La Jolla High Class of 2017 graduates with honors

The Class of 2017 will leave La Jolla High School from Edwards Stadium on June 14 with 378 graduating seniors (183 girls, 195 boys). Of the graduates, 56 percent are receiving a “Senior with Academic Distinction” designation — that’s 215 of them.

Top-of-the-classers, Valedictorians Lorenzo Calvano and Heloise Carion (GPA 4.87) and Salutatorian Matt Romero (GPA 4.82), talked with La Jolla Light last week about their academic success.

“My senior year has been really good, but it was probably my hardest year because of college applications. That was really stressful, but overall, it’s been fun!” Heloise said.

Lorenzo agreed, “It was my hardest year of high school, but also the year I’ve had the most fun on, because of all the senior year activities and doing things with my friends.”

Matt begged to differ, for him senior year was a breeze. “It just felt easier because I didn’t have to take my ACTs, and by December all my applications were in, so I just felt a release when I was finished, not as much pressure. The class load was about the same.”

Like most of the graduating Vikings, the trio is moving on to college. Heloise is going to UC Berkeley and hopes to major in bioengineering. Similarly, Matt will join the bio-med program at UC San Diego. Lorenzo is looking at a major in chemistry at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont.

Heloise said she chose bioengineering “because it’s a really broad field and you can do a bunch of different things; you can do the more chemistry side or the more mechanical engineering side, you can do genetic modification or medical devices.”

For Matt, bio engineering is his option because “I like the idea that it’s in medicine, but it’s a type of engineering where you’re doing new things in that field. It’s not only clinical practice or research, you can do either.”

For Lorenzo, who realized he wanted to be in chemistry while missing the subject in a biochemistry class, “I like the mathematics side of sciences a lot, and chemistry is based on math and proofs, so I’m interested in exploring that side of chemistry.”

His advice for incoming freshmen is to not be shy about asking counselors for help. “Talk to your school more because the staff is definitely trying to help you. It will make it a lot easier if you don’t just go in on your own and try to figure things out by yourself.”

Lorenzo said if he could give one piece of advice to incoming freshmen, that would be to choose their subjects with their hearts. “I’d recommend to take classes that interest you, even if not everybody is taking them. Take classes you’re passionate about because then it will be easier for you to do well.”

For Heloise, the secret to academic success was an organized schedule. “Work on your time management because those are the behaviors that are going to reflect through the next four years of high school. Starting to manage your time well from the beginning is really important.”

As to what’s the best thing about high school, the three agreed that their friends are what made it all worthwhile. The worst thing, they also agreed, was not being able to focus on their areas of interest. “You have to be here every day and you have to take six classes and you have to do all these things ... there’s not a lot of freedom,” Matt explained.

See photos from La Jolla High School’s graduation in the next issue of the Light.