By KAITLYN NAPLES
Bristol Eastern High School’s top two students are happy to see all of their hard work has finally paid off, especially when they received their acceptance letters to college.
Mitchell Lipka, this year’s valedictorian, will be attending Harvard University this fall to study Math. Bethany Cucka, the salutatorian, will be attending Brown University to study Chemistry and Biology.
When the two found out they had been named the top two students, they both said they knew they were ranked at the higher end of their class. But Lipka added “it’s still always nice being recognized for your hard work.”
After four years of high school, both students could reflect on many memories and accomplishments that have brought them to where they are today.
“Figuring myself out and setting goals was definitely something I am most proud of,” Cucka said. She said starting out as a freshman, and seeing herself as she is now, brought a perspective of how she has changed and said she credits that to always setting goals. Whether it was in volleyball or academics, Cucka said she knew where she wanted to be, and that she wanted to carry the sciences with her into her future. She was also part of the volleyball team, which recently won this year’s state championship.
“I am definitely proud of who I have become,” she added.
For Lipka, he never played a sport until he got to high school but he is happy he started. Lipka was on the swimming team, cross country, and the track team. He said he enjoyed being an athlete.
Both students attribute their successes to how hard they have worked throughout their academic lives.
“Success is how hard you work,” Lipka said. “I always wanted to learn new things, and I always make sure I am interested in actually learning about a subject,” and containing that information.
Cucka went through high school with the same idea, in that she said she loves learning.
“My goal has always been to get good grades, go to college, and get a job,” she said, adding that having that in her mind helped her get to where she is today. “Those were my motivating factors to work hard.”
Some of their favorite memories happened around their athletics. Winning the state championship this year with her volleyball team was one of Cucka’s favorite memories of high school, she said.
“When can I ever say that I won a state championship,” she said, adding that she enjoyed the time she has spent with her teammates, as they became family.
Lipka said he had so many favorite memories in high school he couldn’t pick just one. Between being a member of band, and also an athlete he has had many memorable moments. He said he is sad to be leaving, but looking forward to what the future brings.
The duo will leave Bristol Eastern with advice and words of wisdom to their fellow classmates, and the incoming freshman.
“Take responsibility for your own education,” Cucka said she would tell incoming freshman. “There are so many people here to help you, but you have to be committed to succeeding.”
Lipka said he would tell freshman to always “try hard, and remember that high school is very different from middle school. These grades matter now.”
To his fellow seniors, he said it was difficult to give advice since he is in the same position as them, but he will be moving forward by remembering that he is going to be on his own in college.
“Teach yourself things,” he said.
Cucka added she would tell her classmates to remember there are many open doors in life, and to keep the ones that matter, open.
“Find something you’re passionate about and follow through with it,” she said. “Don’t pick the easy path just because it’s easy.”
Bristol Eastern’s graduation will be held on Tuesday, June 25 at 6 p.m. outside on the football field.
By KAITLYN NAPLES