Matthew Chauncey worked as hard as he could, and lo and behold, it paid off: He's Ridgewood's valedictorian.
Still, he wanted to have fun in high school, he said.
"I don't want to make it some stressful experience," he said. "My parents instilled in me a work ethic. They told me to always do the best that I can, and I've done that. When the time comes, I know when I have to work and I know when I can sit back and relax."
Relax? Not for salutatorian Maria Govea.
"I don't think I had the typical high school career," she said. "I only did one sport. I didn't do much but work. I think I sometimes made it harder than it really was. I took so many AP classes and studied more than I had to."
So what makes her so driven?
"It may sound like the generic answer, but I really do like to learn. … I want to do well in life. I want to do well in biomedical engineering. I want to be prepared when I go to college."
Ridgewood High School valedictorian: Matthew Chauncey
GPA: 4.45 (weighted)
Future school: University of Florida
Ideal career: A career that I will enjoy, while at the same time I would like to be able to have a positive impact on society.
Most inspirational person: That would be my parents, and even though it is the stereotypical answer, it is still true. They have both been great examples in my life by showing me how a person should live.
Best advice/quote: "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." — Matthew 7: 7-8 (NIV)
Favorite book: The Bible
Clubs/extracurriculars: National Honor Society, Brain Bowl, Peer Counseling Program, Spanish Club, Boys State and band.
Ridgewood High School salutatorian: Maria Govea
GPA: 4.4285 (weighted)
Future School: University of South Florida
Major: Biomedical engineering.
Ideal Career: engineer
Most inspirational person: My AP calculus teacher, Amy Morin. She is the greatest calculus teacher Ridgewood has ever had.
Best advice or quote: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined." — Henry David Thoreau
Favorite place on campus: Mrs. Morin's classroom, because I have learned so much there in the past three years.
Favorite book: Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte.
Clubs/extracurriculars: National Honor Society, treasurer of Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society, Spanish Club, varsity cross country and track.