When entering high school as freshmen, most students strive to have good grades but don’t necessarily set out to be at the top of their class. That was the case for Cori Bereznay and Anders Nelson, who finished their time at Broadneck as the class of 2022’s valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively.
For Nelson, that wasn’t something he ever thought he would be able to do.
“When I entered high school, I was just hoping to get by,” Nelson said. “Being valedictorian/salutatorian was not a goal in mind for me. But it ended up meaning a lot to be one of the top two students because it meant that my hard work paid off and was worth it.”
The hard work both Bereznay and Nelson put into their academics and extracurriculars paid off. But like the rest of their peers, their achievements were not without difficulties. They both dealt with problems trying to maintain their spots at the top, but they came away with important skills like time management.
“I had to learn how to balance my workload, sports as a four-year varsity athlete, clubs, volunteering and my social life,” Bereznay said.
Nelson agreed, saying that it was tough to balance soccer and schoolwork while getting eight hours of sleep each night. Now the students’ time at Broadneck has ended and they are moving to the next step in their lives, college. Nelson will study engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park while Bereznay will attend the University of Virginia to major in political philosophy on the pre-law track.
Many students struggle with figuring out a proper work-life balance that allows them to excel in school, but they might struggle because of that approach. Bereznay said that it might not be worth trying to be at the top.
“If you must sacrifice a lot outside of school, such as giving up sports, or not being able to participate in clubs, to be valedictorian, it may not be worth the achievement,” she stated.
Nelson said young adults should push their limits to reach their potential.
“Don’t let others tell you how much work you can or can’t handle or how many AP classes to take,” Nelson said. “You shouldn’t make it too easy because others are. You need to make the most of your time and hop on that grind.”