Valedictorians speak out

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    By Whitney Ransom

    Webster”s Dictionary defines valedictorian as the student who has the highest rank in a graduating class, but for BYU graduates, being a valedictorian did not come by sheer intelligence alone.

    “”Einstein said genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration”. I know there are geniuses in this world. I don”t think I am one of them, but I do have a good understanding of mastering new technology,” said Lichen Dai, 24, a senior from the Republic of China, majoring in computer science.

    Brittany Macdonald, College of Nursing valedictorian spends 5-6 hours per day doing homework and said good grades come from hard work, ability to manage time and to motivate oneself to do well.

    Good grades come from a combination of intelligence and hard work, said Amanda Williford, valedictorian of the College of Agriculture and Biology.

    “There are different areas I am very good at. Writing has always been easy. Most of the other stuff I had to work for,” Williford said. “I can”t say that I”m not brilliant because intelligence is x-linked and my mother will read this and be offended.”

    After Williford graduates, she plans to work on a project at a local hospital in Provo, Utah County, assessing post operative pain management.

    Williford also received an Office of Research and Creative Activities (ORCA) research grant, which she will be using to travel to France this summer.

    Dai has an accumulative grade point average of 4.0 and said she can attribute some of her success to personal goals. She said she always strives to do her best and does whatever is within reasonable bounds to reach her goals.

    “To be honest, I don”t feel any more superior to others or that I have anything to be super proud of,” Dai said. “I don”t want people to have this impression that when they look at me they look at me with a different eye. I just want to be a normal person, not a computer geek.”

    After Dai receives her master”s degree she would like to work in an industrial environment, enhancing communication between China and the United States or perform research.

    Williford said she can attribute a portion of her success to her ability to write well.

    “When you are a nursing major, you do a lot of writing. That is the big joke with the nursing majors, you graduate with a nursing degree and also a masters in English,” Williford said

    Macdonald, 22, a senior from Orem, Utah County, 22, majoring in dietetics also attributes success to family members, professors and friends.

    “My family was a launch pad for success. My faith in God also helped me succeed because He helped me to prioritize things,” Williford said.

    Williford was not expecting her hard work to grant her the honor of valedictorian.

    “Actually, I was surprised. I didn”t know that I was the valedictorian until I got the letter in the mail. It wasn”t something that I intended,” Williford said.

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