Dua Bangash will attend the University of South Florida.
Where are you going to college and what will your major be?
I’ll be attending the University of South Florida and I don’t know what major as of now. I change my mind about my degree every two weeks but hopefully I’ll figure it out during the summer.
What about college are you most excited for?
I’m excited about the clubs and meeting new people that match my energy.
When did you first realize you were going to be in the top two of your class? How did you react?
I didn’t know for a fact until my senior year but I had an idea since junior year when I transferred to Strawberry Crest High School. Since I came from Plant City High School, everyone there was extremely competitive so I had a decently high GPA and when I transferred, I was already number three. I just continued what I always did which ended up bringing me to valedictorian status. I thought it was cool but I didn’t want put pressure on myself in case I didn’t succeed so I wouldn’t be disappointed because that has happened in the past.
What advice would you give students who want to follow in your footsteps and be their school’s next valedictorian or salutatorian?
I know this sounds bad but I didn’t really try. Being valedictorian was never a goal of mine I just took a bunch of classes to save money and time. But I would say to take advantage of dual enrollment classes and AP courses. Not only do they boost your GPA but they also help you save money and time. You could end up saving two years of college and getting your AA degree while in high school.
What’s something you wish you knew about high school ahead of time?
Not to stress too much. It’s ok if you don’t get straight A’s or if you’re not in the class you wanted, you can still end up where you want to. Focus less on grades and more on networking because those truly matter.
What is your favorite high school memory?
My favorite high school memories would be the ones in class where you talk to those students for only 50 minutes. Those are situational friends and they’re the best because when you’re with them you only have fun. You don’t stress about drama or homework. They make that class enjoyable and you look forward to being there every day.
How are you going to spend this summer?
Hopefully I end up going to Germany to relax for a bit and then when I come back, I have to decide what major and career path I want to go down.
What’s the best thing one of your teachers has taught you while in high school?
Truthfully there hasn’t been anything. There were teachers I had, that I loved and wanted to go to their class everyday, but it was more of a fun thing than them teaching me anything. But I do remember my fifth grade teacher always telling us to never work for someone else. She once said, if you’re going to work at Walmart at least be the manager. After becoming valedictorian that came back to me. I think that lesson has stayed with me the most out of everything.
How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your high school experience?
It affected my ability to make friends. Transferring to Strawberry Crest High School, I was already reluctant to make friends because I did not like that switch since everyone already had their friend groups. When Covid hit, in the beginning I really liked it because I hated going to school but then it made it worse since I didn’t see anyone. Senior year, I went to school so it was better but again due to Covid there wasn’t really any senior class activities that gave me the chance to get to know anyone.
What extracurricular activities were you involved in during high school?
I was more involved at Plant City High School but I also did FBLA at Strawberry Crest and continued Leo club. Outside of high school I volunteered weekly at the hispanic Service Council. Over there I tutored children and played activities with them. I also would randomly sign up for community service activities.
What do you hope to do in life after college?
After college I hope to get a job in whatever I majored in. I might also go to law school, I don’t know we’ll see. But most importantly, be happy in my career path and travel the world while helping people.