Though they have different strengths, James Siderius, Class of 2012 valedictorian, and Kendall Weierich Class of 2012 salutatorian, they share a rigorous academic drive.
Siderius ended the year with a 4.618 GPA. He began his freshman with only one AP class. However, he kicked off his next few years with four AP classes his sophomore year, and five AP classes his junior year. As a senior, Siderius has taken nearly every AP class offered by the school, and has also taken various AP classes unavailable at the school at colleges. Siderius has also been named the AP scholar, a title given to the student who has taken the most AP classes in the state.
“It’s a real honor to be given this title. There’s a lot of people getting awards for sports and arts, and it’s nice to be awarded for something academic,” Siderius said. “My prime motivation wasn’t for the goal of being valedictorian. I like to learn. I took a lot of AP classes that didn’t go towards being valedictorian, but it wasn’t my sole motivation.
Along with receiving various science awards and a scholarship for science and math, Siderius was involved in a considerable amount of extra-curricular activities as well. Siderius mentored a robotics team at Athey Creek Middle School, participated and was awarded in ISEF all four years, and has been participating in environmental research with a professor at PSU. This year, he was the graduation speaker, a position that comes with being valedictorian.
Weireich finished the year with a 4.313 GPA. She differs from Siderius the most in that she is very involved in the arts as well as academics. Weierch was the choir presdient for jazz and symphonic choir, was in the the Women’s Quintet, and also did classical ballet and piano. She was on the Music and Arts Partners scholarship, and also won a Director’s Award for choir.
“I’ve always been academically centered. If I got a title, then I would be really happy. But it wasn’t my main intention,” Weierich said. “It feels great knowing that I’m representing my class academically and just as a person. Our Class of 2012, we’re classy. It’s nice to know I’m being classy.”
Along with her art recognition, Weierch also tutored and taught piano to many students. “That was one of the most rewarding parts of high school. I liked that I could translate my skills and knowledge into someone else’s passing.”
Weierch feels that the greatest difference between she and Siderius is that he “is more reserved and he keeps to himself, a quiet leader.”
“I’m more talkative and an active participant. We’re both pretty self-motivated,” Weierich said.
“I think that Kendall is interested in many subjects, particularly music and art. I took art history this year, but I’m not an artist. I have a natural bent towards science and mathematics,” Siderius said.
Both Siderius and Weierich are humbled at their positions. Siderius will be attending Princeton University in the fall, and Weierch will be going to Standford University.