma


Senior Cecilia Lee is one of the 12 valedictorians for the Class of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Image posted with permission from Cecilia Lee.

Annie Bang, Web Managing Editor

In lieu of our senior print issue, The Accolade has decided to conduct a Q and A with each of the 12 valedictorians for online posting. 

Question #1: What are your plans after high school?

Answer: I’m planning on attending Yale University as a molecular, cellular, developmental biology major.

Question #2: Which extracurricular activities and clubs have you been a part of? 

A: I’ve been part of [the International Baccalaureate] Council, Science Olympiad, California Scholarship Federation and St. Jude Hospital’s volunteer program.

Question #3: How do you feel as one of the 12 valedictorians?

A: Pretty satisfied; I’m proud, and I feel my efforts paid off.

Question #4: How do you feel about the second semester of our senior year and graduation being canceled?

A: “I’m very upset, but there are people dying out there.”

Question #5: What or who motivated you the most during high school and why?

A: My mother and my older brother motivated me to work hard. I also received a ton of support from my teachers and Mr. Wall.

Question #6: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: Hopefully still on Earth, working on improving the health of the global community.

Question #7: What was the most challenging in the four years of high school?

A: I struggled with balancing my social and academic lives. I missed out on a lot of high school traditions like football and basketball games and casually hanging out with friends.

Question #8: Which class was the most threatening to your valedictorian status?

A: Calculus BC — Ms. Tan is still amazing though.

Question #9: What has been the highlight of high school?

A: Opening my Yale acceptance letter in Mr. Kim’s back room; then screaming and interrupting his [Advanced Placement Biology] class.

Question #10: Describe your high school experience in three words.

A: Faster than expected.

Question #11: Complete the sentence: “I will always remember …”

A: I will always remember the days I spent in the yearbook room with my closest friends.

Question #12: What was your favorite class?

A: Theory of Knowledge

Question #13: What will you miss most after you graduate?

A: My teachers and my friends.

Question #14: Did you ever have senioritis?

A: Not yet.

Question #15: What is your greatest achievement during high school?

A: Qualifying for Science Olympiad state competitions in my senior year.

Question #16: How have you changed since freshman year?

A: I learned not to care so much about others’ opinions of me.

Question #17: Out of all your years in high school, which one was your favorite and why?

A: Senior year because my skin was clear throughout it.

Question #18: Can you give me a senior quote? 

A: “They hated Jesus because He told them the truth.”

Question #19: Can you share some words of advice for juniors and underclassmen?

A: I didn’t get any meaningful advice, so you’re not either.

Question #20: Would you like to thank anyone? Do you have any final words?

A: I’d like to thank my family for unconditionally supporting me as much as they could throughout high school. I’d like to thank my friends for always helping me to be the best person I could be and [for] being my therapist. Finally, I would like to thank my teachers for their irreplaceable efforts and dedication to their students.