The honor of being the class of 2022 salutatorian was awarded to Felix Gong. His academic performance during his years at St. John’s School can be attributed to his hard work, positive attitude, and commitment to academic excellence.
What colleges were you accepted into?
Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania- Wharton School, Cornell University, Duke University, Northwestern University, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC San Diego, University of Michigan, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Which college will you choose and why?
After taking the advice of some of my mentors, I decided to visit the top schools I was considering. Of all of the fabulous and gorgeous campuses I visited, Yale had a community where I felt that I could be the happiest! I met the nicest people and professors, and having a network of constant support is one of the most important aspects of college life. That was truly the reason why I chose Yale over all of the other wonderful schools, and it was definitely one of the hardest decisions I have had to make.
What is your planned college major? minor?
As of this moment, I have still not decided on my major. While I am leaning toward either Economics or Engineering, I want to discover new topics and experience new fields during my time at Yale University.
Why do you wish to pursue this major or career? How does this align with what you would like to achieve in your life after college?
I am still not sure what career path I wish to pursue, but I know that I want to do something that can help people.
What about college life are you most excited for?
I am most excited to meet new inspiring people and make new life-long friendships!
What advice would you give to a high school student starting college applications?
START EARLY! I know many people tell you this, but it is truly essential that you give yourself enough time to truly express what you want to illustrate to the colleges. The second piece of advice is to truly be yourself. Make sure that your personality and your experiences shine through. At the end of the day, you want to go to a college that fits you the most, and colleges want to accept students that would thrive in their school. Hence, if you try to be someone else on your application, you will likely not be happy where you end up.
What advice would you give to a new St. John’s freshman?
I think that St. John’s is truly what you make from it. St. John’s has a lot of different opportunities to offer you, but you have to actively grab these experiences. I truly see myself as a St. John’s success story. I was able to travel all around the world to represent our school in so many different ways, and those are some of the lasting highlights of my high school career.
What will your lasting memories of St. John’s be?
I think my lasting memories of St. John’s (other than the off-island trips I mentioned in the previous question) will be of the amazing bond I have made with many of the teachers. I love getting to know these wonderful people, and I can see in many of their eyes that they truly wish the best for me and all of their students.
How well has St. John’s prepared you for a successful college future?
I honestly do not know. I can confidently say that I have learned a wealth of knowledge from St. John’s, and I have improved drastically in many different areas of my life throughout my years at St. John’s. However, because I have never experienced college, I do not know how I will fare.
Who has been the most influential person in your time at St. John’s School?
I truly cannot pick just one. I think two of the most influential teachers at St. John’s are Mrs. Lopez and Mr. Parker.
Mrs. Lopez is the person who first sparked my interest in the sciences.
The passion that she has for the subject, and the way that she communicated the material thoroughly encapsulated eighth-grade me, and she has truly changed my life.
Mr. Parker is also one of the most influential people in my high school career. The warmth and kindness he exudes mixed with the obvious love he has for any of the subjects he is teaching is truly inspiring. I have come to know him as both a mentor and a friend.
However, this is just off the top of my head as I write this, and there are truly so many more. I would also love to shout out Ms. Lee, Mr. Babia, Ms. Shiu, Ms. San Nicolas, and Mrs. Mathews.
However, there are so many more teachers that I would love to shoutout.
What clubs/activities/organizations were you involved with on/off campus?
SJS Tri-M Music Honor Society President (2019- 2022)
SJS Orchestra Teacher’s Assistant (2018-2022)
SJS Glee Club (2018-2022) Treasurer (2021-2022)
SJS Japan Bowl Team (2018, 2020)
SJS Mock Trial Team (2018-2020)
SJS Golf Team (2018, 2019, 2022)
SJS Japanese Club
Guam Territorial Band Youth President (2019-2022)
Tumon Bay Youth Orchestra (2018-2022) Steering Committee Secretary (2021-2022)
Guam Symphony Society (2018-2020)
How were you able to balance your extracurricular activities and academic life so well?
It was very difficult at some points, but I feel like having constant support from my family and my friends really helped me.
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