Woodland Valedictorian and Salutatorian: Harvard and Yale

Harvard and Yale. Both names are known by nearly all, as two of the greatest schools in the world. Sitting at the top of the Ivy League, students across the world desire to get accepted to such prestigious institutions, though only 5-7% of those who apply are let in. This did not stop Woodland’s valedictorian of the class of 2018, Anaga Dinesh and Woodland’s salutatorian of the class of 2018, Kaylee Walsh from filling out an application. And good thing they did, as Dinesh was accepted to Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Walsh was accepted to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. It was not at all easy for them.

People often wonder how it is within their reach to get accepted to these schools. Besides hard work and nearly perfect grades, both students explained how their work ethic and other clubs/activities in and out of school immensely helped them on their journeys.

“I took a few online classes on computer science,” explained Dinesh. This helped her become interested and work harder. Two other clubs were very beneficial to her success in high school, which include the math team as well as robotics club.

“I was really persistent,” remarked Walsh, “I came in my freshman year taking all honors classes, and just kept going, trying to do more and more. I took more AP’s every year and just kept up the momentum of working hard, and always doing my best.”

For students like these, schools such as Harvard and Yale have always been in their dreams. Though making a reality, was their greatest goal. Thoughts of possible rejection swarmed the students minds, though they did not let this stop them from persevering. Though all of that stress and worry melted off of the two students’ shoulders in one instant. More specifically, one click of a mouse.

“I was actually expecting the portal to update like 2 hours before it did, so I  was like ‘oh great, they dragged out the suspense even more.’” reminisced Dinesh. “Though I was really happy when I opened it.”

“Yale was the last [email] I opened. When I opened it, a video popped up, saying congratulations,” Walsh explains as she tells about the moment she found out she was accepted. “I was so confused, and I was just in shock. I thought, ‘is this real?’ or ‘is this for the wrong person?’ But then I finally realized that I would be going to Yale.”

For Dinesh, two teachers stuck out when asked who played a big role in her high school journey. These faculty members included Mrs. Fryc as well as Ms. Pells. Mrs. Fryc has helped out constantly throughout her career in math team, as well as math in general. Ms. Pells has always been an amazing supporter of Anaga and all of her successes as well.

Walsh explained that consistently, her English teacher has been someone who acted as a huge figure in her learning career. “I had Mrs. Geary, Mr. Geary, Ms. Pells and Mrs. Manning. They have all been so great with me. Mr. Geary is my advisory and he has always been supportive of me as well.” Woodland Worldwide has also held a place in Walsh’s heart, with Mrs. Geary as well as Mrs. Oliviere becoming inspirational as well.

With this school year very rapidly approaching its end, both students are beyond excited for the future and all that it has in store. Dinesh is interested in exploring the many museums located directly on the Harvard Campus. Harvard has so many extravagant amenities such as it’s library which she is looking forward to exploring as well. This fall, Anaga will more than likely be majoring in computer science with a possible minor in economics. One of the best lessons that she has learned, is “opportunities are always there, you just have to go for them.”

Walsh is excited to branch out and try new things. Yale has tons of extra curricular activities that are unheard of at Woodland, so of course Walsh wants to see what they are all about. Kaylee will be majoring in English this fall. Although having to meet an entirely new group of kids seems certainly nerve wracking, Walsh explained, “I truly believe I am in with the right group of people.”

Achievements like these are not just handed to you. Securing a spot in a class of either of these two schools, is beyond difficult. Though with the same amount of hard work, perseverance and dedication as Walsh and Dinesh, anything is possible. We wish them both enormous success in their futures as Harvard Pilgrims and Yale Bulldogs and look forward to hearing their speeches at the Woodland Regional High School Graduation on June 22nd.