Get to Know the Valedictorian and Salutatorian of the Class of 2018


Drew Forsberg

Valedictorian Chineme Amechi, pictured in her Davidson College school sweatshirt

Addie Reynolds '19, Editor-in-Chief

The honors of valedictorian and salutatorian are common ones when it comes to graduation ceremonies. At most schools, the two students with the best grades automatically claim the spot, yet at Worcester Academy, the process is slightly different. This year’s valedictorian and salutatorian were voted into their position by their class from among the members of cum laude.

Valedictorian Chineme Amechi and salutatorian Courtney Haley have been at Worcester Academy for two and six years respectively. After a rich and full experience on the Hilltop, Chineme will be heading to Davidson College in North Carolina, while Courtney will be off to New York to attend Barnard College. Both of the Hilltoppers get the opportunity to speak in front of their class as well as all the attendees at their graduation. The Vigornia had the opportunity to ask them a few questions amongst all their preparation for their upcoming graduation. Here is what the two brilliant students shared with us:

Chineme Amechi ’18

Questions with Chineme

The Vigornia: What advice do you have for upcoming seniors?

Chineme Amechi: Start your college and scholarship applications during the summer. It was really helpful to me and was great stress reliever especially during the hectic first semester. It is hard to push through second semester, especially with being in college, but continue to give every subject and commitment your all, to the final lap. Senior year is not the time for beef or drama either, it should be time to make beautiful and happy memories, so cut out all toxic elements of your life. Try new things, talk to people you have never spoken to before. Make the most of your final months at WA- go to games, dances, musical performances so that you will have things to hold on to and cherish.

Vigornia: Are you excited for College? How hard was it for you to decide where you wanted to go to college?

Chineme: I am super excited for college! I can’t wait to meet new people and explore my academic and social interests.It was not as hard for me because I did not have a dream school, and I applied to 10 schools through a scholarship program, so I was willing to go to any of them. There was some pressure to apply to name schools, which I did but at the end of the day I realized I’ll excel where I’m happiest. The difficult part was that I was applying to schools I could not visit, because my parents are in Nigeria. SO it was a shot in the dark. I only visited Davidson College, during March Break, after I got admission.

Vigornia: What will you miss the most about WA?

Chineme: I will miss the students and faculty who have contributed to the good times I had here. The kids in the Black Students’ Union, (going to Black Panther together), Ms. Tucker, Mr. Hill, and Ms. Pine for being there for me and being they are always to talk to. My friends in my dorm, Raul and Prince from Sage, my friends in the equity and inclusion committee, my French class- my family (Vive la France), Ms. Thorn and my Women in Literature class. The laughs, the adventures, and new experiences are what I’ll forever cherish.

Vigornia: How do you find a balance between all of your work and extracurriculars?

Chineme: Balancing school and extracurriculars was hard but it is all about time management. I set out tasks for myself each day, and did my best to fulfill all of them. For my extracurriculars that I was a leader of I delegated responsibilities as efficiently as possible, to make sure I was not carrying too much on my shoulders. I was always in the library whenever I was free, to stay ahead of classes and be on top of schoolwork (if I wanted to be alone to study-non one would be able to find me). I also did not take on too much responsibilities. I made sure to not do things last minute and past due date through he regular task setting.

Vigornia: What does WA mean to you?

Chineme: WA is a place of growth, challenge, and finding yourself. It is a place of constant learning, meeting new people, and new experiences.

Vigornia: What is one of the best memories you have from your time here?

Chineme: Speaking before the school during black history month, reading a speech by Josephine Baker, and speaking on racial equality and black pride. After that, my interest in social justice was heightened. I found what I wanted to be involved in.

Vigornia: Thoughts on speaking at graduation. / Are you nervous?

Chineme: I want to thank the senior class for voting me as Valedictorian, I have always dreamed of being and I feel honored and humbled to be awarded this position. I am pretty nervous, and feel kind of pressured. I just really want to give a powerful and memorable speech. I hope to make myself, my country, and parents proud that day.

Questions With Courtney

Courtney Haley ’18

The Vigornia: What does WA mean to you?

Courtney Haley: WA means a place where I have grown to find myself and appreciate others. WA has taught me to recognize the good in people and it has shown me to see the world in a giving and accepting manner.

Vigornia: What is one of the best memories you have from your time here?

Courtney One of my favorite memories from WA was the immersion trip to Peru. WA giving me that opportunity to explore the world and the culture of South America was very special. I experienced the country from a point of view that was unique because we interacted with locals, traveled to different parts of Peru, and got to see Machu Picchu. Experiencing the culture with students of all grades expanded my interactions with people outside of my classes or my grade.

Vigornia: What advice do you have for upcoming seniors?

Courtney: To upcoming seniors: enjoy it! You have worked very hard to be in the place that you are in, so take in the sights and savor your final year of high school. Do not wish it away because it will be gone soon. Make connections with people in your grade and the faculty to take advantage of what WA offers you.

Vigornia: How do you find a balance between all of your work and extracurriculars?

Courtney: I find a balance by planning my days and weeks very carefully. On Sundays, I create a schedule for Monday through Friday that includes how I will spend my CCLs and frees to maximize my available time.

Vigornia: Are you excited for College? / How hard was it for you to decide where you wanted to go to college?

Courtney: I am very excited for college! It was slightly challenging for me to decide because I had my heart set on another school for some time before changing my mind and applying Early Decision (a binding agreement) to the school I will attend next year. I say slightly challenging because I knew from the minute I went to the college I chose that I wanted to go there, but it was difficult to choose giving up what I thought I always wanted.

Vigornia: What will you miss the most about WA?

Courtney: I will miss the people most at WA. I truly felt welcomed as a part of the community for the six years that I was a student there and leaving the people I formerly saw five days a week will be hard. I am so appreciative for all the kindness and support I received as a student and a community member at WA and will miss being a part of the wonderful community.

Vigornia: How stressful is it prepping to speak at Graduation? / Thoughts on speaking at Graduation?

Courtney: It is stressful! My objective is to include perspectives or resonate with all people in the Class of 2018, so crafting a speech that extends to many is hard. I also anticipate being very nervous to deliver it on Graduation Day!

I also wanted to thank the members of my class for selecting me as speaking Salutatorian. It is truly an honor.