Sagnik Yarlagadda will be attending Vanderbilt University.
Are you going to college? If so, where are you going and what will your major be?
I will be attending Vanderbilt University and pursuing a pre-med track.
What about college are you most excited for?
I am excited to meet new people from across the country and the world, have new experiences, utilize the amazing opportunities, and of course, explore the city of Nashville.
When did you first realize you were going to be in the top two of your class? How did you react?
It wasn’t really my focus, but I first learned that I was in the top 10 senior year before the IB pinning ceremony SCHS holds for the IB Juniors. Later during the top 10 breakfast, I was announced as the Valedictorian, and it was nice to be rewarded with the honor.
What advice would you give students who want to follow in your footsteps and be their school’s next valedictorian or salutatorian?
At the end of the day, I think that it’s not about what title you received, but rather what you learned from the process and what you achieved along the way. So, I would tell aspiring valedictorians to just take the courses you’re interested in, even if they’re challenging, and make sure you learn from everything you do.
What’s something you wish you knew about high school ahead of time?
The sheer number of opportunities available if you search for them. Looking back, there are a lot of courses I’d still like to take, clubs I’d like to join, and people I’d like to get to know more.
What is your favorite high school memory?
Winning at HOSA International and numerous FBLA National Leadership Conferences while getting to meet so many other people from around the globe who shared my passions were unforgettable experiences.
How are you going to spend this summer?
Relaxing, reading, and getting ready for college!
What’s the best thing one of your teachers taught you while in high school?
I have had so many amazing teachers who have all taught me so much, so its difficult to choose just one thing. The most important thing you can ever do is to be kind; Always remember to appreciate the present moment; No plan ever survives first contact with reality; Never settle in life as you make choices; and many more.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your high school experience?
Many of the activities I had planned to do over the summer were canceled. I have also been e-learning this year, so I’ve missed spending my last year with my classmates, friends, and teachers at school. Some of our usual senior events such as Prom were impacted or canceled, but overall we managed to persevere and succeed this year despite the challenges.
What extracurricular activities were you involved in during high school?
President of Mu Alpha Theta Math Club and Honor Society
Founder and President of Reading Club
Co-President of Future Health Professionals (HOSA)
Historian of Speech and Debate
Vice President of Science Competitors Club
Served on Executive Board in 10th grade and as VP of Community Service for Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) in 11th grade
Part of Chamber Orchestra, United Relief, ASSIST, and Interact Service Clubs
Honor Societies: National Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Mu Alpha Theta Math Honor Society and Spanish Honor Society
Outside of School:
Research Internship in Integrated Mathematical Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center
Founded Nonprofit Organization Hopepedia
Organized prep classes and tutoring
First Degree Black Belt in Karate
High School Master Musician for Violin
240 Community Service Hours
What do you hope to do in life after college?
I hope to eventually attend medical school and serve my community as a doctor. I also want to make great strides in medicine through medical research.