Valedictorian Sonata Simonaitis-Boyd Strives for Success


courtesy of Sonata Simonaitis-Boyd

Senior Sonata Simonaitis-Boyd is one of two UC High Class of 2020 valedictorians.

Jenna Harper, Editor-in-Chief

   The title of valedictorian is not only awarded to the person with the highest cumulative GPA, but represents someone who strives for academic excellence. Someone who challenges him or herself, pushes him or herself to success, and demonstrates what it means to be focused and determined. One of two, the UC High Class of 2020 valedictorian is Senior Sonata Simonaitis-Boyd, and she is the embodiment of all of these qualities and more.

   “I think that becoming valedictorian was always one of my goals, but for a long while it was kind of pushed to the back of my mind,”  explained Simonaitis-Boyd. Despite it being her senior year, Simonaitis-Boyd never let up the pressure of her academics. This year alone she took on an intense course load with four AP classes, including AP Chemistry, AP Government and Politics, AP Psychology, and AP statistics, as well as English 101, Math 254, Math 252, and Astronomy 101. If that doesn’t speak to her determination, what does? Aside from this, she was also president of Spanish Conversation Club, and participated in Theatre Club, Improv Club, Robotics, Dungeons and Dragons Club, and GIVE Culture Club throughout her four years at UC High.

   Simonaitis-Boyd explains her work ethic and determination as just part of who she is. “I have a very strong drive. It makes me feel really good when I see that I have good grades, and that feeling motivates me to work hard to keep up my grades,” she stated. ”I don’t really see things as challenges, but rather as tasks; whatever I’m up against is just another thing that needs to be checked off of the checklist,” she continued. With a mentality like this, how could she not be valedictorian?

   In terms of her future, Simonaitis-Boyd will be attending UC San Diego in the fall, and majoring in Physics with a Specialization in Astrophysics. “I’m currently volunteering remotely in an astrophysics lab at UC San Diego where we’re studying the environments around a specific kind of supermassive black hole, and I intend to continue my work at the university,” she explained. And her plans don’t stop there, they only become more impressive. “After graduating from UC San Diego, I plan to go to graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Astrophysics. Then, I’d like to either work for NASA or do work as a researcher, maybe even establishing my own lab!” 

   Outside of her schoolwork, Simonaitis-Boyd ran track and is an avid fencer. “Since elementary school, I’ve been running track. I also ran during freshman year, but left track to pursue fencing more seriously, which I did through UC San Diego Recreation and the La Jolla Fencing Academy.” “I also plan to join the UC San Diego fencing team,“ she continued. Aside from being academically and athletically inclined, Simonaitis-Boyd has many hobbies she enjoys, which include reading, writing, listening to music, and knitting. Simonaitis-Boyd also dabbles in Historical Medieval Martial Arts, which is something not many eighteen-year-olds can say. “I learned to wield a longsword using techniques from the German school of fencing. I also practiced with the quarterstaff, spear, and sword and buckler. I had a lot of fun in that class but ended up dropping it to focus on fencing. I want to start back up again in the future if I can,” she explained.

   Some advice Simonaitis-Boyd has for others: “Get a head start on everything and prioritize! Don’t leave anything until the last minute. Take this from someone who procrastinates a lot: don’t! Procrastination just results in unnecessary and overwhelming amounts of stress. You don’t want to end up crying on the floor Sunday afternoon, catastrophizing about all of the assignments you have due that night or within the next few days.” Let’s be honest,  if there’s anyone’s advice to listen to in regards to school, it’s the valedictorian’s.

   It goes without saying that her drive, focus, perseverance, and intensity are all factors that played an important part in Simonaitis-Boyd’s academic success, but also her kind nature and extraordinary personality. “I feel really proud of myself! This is a big honor, and it’s great that I’m sharing the top spots with my good friends too!” concluded Simonaitis-Boyd. Congratulations to our UC High Class of 2020 valedictorian(s), you most certainly deserve it!