Your odds are better at being one of Ashland High School's valedictorians if you're female, from a two-parent family, and have worked hard enough for 12 years to want to take a year off.
AHS, which consistently ranks in the top 3% of US News & World Report's "Best High Schools," has a legendary Speech & Debate Team, an honorable Math Team, a Quidditch Club, a Gay-Straight Alliance, Knit Wits, Model United Nations, Multicultural Club, Pagan Club, and Crew. Every year, the Drama Department partners up with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to produce, direct, costume, and choreograph a professional-level musical. (This year's performance of "Chicago" rivaled the production I'd seen on Broadway of Sacramento.)
According to the Medford Mail Tribune, of AHS' 14 Class of 2011 valedictorians, 12 are female. Eight of 12 are listed with parents of the same last name. Many scholars are in Honor Society, have math honors, played soccer, are musicians.
And several are planning on taking advantage of the new trend; they'll take a "Gap Year" of travel or volunteer service, or dabble in the arts before heading back to the books at Stanford, NYU, Pomona, or George Washington to study neuroscience, physics, engineering, or journalism.
I know some of their parents: professors, doctors, authors, entrepreneurs.
This morning at breakfast, Dave and I sat by an AHS grad from a few years ago. She went to Harvard for a year, and returned to work at an Ashland coffee shop.
A simple, quiet girl from my own high school in California went to Berkeley and is now the headmaster of a private school in Marin County.
You never can tell, I guess, who will succeed, and at what. Part of the fun mystery of life is the element of surprise.
Maybe it will be an AHS 2011 valedictorian who cures AIDS, or maybe it will be the kid who sat in science in the middle row, who graduated 60th in a class of 200, who went to community college first.
FALL 2015 TOUR
1 year ago