Head of the class: SHS Class of 2018 announces valedictorian, salutatorian, and essayist

Southington High School named the students that will be recognized as speakers during the commencement activities on June 21. From left, valedictorian Lydia Yu, salutatorian Chloé Becquey, and essayist Evan Bender.

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

Three diverse, inspiring and undoubtedly hard-working Southington High School seniors are celebrating their achievements of being named as top of their class: Lydia Yu (valedictorian), Chloé Becquey (salutatorian) and Evan Bender (essayist) will each be recognized and speak during the 2018 graduation ceremony on June 21.

At a press conference last week, the students shared their experiences, motivations and goals for the future.

“Going into college, I know I have the skills needed,” said Yu. “The courses and teachers here really challenge you, and teach you to do more than just memorize. You learn how to learn new information.”

Becquey will be entering college with enough credits to put her at the sophomore level.

“Through SHS, I was able to have access to a lot of Advanced Placement courses. It’s a lot of studying but it pays off in the end,” she said.

“One of the great things about SHS is there are a lot of opportunities to challenge yourself,” said Bender. “If you seek out the opportunities for tougher classes, it will really help you move forward.”

Becquey will be furthering her education at the University of Connecticut where she will double-major in computer science and either math or statistics. Yu will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is leaning toward computer science, as well. Bender will go off to John Hopkins University where he will major in biomedical engineering and double-minor in computer integrated surgery and computational medicine. He also wants to go into premedical studies.

All three students accredited their supportive teachers for their successes.

“One of my biggest impressions of Southington schools is how supportive the teachers are. I was lucky to have some of the most amazing teachers who always found ways to challenge and push me,” said Yu.

Bender said his teachers “challenged us appropriately and did a great job of preparing us.”

“I love school, so doing well in school for me just kind of came naturally,” Becquey said.

While all three students reflected on fond memories of their time in Southington schools, each expressed excitement to move on. Yu said she is looking forward to seeing “the broader world” and using the skills she obtained through school to do so. Bender encouraged other students to seize every opportunity given and to stay motivated. Becquey reflected on the many hours she spent worrying, and said to upcoming students.“My advice is to not worry so much all the time. Everything will be fine.”

Outside of their regular school days, the students are involved in several extracurricular activities and personal hobbies.

Yu has been involved in the National Honor Society, Women in Science and Engineering, the Chinese Baptist Church of Greater Hartford Youth Group, FIRST Robotocs Team 195 and VEX Robotics Team 195B, the Hartford Project and more.

Becquey was also a member of Women in Science and Engineering, a co-captain of the math team, orchestra, Model United Nations, French club and French Honor Society, National Honor Society and was a mentor of the FIRST Lego League.

Bender has been involved in Project Lead the Way courses, Model United Nations, DECA, National Honor Society, Aspiring Medical Professionals club, is dive captain of the varsity swim team and helped out with the Future Business Leaders of America.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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