2022 Valedictorian and Salutatorians


Abigail Tito

This year’s Valedictorian is Dana Shi! As for salutatorians, this year we get a bonus! We have not one but TWO salutatorians, Mitchell Weckman, and Anusha Patel.  As a peer of theirs and on behalf of all Lakota West I wanted to say congratulations to all three of them.  These top students are representative of hard work and show a dedication to learning.

Dana is going to be attending Purdue University and is going to be majoring in engineering.  Throughout high school, she kept up with her homework and made an effort to retain all the information.  This retention comes to Dana through her want and curiosity about the subjects she is studying.  However, as much as she loves to learn though she used to feel like there was a looming pressure from her peers to perform well because she was “the smart kid.”  She said that she had to “learn to ignore this feeling of doing well in school because others want her to and instead do well because I wanted to.” Her advice to students working to become valedictorians in years to come is to not make it your entire life and don’t obsess over their GPA.  Yes, being valedictorian is a major accomplishment, but it doesn’t define who you are.

Mitchell is also going to be attending Purdue University for engineering.  He is self-driven with a strong work ethic  — especially when it comes to his school work.  He is not one to procrastinate on his homework and attributes much of his academic success to staying on top of his rigorous schoolwork.  As a varsity lacrosse player, Mitchell was able to balance his academics and athletic commitments.  In one word, he described his journey to becoming a salutatorian as an “effort.”  And what a great ending to the effort he put into his high school career indeed!

Anusha will be continuing her education at the University of Cincinnati to study computer science.  She pushed herself to get good grades just for herself and wasn’t even thinking about being our salutatorian.  When she was announced as a co-salutatorian, she thought it was a mistake!  All that effort to simply get good grades ended in a major victory for Anusha and now she is tied for second for her incredible GPA.  Although she didn’t feel stressed about wanting to be a salutatorian, that didn’t exempt her from the stress of school and wanting to do her best in her classes.  She claims that at the beginning of high school, the desire to get good grades cost her mental and physical health.  Many of us can attest to the neglect of our sleep schedule in order to get that grade we want.  Her advice is to not force yourself into thinking you can only get an A+ and to just do the best you can.

Dana, Mitchell, and Anusha have worked really hard throughout all of the high school and that hard work certainly has paid off.  Congratulations to our valedictorian and co-salutatorians!