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Profile on the co-valedictorian: Maddie Yee

High school can prove to be difficult enough to keep grades up, but senior Maddie Yee goes above and beyond with also adding extracurriculars to her schedule.

With an accumulative grade point average (GPA) of 4.25, Yee is being honored for her academic excellence and dedication to school as being selected as the co-valedictorian for this years senior class.

Among the many clubs, sports and activities Yee is a part of she has participated in Spanish Club, California Scholarship Federation (CSF), Sister-to-Sister, journalism, cross country, soccer, Calvin Crest cabin leader and a small group leader for chapel. Yee made sure to stay busy during her time in high school which led to her success.

Hinojosa: What does it feel like to be valedictorian?

Yee: I feel so honored to share valedictorian with Ashely [Erickson]. Honestly, I never thought I would be the valedictorian of my class, so it is a bit of a surprise. It does feel very rewarding though, and it is nice to be recognized for the time and hard work I have put in to my classes throughout high school.

Hinojosa: Were you working towards earning this position, or was it unexpected?

Yee: I have never sought to be first in my class, but only to give my best effort in academics. At the beginning of the year, I knew that Ashley and I were pretty close in GPAs, but it didn’t affect how I scheduled my classes. I chose not to take any AP classes this year, so I actually thought that I would end up being salutatorian because of that. I guess it was a little unexpected then that I ended up earning co-valedictorian.

Hinojosa: At some point every student experiences stress, but do you have any tactics for relieving stress?

When I get stressed out, usually going on a run or playing the piano helps relieve the stress. Running allows me to focus my energy on something else in a physical way, while playing the piano allows me to just sit down and enjoy worship songs. Sometimes just going to take a nap would also help calm me down, and gave me a more peaceful mindset.

Yee: In order to maintain a GPA as high as yours, you obviously had strong motivation. Do you have any advice for students who struggle with motivation?

Just do it. Don’t make excuses for why you can’t do something. The more you procrastinate, the more stress builds up. When you are able to see what needs to be done and figure out the best way to execute those things, you are able to finish them in an efficient way, while also saving yourself from anxiety. Also, know when to take breaks. Yes, you may feel like you have a ton of work to do, but if you get too consumed with your work, you begin to lose patience, and mentally, you just get exhausted.

Hinojosa: Was their a specific teacher or mentor that pushed you to reach this point in your education?

Yee: [Greg] Stobbe always pushed me to work to my best ability. He helped push me out of my comfort zone through different articles he assigned to me in journalism, and challenged me to always try new things. Stobbe always knew when to motivate me to accomplish certain jobs for The Feather, but he also knew when to tell me to relax and just enjoy my time with people.

Hinojosa: Your are taking a gap year between high school and college. Why did you decide to attend the Joshua Wilderness Institute at Hume Lake?

Yee: I decided to attend Joshua because I wanted a year to solidify my faith. I want to be more spiritually challenged and equipped so that when I go to college, I will be more prepared for the different situations that will arise. I also wanted to have a year purposely dedicated to God, so that I can grow closer to Him, and learn more about how I can use my gifts to glorify Him.

Hinojosa: Do you think the environment offered at small Christian schools has helped you throughout your five years in education and in what ways?

Yee: Definitely. Going to Fresno Christian has helped me grow in my personal relationship with Christ in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I was able to fellowship with other believers in chapel twice a week, singing worship songs and listening to speakers. I was also able to be a part of the worship team this year, and had the opportunity to share what God was placing on my heart by speaking in chapel a couple different times. I also had the privilege to lead a small group over three years, and be a Clavin Crest cabin leader for three years. Through all of these experiences, and just through the Christian friends I made, I was able to not only grow closer to God, but be encouraged in my faith.

A major blessing of attending a Christian school has been having teachers who not only care about my academic success, but about my relationship with Christ as well. I loved having teachers who would start the day off by praying, or sharing something that was on their heart. I have been so blessed by my teachers here at FC who have truly shown me what living your faith out looks like.

Hinojosa: Throughout your four years in high school, what was one experience that you will remember long after you graduate?

Yee: This is a hard question because there are so many great experiences that I’ve had over the last four years. I think it’s a tie between three memories.

The first one would have to be going to Calvin Crest as a cabin leader for three years. I loved having the opportunity to counsel the eighth graders and getting to know them. I also loved growing closer to the other cabin leaders during our time off; we were able to talk about how our week was going and also share meaningful conversations.

The second memory was going to New York and San Francisco this year with journalism. It was such a great feeling when we won the CSPA Gold Crown, NSPA Online Pacemaker and Best of Show. I have poured so much of my time into The Feather, so it felt very rewarding to receive those national awards. I also loved hanging out with the other Feather staffers and just having a blast with them.

The third memory would just be all of the relationships I’ve formed during my five years at FC. Relationships with friends, teachers, coaches, and teammates. All of these connections have helped me to grow more into the person I am today. I have been so blessed by these friendship and I will cherish them forever.

Hinojosa: Do you think you’re prepared to leave for college, aside from expected nerves?

Yee: I don’t think you can ever be fully prepared for what will come in college, but I do think that FC has prepared me to face the academic and spiritual challenges that will arise by giving me a solid base. The teachers here at FC have helped me develop a desire to give my best effort, and I have learned how to manage my time well with different activities. I do think I am ready to experience a harder academic schedule though, and I look forward to learning new lessons amidst the process.

Hinojosa: Now that you’ve successfully completed your high school career, how would you change it?

Yee: I really don’t think I would change that much if I could go back, but one thing would be to take one year at a time. During freshman year, I thought I had my whole high school career planned out, but that definitely did not play out how I thought it would. If I could change it, I would just take more of an open approach to class schedules, sports, and other extra-curricular activities.

Hinojosa: What is one lesson you wish you could have known on the first day of freshman year?

Yee: One lesson I wish I could have known would be to branch out more in getting to know different people in my school classes and in my class as a whole. Until this year, I was always in the same classes with the same people, so it was easy to just stick with those people. But I think it is important to learn more about other people who you don’t usually talk to because you can learn so much from them, and they get to learn from you as well.

Hinojosa: What are your plans after attending the Joshua program?

Yee: After the Joshua program, my plan is to attend a four-year university, where I can either major in psychology or behavioral science, with a minor in Spanish. I hope to go into Christian counseling, whether that be with a specific organization or in full-time ministry.

For more features, read the May 21 article, Profile on the salutatorian: Jessica Healy.

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