Valedictorian Lauren Stack Embodies Hard Work and Determination

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Valedictorian Lauren Stack Embodies Hard Work and Determination

Rebecca Garcia

Rebecca Garcia

Rebecca Garcia

Summer Ingalls, Staff Writer

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Valedictorian. An impressive and honorable academic achievement awarded to the senior with the highest ranking GPA. As a result of four years of hard work and dedication, Senior Lauren Stack is UC High’s Class of 2019 Valedictorian. However, Stack is much more than just her Valedictorian title. She is determined, displays immense leadership skills, has a special love for field hockey, and just like any of us, she loves spending time with her friends and loved ones.

  “Becoming valedictorian was never really my goal. I took the classes that would challenge me academically, and well it just kind of happened,” explained Stack. This year alone, Stack took many difficult classes, including AP Statistics, Math 252, AP Literature, AP Psychology, Political Science, and AP Physics C, while still managing to get the highest ranking GPA at UCH High. If that doesn’t scream determination, what does? “We’re really fortunate to have such a broad set of classes offered at UC High. This school has offered me lots of opportunities to explore in the classroom, but also with extracurriculars like athletics. I honestly enjoyed my time at UC High, and I feel it prepared me to move on to college, as well as exposed me to a diverse group of people from different backgrounds and viewpoints than myself,” Stack continued.

  “I think just focusing on my work ethic and never letting myself slack off is how I got to this point,” she explained. Stack explained that balance also played a key role in getting to this point. She has to maintain her school life, social life, and family life all in the same breath. School always came first for Stack. “She has really good study habits and worked super hard to get to the point she is at right now. She also knows not to push herself too hard, in order to maintain balance and stability,” said Stack’s best friend, Senior Victoria Rednoske. “I always tried to balance my academics and my social and I think I’ve been doing it really well,” added Stack.

   Stack is attending the University of California, Los Angeles [UCLA] this upcoming fall as part of the class of 2023, and it has always been a dream of hers to go there. “I am super stoked I got in!” exclaimed Stack with excitement in her voice.  “I was also accepted into UC Santa Barbara, University of Washington, Colorado University of Colorado Boulder, UC Davis, and UC Santa Cruz, as well as waitlisted at Brown and Rice. I chose UCLA because I feel like it was the place where I could thrive both academically and socially because of the number of opportunities and resources they offered,” said Stack. “My brother goes to UCLA and he loves it, so that helped sway my decision as I know what I will be getting into once I arrive on campus,” said Stack.

   Stack has a pretty good idea of what she has in mind for her career. “I’m majoring in Environmental Science and hopefully doubling or minoring in Public Affairs or Political Science. As for a career, I don’t know what I want to do exactly, but I know I want to try to tackle whatever issues are at hand, especially climate change. That might be as a lawyer, a professor, or a lab researcher. I’m not 100 percent sure yet,” explained Stack.

  Outside of academics, Stack is also an amazing field hockey player. “I’m an extremely competitive person when it comes to sports. I got my first field hockey stick the summer before freshman year, and I’ve played year-round since. A few things I love about field hockey are how fast paced the game is, how technical the skill set is, and just the thrill of hearing the ball hit the back of the goal,” said Stack.

   “Lauren Stack is a very strong and talented field hockey player. She is one of the most dedicated athletes I’ve coached. Ever since she was in eighth grade, she was very passionate about field hockey and would spend countless hours challenging herself to build her individual skills. Her dad even built her a field hockey goal to practice in her backyard! Lauren is a perfect example of a student-athlete. She balanced her time so she could excel in the classroom and still be at every single field hockey practice and game without an excuse. She is a natural leader on the field with her deep knowledge and skill of the sport,” said Varsity Field Hockey Coach Amber Zimmermann.

  Stack even titled Eastern League First Team three years in a row, CIF Academic Field Hockey Team in 2018,  CIF Section Scholar Athlete in 2018, Most Valuable Player in 2018,  and Union Tribune Scholar Athlete two years in a row! She was also the top scorer for UC High with a total of 31 goals and 36 assists during her varsity career.

   Stack even uses her field hockey skills in the classroom. “Devoting a lot of time to field hockey taught me to manage my time efficiently in order to succeed at a high level in the classroom and on the field. It forced me to prioritize and develop good study habits as I managed practices, tournaments, games, and more throughout the entire year,” said Stack. “I strongly considered playing in college, especially when strong college programs were recruiting me, but I decided not to continue at the varsity level in college so I can focus on my academics and social life,” added Stack. “I look forward to seeing what the future holds for Lauren. I know she will achieve great things,” concluded Zimmermann.

   When Stack is not focusing on school and sports she’s just like any of us. “Well, I really enjoy being active — from playing field hockey, to going to the gym, to hiking, to going for a run. I just really love doing things with my time and with others. I hang out with my friends a lot, and that’s always a good time whether we’re finding cool food places, going to different sports games, or just watching some TV together. I consider myself a pretty social person, especially once you get to know me — I’ll probably be cracking a sarcastic joke 95 percent of the time. Try not to take me too seriously. I really enjoy traveling, and I’ve gone to Europe a number of times and it’s amazing there, but staying local and taking day trips is always a highlight as well,” mentioned Stack.

    Some advice Stack gives to others: “One cheesy saying that I credit my success with is ‘when you do something, do it to the best of your ability.’ When you devote your time and work toward something, you’ll get results and rewards for your time. That can be in sports or in school. On the surface level, I never let myself fall behind in classes, which made the whole process much less stressful for me in the long run. If anything, it let me relax and not worry about my grades come the end of the semester. Overall, you have to keep a balance between school and your social life to keep yourself happy. When you’re happy, you do better and feel better. That’s what I’m aiming to continue doing myself in college,” said Stack.

“It’s really nice to have the recognition that my hard work paid off,” said Stack. This much deserved academic accolade will surely be one of many for this talented and committed individual. You never know, the next time you see her, she might be on the news for helping fight climate change!

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