2019 Valedictorian: Serena Jiao


Courtesy of Serena Jiao

Ulia Zaman, Staff Writer

  Vibrant, quick-witted, and zealous, Serena Jiao (12) has been officially named as the Valedictorian for the Class of 2019. Jiao has been involved in numerous activities throughout her four years at West. When I asked her a few questions about her experiences, she shared some interesting stories, the lessons she has learned, and her hopes for the future.


Q: Could you tell me a little about yourself (ie. hobbies, passions, extracurriculars, activities at West)?

A: I really enjoy spending time with my family and friends. At school, [the] two main activities that I’m involved with are cross country and freshman focus! I’m so grateful for my XC teammates because they have become some of my best friends. Also, I joined freshman focus because I truly love the mission and the atmosphere of the club. Helping out at warrior welcome is one of many great memories. On my down time, I really like art, whether it’s actual art or music.


Q: Where have you decided to go to for college? What do you want to study in college? Why does this field interest you?

A: I will be attending UPenn, which I am so excited about. I have always been more geared towards STEM because I really do love the concepts and topics that these fields provide, as well as the power of STEM to be able to help others. I have always had many different interests, but I think I really enjoy this area because it provides me the opportunity to challenge myself and work with others to find solutions. However, I am always eager to learn more, and I hope to continue learning whether it’s STEM topics or other topics!    


Q: Are there any major role models or inspirational figures that have guided you? Who is a person that you personally  look up to?

A: My role models have always been the people around me, and some especially important ones to me are my parents, because they continue to work their hardest even when tired and still smile while they’re at it.


Q: What is your fondest memory of West?

A: My fondest memory of West is too hard to choose because there are so many great memories [of] these years. Some that come to mind are chatting with my teammates after races or simply saying hi to a friend. I think that there were many moments that truly made my time at West wonderful. Some of the best parts were the friendships that I made.


Q: What do you think is the most valuable lesson you have learned from your experiences?

A: Throughout these years, I think that what I learned would be to know that there is a balance between health and working hard. I think it’s important to know your priorities and also to take time to relax and do what you love to do. Definitely join clubs and activities that you enjoy and love, and don’t be afraid to try new things.


Q: What is one tip/advice you would give to younger students or someone who is considering following the same path as yours?

A: I think that sometimes some may feel that they need to have everything for the future sorted out, so my advice is that it’s okay to not know your “set path” because the best things usually appear randomly in your head. It’s okay to suddenly decide to try something that you didn’t think you would be doing the previous day. In a nutshell, don’t be afraid of change because change can be good.


Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

A: For now, I have an idea of where I could be in 10 years, but to be honest, I really don’t know and I am excited to see what [is] ahead. All I know is I hope to be pursuing something that I love and being able to share that and also being able to help others.