Liu, Witte named valedictorian, salutatorian

Valedictorian

“Honestly, it’s pretty surreal,” Alexander Liu said.

Alexander Liu thought he was going to be the salutatorian for Calhoun High School, but when principal Nicole Amason called him and said he was valedictorian, he said that is was unbelievable.

“Obviously, I’m really excited and honored, but when I sit back and think about it sometimes, it’s a little overwhelming,” Liu said.

Liu will attend the University of Texas at Austin and major in electrical engineering.

According to Liu, he played the Grade Point Average (GPA) game right, which helped lead him to become the valedictorian.

“I think in my case, I really just took the right classes. If you play the GPA game right, then ranking in the top 10 of your class will always be within reach,” Liu said.

Although that is what he did, he said he does not recommend going that route.

“Playing the GPA game definitely wasn’t fun, and I stressed myself more than I would have liked. I recommend that students find something they’re truly interested in and take classes that go towards helping with that subject in the future if they do decide to pursue a career in it,” Liu said.

Liu’s advice to current and future students is to strive for the best.

“Take advantage of these four years of high school. If you do sports, then train hard and do your best. If academics is your strong subject, then study hard and do well. Just don’t be lazy and put your time to waste, because these four years can either be insignificant to you or, hopefully, filled with good memories,” Liu said.

Liu said that the memories he made and the people he met helped him through the process of becoming the valedictorian.

“The whole “taking classes and making high grades” part maybe wasn’t as great, but the people make it enjoyable. Try to have fun at school, because you’re not going to remember high school by the tests you took or the stressful times, but rather by the good memories and the people that made it meaningful,” Liu said.

The future electrical engineer has big goals that he says seems far-fetched, but ones that he thinks he can obtain.

“I do have an ambition to make our world a more interconnected place so that everyone from urban to rural areas will be able to have access to the same educational opportunities as each other. It’s far-fetched, but every big idea has to start somewhere,” Liu said.

Liu had help from a supporting class during his climb to the top of the 2018 Calhoun High School class.

“My success is not a one-man effort for sure, because other people’s support kind of kept my dream alive. But as a student, you have to realize that success has to come from yourself. It’s like the old saying about how you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. If the opportunities and resources are there for you, then you just have to set your heart to it and use them to have as much success as possible,” Liu said.

Salutatorian

“Don’t be afraid to work hard. Put hours into that project, put your heart and soul into that paper, and practice that piece of music over and over,” Andrew Witte said.

The 2018 Calhoun High School Salutatorian, Andrew Witte will be the first ever graduate to attend Duke University in Durham, NC.

Witte will continue in his mom’s footsteps and study public policy, pre-law at Duke. Becoming one of the top-two students does not come without hard work and dedication.

“My goal was to take the best, hardest classes Calhoun had to offer,” Witte said.

Some of his classes included Advanced Placement (AP) classes, as well as dual enrollment classes through Victoria College.

“In everything I did, I was determined to do my best in every way possible. I try my best to work hard in everything I do, and I’m glad that my accomplishments reflect this fact,” Witte said.

As a high functioning top student, Witte gave some pointers to current and future Calhoun Sandcrabs

“Take advantage of everything Calhoun High School has to offer. Your four years are exactly what you want them to be; what you put in is what you’ll get out,” Witte said.

He also explained the benefit in taking the dual enrollment classes through Victoria College.

“You start getting college credits in high school, but you also get the experience of taking real college-level classes. I’ve taken multiple classes over my last two years here and personally, I think I’ve benefited a lot from them,” Witte said.

Witte was the drum major for the past two years for the Calhoun High School Band. He said to not only put everything into the academic side of things, but also the extracurricular activities.

“Throwing myself head and heart into band and UIL academic competition made high school enjoyable, made me a better person, and is probably a large factor into why I am about to attend one of the best universities in the country. So find the thing you’re passionate about and dive into it,” Witte said.

“Never miss an opportunity to better yourself just because you’re afraid of what other people may think. Make self-improvement a habit and see where it takes you. But more than anything, don’t be afraid of changing,” Witte added.

With everything that a salutatorian goes through in their four years of high school, Witte said he will remember the simple things the most.

“Like all the times you all would make me cry laughing at the smallest things or all the time we spent driving, windows down, screaming the lyrics to every song. There are some moments that can never be forgotten,” Witte said.

He credited his parents, family and friends for helping him in his journey to becoming the salutatorian.