Which Seniors Hold Westfield High School's Top GPAs?
Jason Qin and Rory Fitzpatrick are both headed to Princeton in the fall.
Westfield High School seniors Rory Fitzpatrick and Jason Qin have plenty in common. Not only do they hold the top GPAs in their graduating class, both will attend Princeton in the fall.
The seniors explained that WHS doesn't refer to them as valedictorian and salutatorian, rather they are the top male and female GPA holders. Neither will give a speech at graduation, which both agreed is a relief.
The two were informed of their status by mail several weeks ago. Qin said he believes taking high school courses while in middle school gave him a head start toward this achievement. Fitzpatrick said she knew she was "in the running" toward the later part of this school year but was pleasantly surprised when she learned the news.
"Both of these students are not only phenomenal students but exceptional young adults," said WHS Principal Peter Renwick. "We are extremely proud of, again, not just their academics, but of all that they've accomplished because they're very well-rounded individuals and involved in many, many other things. I could not be more proud of everything they've accomplished and their many levels of success."
When they head to Princeton this fall, Fitzpatrick plans to study physics and hopes to pursue an advanced degree in graduate school. Qin applied as a chemical and biological engineer, with a focus in bio engineering, and also plans to go to graduate school.
When the duo isn't acing exams, both enjoy giving back to the community. A girl scout since kindergarten, Fitzpatrick received her gold award last year. She was just asked to give the invocation as this year's awards ceremony. To achieve this distinction, Fitzpatrick worked at the Westfield Community Center.
"I ran a program (for children) that was essentially an arts and crafts program with a math twist," she explained. "So after we'd done it (a project), I explained how it related to math to hopefully make them more excited about it in school."
Qin has been mentoring elementary school students as part of the Police Athletic League's program.
"It's been an interesting and a fulfilling experience," he said.
Musical talent is another attribute the soon-to-be graduates share. Fitzpatrick spent her high school career playing alto saxophone in the marching band, which she said was a great experience. She also plays clarinet and flute and was a member of the jazz band. Qin has been playing the violin since the 4th grade and enjoys being a member of the chamber orchestra. At Princeton he hopes to continue to play recreationally.
While the two are excited about the future, they agreed it is hard to say goodbye to their high school days.
"I'm going to miss the people because I've had the same great friends for years," Fitzpatrick said.
"There's not so much an atmosphere here of competition so much as cooperation and I feel like at a lot of other schools that's not necessarily present, and I'll miss that in the future. All the teachers here are really helpful. If you ever have any questions, you can always stop by," Qin said.
Both Qin and Fitzpatrick offered sound advice to underclassmen.
"Just don't give up," said Qin. "Learn for the sake of learning. I wish I had known that earlier. Now I can enjoy classes a lot more."
"And don't stress yourself out about it," said Fitzpatrick. "Have fun with what you're learning. I took the classes that I wanted to take, not what I thought would make my GPA high. Do what you want to do not what will get you the best grades."