PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What Does It Take To Become A Valedictorian These Days?

Jordan Thomas is the valedictorian of his class at University High School in Newark, New Jersey. He plans to attend Princeton in the fall. (Courtesy of Jordan Thomas)

Jordan Thomas is the valedictorian of his class at University High School in Newark, New Jersey. He plans to attend Princeton in the fall. (Courtesy of Jordan Thomas)

What does it take to be a high school valedictorian these days?

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson asked three valedictorians, who say their friends, their parents, their surroundings and some very special teachers motivated them to develop the drive in school that got them to number one.

All three students, who are graduating this year, already have very specific plans for their futures.

Jordan Thomas is 17 and grew up in Newark, New Jersey, He acknowledges that Newark can be a tough place but he considers himself lucky.

“You have that advantage of not being like many other children in the sense of being sheltered,” he said. “You learn that you will have to grow up quickly in Newark.”

Thomas is going to Princeton next year and plans to major in political science.

“I realized my passions and my strengths are more centered on the responsibilities of becoming a lawyer,” he said.

Thomas said that, aside from being a hard work, a big part of his success and bright future has just been being a normal teenager.

“Although I was valedictorian and I was always involved in community service and getting involved in my AP classes, I definitely made sure that I definitely had that social interaction, and I always made friends with everybody in the class,” he said. “I was always one to want to attend the parties and to really get involved in that sort of aspect of high school as well. But my core group of friends, aside from everybody who was starting the parties and everything, always knew that, at the end of the day, there’s a time to have fun, there’s a time to party, there’s a time to go out, to go to the movies, but at the end of the day, make sure that the homework is done, make it’s done right, and make sure you’re ready for the test the next day.”

Note: This is the first of three conversations. Two more interviews with valedictorians will air later this week.

Guest

  • Jordan Thomas, valedictorian at University High School in Newark, New Jersey.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

April 28 18 Comments

Men Read Mean Tweets At Women And The Video Goes Viral

Two Chicago-area sports journalists gathered the tweets directed at them and asked men to read them to their faces. The result went viral.

April 28 7 Comments

HBO's CEO On Virtual Reality And ‘Sesame Street’

In the second part of our interview with Richard Plepler, he discusses why the premium cable network picked up "Sesame Street."

April 28 Comment

Gloria Estefan Reflects On Her Life Story In ‘On Your Feet!’

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson catches up with the Cuban-born American singer backstage after a performance.

April 27 27 Comments

Economist: NAFTA Benefits Economy Despite Job Losses

Gordon Hanson explains his research on the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement and why he still supports it.