ISSUE 3: Q&A: Meet The Valedictorians and Salutatorians of the Class of 2023

Get to know more about the top two students of IB and Traditional.


Photo Courtesy of Cady Studios

(From left to right) Rahul Rajinthkumar, Praveen Prabaharan, Isabella Cuevas and Russell Vifquain in their senior yearbook portraits.

Vikram Sambasivan, News & Features Editor

The Valedictorians and Salutatorians of the class of 2023 were revealed on Monday, Feb. 20. The Knight Writers Staff created a list of questions to gain a deeper insight into their journey toward academic achievement.

Q: What drove you to strive to achieve academic excellence?

Rahul Rajinthkumar, IB Valedictorian: “I’d say I knew what my goals were for the future, and knew it was important I started out well, and things worked out in the end.”

Praveen Prabaharan, IB Salutatorian: “I’ve always tried my best in school since I was really young. I guess that mindset carried forward and got me to where I am today.”

Isabella Cuevas, Traditional Valedictorian: “Not wanting to fail honestly. I knew that failing would make me feel like I wasn’t reaching my fullest potential in my academics and I knew I was capable of it so I pushed myself to get my work done, try as hard as I could, and have good communication with my teachers.”

Russell Vifquain, Traditional Salutatorian: “I always just told myself ‘A’s and B’s and I put myself in heavier weighted classes, but my parents were behind most of it.”

Q: Was the path you took worth the sacrifices made along the way?

RR: “Yeah I think it was. I see this as just the first step. Obviously it’s great to end high school in such a way and I think it’s equally important I try to do the same in college, I’d say it be pretty worth it then.”

PP: “Yeah, I would say it was worth it. I didn’t really think of it as a sacrifice ’cause I’m a pretty curious person and already spend a lot of my free time learning new things anyway.”

IC: “I didn’t sacrifice much, if anything sleep.”

RV: “It was definitely worth it, for being part of the covid and construction class, I don’t see a lot that I could’ve done differently to get a better high school experience.”

Q: Looking back, would you have still taken the same path?

RR: “It’s hard to say, but I think it certainly would’ve been similar. I’d say it’s more important to work hard, and what comes as a result is secondary.”

PP: “Probably, I learned a lot of new things and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to take some extra classes and so I could explore my interests.”

IC: “Yeah I would, I did everything I needed to do and more so why not.”

RV: “If anything I wish I would’ve done more extracurriculars and put myself out there a little more, but I am thankful for how everything played out.”

Q: Would you say that you were able to pursue your extracurricular interests, if any, along with schoolwork and a social life?

RR: “I knew I had to find a balance with my extracurriculars and schoolwork. It was hard, and anyone would say that sleep was hard to come by towards junior and senior year, but I was able to find a balance that worked for me.”

PP: “Definitely. For the most part, I haven’t had a ton of trouble balancing school and extracurriculars. Sure, there are times when you’re under stress but if you plan everything well enough it should work out.”

IC: “Yeah, I still did a lot after school. I was still able to work, help with lacrosse and go out with friends to the beach, dinners and such. I had a very active social life with my good friends.”

RV: “I was more than able to do extracurriculars and have a fulfilling social life. I was a dual sport athlete and outside of that I’ve made some great friends along the way.”

Q: What is your message for any underclassman looking up to you?

RR: “I’d say it’s important to start well. Laying the foundation will inevitably bring more opportunities to pursue bigger things. It’s also equally important to maintain your well-being as much as your academics, and try your best to find a balance.”

PP: “Do whatever makes you happy and have some fun along the way. Don’t worry about things not going as planned cause everything always works out in the end.”

IC: “You don’t need to be the best at every subject, and you don’t have to stress yourself so much over a class that will always be hard to understand. Just try hard, do the extra credit and communicate with your teachers about your time.”

RV: “Just have fun and do you. Don’t put too much pressure and stress on yourself, high school is too short for all that.”

Q: What are your plans for the future?

RR: “It’s hard to say. While I haven’t decided on a specialty, I hope I’d have started my medical residency and just have a good group of friends and family, because that is what will matter more to anyone in the end as much as any job.”

PP: “I’ll probably have graduated from college with a degree in engineering and hopefully have secured a nice job. Most importantly, I want to be happy and healthy with some good memories to look back on.”

IC: “I plan to go to college after this year, hopefully a good university in Florida, then go into law school either in Florida or out of the state, not too sure yet.”

RV: “Go to college somewhere in Florida, and get my Masters in Data Science and Business.”