It’s the personal connections made in high school that will stay with Janie Tong, valedictorian for Red Deer’s Hunting Hills.
“School, itself, is a lot with homework, assignments and exams,” Tong reflected, “but the connections that you have with your friends and the relationships with your teachers it’s something that is really uplifting and gives you the balance that you need.”
Tong, who has been part of Red Deer Public Schools since kindergarten, has always been a diligent student. In Grade 10 at Hunting Hills High School, she took the course Social Studies 10-20-30, which allowed her to take all three years of social studies in one year.
Besides achieving considerable academic success through her “relentless pursuit of knowledge,” Tong is also described as having remarkable character by Hunting Hills principal Darwin Roscoe.
Janie “has taken on leadership roles as a quiet leader, demonstrating exceptional organizational skills and the ability to unite others,” he said. “Her genuine warmth sets her apart.” And Tong’s completion of the intercultural certificate showed her commitment to fostering cross-cultural understanding, added Roscoe.
Being named valedictorian came as a surprise to Tong, who said “I was really shocked when I heard the news.” But she’s “excited and proud” of the recognition.
At the May 26 graduation ceremony for Hunting Hills at the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, Tong will reminisce about school highlights, including the Bike-A-Thon and Wakefest.
Her speech will also be about remembering that the lows of high school, as well as the highs, “are what helped shape who we are today. High school was when we really found ourselves and started to answer the question we were asked when we were so young, which was ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’” said Tong.
She will take computer science at the University of Waterloo in Ontario this fall. “I’m really excited for a new adventure.”