Valedictorian is to Salutatorian as Shivang Singh is to Christopher Tai

Haley Adams, Reporter

This year, seniors Shivang Singh and Christopher Tai take on the respective titles of valedictorian and salutatorian. Earning this achievement requires a good deal of academic prowess―and along the way, they have found a few key factors for study success. For Singh and Tai, time management was among the first things that came to mind.


CT: “I procrastinate-”

SS: “Time management.”

CT: “Yeah, yeah, I agree with that. It’s really hard to measure time well.”

SS: “Limit distractions when you’re trying to get your work done.”

CT: “And the more you procrastinate, the worse it becomes, so if you make it a habit not to procrastinate earlier, it’s way better.”


However, of the things they found most important, not all of them were inside the classroom. Both emphasized extracurriculars, as well as personal development, as opposed to rigorous academics and competition.


SS: “Live a balanced life. Do something outside of studying.”

CT: “Yeah, extracurriculars. You should get involved, like what Mr. Moen says. Oh yeah also don’t, like, compare yourself to other people-”

SS: “That is true, everyone’s got their own path-”

CT: “Because, like, yeah, you’re your own person, and it’s like … it’s really just bad for yourself and for others if you’re constantly comparing yourself, so just be who you’re called to be.”


The question of how to juggle academics and extracurriculars throughout high school garnered a few different solutions.


SS: “I think just time management.”

CT: “Sleeping less. Oh, oh, that’s my other piece of advice! You should sleep more. If you get an opportunity to, you should sleep as much as possible. Sleep is really good for you.”

SS: “You’ve got to focus more on what you’re really drawn to.”

CT: “If you had, like, a jar, you should fill it with the big rocks first, and then the sand, instead of the sand then the big rocks, because then everything will fit inside the jar … The sand is, like, watching YouTube, or scrolling through Reddit, but then the big rocks are like, academics, or extracurriculars.”


Contrary to what it may seem, their positions as valedictorian and salutatorian did not lend any help to their college applications―especially since they had submitted them long before they earned the titles. When I asked them, they were quick to reply:


SS: “None.”

CT: “Yeah actually, none. Because they told us way after we, like, applied to college, so-”

SS: “Way after, and then―really, I don’t know, the only thing that’s going to make you stand out is like, relativity among your classmates. As long as you’re in the top, like, 7 or 10 percent, then that really matters, and [if] you’re within that, it’s negligible.”


They encourage students to look past the awards for fulfillment, as focusing solely on external recognition can take a mental toll on students.


SS: “It’s not a big deal, you don’t―no one should make it their goal to just be valedictorian or salutatorian. In the long run, it has no bearing on anything, except for speaking in front of your classmates.”

CT: “Which is almost like a detriment, too, [because] it’s like ‘wow, so much pressure.’”


The boys weren’t altogether expecting to be named valedictorian and salutatorian this year, but their hard work and preparation for the years ahead ended up paying off.


CT: “It wasn’t, like my life goal. Like, it was pretty cool-”

SS: “Yeah, it wasn’t like―it wasn’t on my mind to be valedictorian, it just happened that way. I just tried to prepare myself well for college, and it came as a result of it.”

CT: “Yeah, I would agree with that.”