Valedictorians share future plans, advice, deepest darkest secrets


Photo taken by Claire Roach

Claire Roach, Co-Opinion/Web Editor

The reality of missing over a year of in-person school made the task of maintaining grades more challenging than most years. This year, 19 of Tualatin High School’s (TuHS) seniors have been named valedictorian. Traditionally, valedictorians are students that earn a 4.0 GPA throughout their four years of high school. Simone Sienkiewicz, Samuel Roach and Zoe Taaffe were three out of the group, and they shared their memorable moments, future plans and advice for students that will be in high school next year, as well as those beginning life after. 


Q: What are your plans for after high school?

SS: I plan on attending Oregon State Honors College, double majoring in zoology and marine biology. After college I want to work at an animal sanctuary. 

ZT: I am going to Binghamton University in New York to become a nurse.

SR: I plan to attend Cal Poly in the fall to work towards a mechanical engineering degree.


Q: What are you most proud of?

SS: I am most proud of how I put myself out there and always tried new things. 

ZT: I am proud of my wide range of accomplishments, from competing in medical competitions to playing on the lacrosse field.

SR: My totally awesome friends and family. They’re good people! For what I’m personally proud of, it has to be my taste in music. It’s really great.


Q: What is your favorite extracurricular?

SS: My favorite extracurricular is Intercambio. It is a TTSD-based mentoring program where high schoolers mentor middle schoolers to get them ready for high school. It has been the most rewarding and fun experience, and I have met some of my greatest friends.

ZT: Lacrosse. I love the team I get to play with. It is super bittersweet to be playing with my seniors for one last season, but I could not imagine my four years of lacrosse without all of them. 

SR: Cross Country was my favorite extracurricular. Having such great teammates and coaches who supported me on and off the track really made a difference over my four years at Tualatin High. Shoutout to FBLA, would recommend. 


Q: What advice would you give incoming freshmen?

SS: Don’t take yourself too seriously. It can be fun to have school spirit and participate in things!

ZT: Do not worry about what other people think about you. It is not going to matter. Branch out and find what you love to do. And enjoy the small moments because it will be your last day of high school before you know it. 

SR: Have a balanced life. Sports/extracurriculars are great, school is also great, BUT everything is good in moderation. While you’re crushing academics/extracurriculars, remember to make some time for yourself and your loved ones.


Q: What is your worst symptom of senioritis?

SS: Insane lack of motivation. Once I chose a college, I found it hard to want to focus.

ZT: Feeling like attendance is optional or procrastinating on any and all assignments.

SR: I have been taking advantage of loose deadlines. Mr. Khanna and I have definitely had less productive study sessions.


Q: Who was your biggest motivation?

SS: My siblings always motivate me! My younger brothers motivate me to do my best because I want to set a good example for them, and my older brother and sister always encourage me. 

ZT: My friends were my biggest motivation through high school. They always pushed me to be the best version of myself and I learned so much from them. I would not be where I am today without their love and support. 

SR: My family for sure. This isn’t just about school. They really push me to be the best person I can be. What more could I want?


Q: What class almost cost you your 4.0 GPA?

SS: IB ESS. That class was really hard, but it was also one of my favorite classes I’ve taken.

ZT: Freshmen Advanced English with Ms. DuPuis.

SR: Spanish 2-4. I think it came down to the final every year for me. I’m just a lucky fella!

The Wolf would also like to congratulate fellow valedictorians Alexis Bennett, Braquelle Blanchard, Emily Bruno, Brook Burke, Taryn Coulson, Stella Fetherston, Hannah Figueroa-Velazquez, Sean Hansen, Paige Olson, Christopher Steven, Lacey Thurley, Emily Phuong Tran, Kenny Trinh, Alexa Webb, Sarah Warren and Kayla Wolf on their academic integrity and perseverance.