The Student News Site of Island Trees High School

The Bulldog

The Student News Site of Island Trees High School

The Bulldog

The Student News Site of Island Trees High School

The Bulldog

Words of Wisdom from ITHS’ Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Hexter Silva and Emily Tsai reflect on their experience at Island Trees.
Words+of+Wisdom+from+ITHS+Valedictorian+and+Salutatorian

Hexter Silva and Emily Tsai have recently been awarded two very important titles: Island Trees High School’s Valedictorian and Salutatorian. I had the pleasure to interview both of our impressive Bulldogs:

Hexter Silva has shared that one of his proudest moments at Island Trees was being part of the STEM and academic teams/clubs. He says, “ Regardless of whether I ‘succeeded’ or not–from obtaining a perfect score in a Mathletes competition to being awarded last place in a Science Olympiad event–going above and beyond in the subjects I’ve found enjoyment in is something I’ll always be proud of during my time at Island Trees”. He is also very proud of participating in the school’s first two Culture Festivals. He says, “I’m not only proud of representing my heritage but also from encouraging others to be prideful of where they are from to cultivate an inclusive school community”. His advice to fellow/future bulldogs is, “I think most importantly–at least for me–was to change the mindset I had when approaching anything school-related. Instead of thinking of a task as ‘something I have to do for college’, to think of reasons why I actually wanted to do something and how they align with my goals (to become better at science, to show pride in my heritage, to give back to the community) made my commitments so much more enjoyable”. He also shares how your goals will change throughout high school, and that’s okay. 

Emily Tsai lists her proudest ITHS moments as qualifying for the regional level of the Anato-Bee, starting the Science Research and Competition Club, and receiving All-County Art Honors. She reminisces, “As an artist who used to get overlooked a lot, I was proud to become an All-County Artist and to see my artwork in the display case for the first time the year I got inducted into NAHS (National Art Honor Society)”. Emily urges other bulldogs to focus on themselves when making important life decisions. She shares, “Do what YOU want to do and what you know is good for you!”. 

Both Hexter and Emily have shown tremendous gratitude to their teachers and other mentors who have inspired them along the way. Hexter specifically mentions Mrs. Gorman and Ms. Spinale. He says, “I am especially grateful for Mrs. Gorman and Ms. Spinale, both of whom have taught me not just academics but have provided me with lessons and memories that will stick with me for the rest of my life”. Emily is very grateful for Mr. Callus on her journey to Saludatorian. She says, “Mr. Callus had to have made the most significant impact because he was what got me interested in Biology, to begin with”. 

In addition to both showing tremendous gratitude for Island Trees, Hexter and Emily will both be attending Stony Brook University in the fall! Hexter will be majoring in Civil Engineering in hopes of becoming a Civil Engineer, while Emily will be majoring in Biology in hopes of becoming a Biomedical Scientist or Physician. Go Seawolves!

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