Valedictorian Erin McGee Enjoys Acquiring New Knowledge



Erin Mcqee creating in ceramics class.

Giovanna Brunetto, Staff Writer

As the school year comes to an end, it’s time to recognize some remarkable Centurions — one person in particular being Senior Erin McGee. Her four long years of hard work, dedication, and perseverance paid off immensely, giving her the honor of being the Class of 2023’s valedictorian.

“I wouldn’t say that necessarily being valedictorian has been a goal of mine, but I was trying to have a high GPA through high school so that I could get into whichever college I wanted to go to,” said McGee. She managed to maintain a GPA of 4.0 and higher for all four years, which helped her gain a cumulative GPA of 4.84. In the fall, McGee plans on attending UC Berkeley. But getting into a great college and having a high GPA did not come easy to her; throughout her high school career, McGee needed to work tirelessly in a total of 11 AP classes, 1 Honors class, and 6 Community College courses.

“In my four years at UC, I have had a lot of amazing teachers who have each impacted me in their own way,” said McGee. Math and Computer Science Teacher Phillip Huszar thinks very highly of McGee. “I have had the pleasure of being McGee’s Academic League coach for the past few years. I have gotten a solid chance to see her work alongside her teammates.She is very supportive of her teammates and gets along great with all of them,” said Huszar.

Though McGee holds a high ranking here at UC High, she remains humble about it and actually sees room for improvement. She said, “I definitely look up to my sister a lot since we are quite similar, but she has her life together much more than I do. She is very motivated and smart and knows what she wants to do with her future, which is quite inspiring to me.”

McGee is very involved at UC High. She participates in trivia for the school’s Academic League team, and on weekends she does beach cleanups and microplastic data collection with UC High’s Surfrider Foundation Club. As for sports, McGee runs cross country in the fall, plays soccer in the winter, and does track in the spring. As for hobbies outside of school, McGee said, “I went a bit crazy during COVID and bought a somewhat large number of plants, so I am now a proud plant parent. When I have free time, I like to bake (and then eat said baked food) and play with my cats.”

McGee explained her mixed feelings towards being valedictorian. “I can’t say that I am necessarily looking forward to giving a speech in front of lots of people at graduation. I do think that it is pretty cool, but I am also hoping that I do not peak in high school and this is not the greatest accomplishment of my life,” she said. McGee’s continuing ambition toward bigger and better accomplishments shows her determination, and Huszar agreed. “McGee will take it upon herself to do the learning. All she needs is the opportunity and she takes it. She is an example of someone who truly enjoys acquiring new knowledge, no matter the struggle,” he said.

McGee is also able to turn negative situations into positive ones. She said, “For me, the hardest part of high school was definitely COVID-19, when we were all doing school on Zoom and I wasn’t able to see my friends or play sports. I dealt with it by loading up on hard classes so that I wouldn’t have enough time to be depressed, which is likely why I am valedictorian now.” Her productive mindset has most definitely paid off.

Even with so many tasks on her plate, McGee clearly has everything under control. “It certainly seems to me that Erin never misses a responsibility, whether it be a meeting, practice, homework, or otherwise. That is a great indicator that she is great at time management,” said Huszar. McGee’s time management is yet another skill that was crucial to her success.

McGee has an important piece of advice for all high school students. She said, “If someone wants to be valedictorian, then feel free to pursue that goal, but just remember that grades and GPA are definitely not the most important things in life. Being worried about having the highest GPA shouldn’t force you to take classes you don’t want to take or give you extreme anxiety about not having an A.”

McGee is a positive, hardworking, responsible, and determined young woman. While being valedictorian is an amazing achievement, for McGee, it’s only the start to the great things set out for her future. The role models in McGee’s own life have now shaped her to be a role model for all high school students, and she should be more than proud. McGee is walking proof and a definite reminder that hard work really does pay off.