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It’s not so lonely at the top: BHS has five 2014 co-valedictorians

Madeline Corbin, one of the five 2014 class valedictorians, laughs at a speaker’s remarks during Saturday’s ceremony.   - Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review
Madeline Corbin, one of the five 2014 class valedictorians, laughs at a speaker’s remarks during Saturday’s ceremony.
— image credit: Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review

Five Bainbridge High School seniors have been named co-valedictorians of the class of 2014.

Celia Chaussabel, Madeline Corbin, Alex Derry, Nancy Karreman and Emily Mather are the standout scholars of the year, the brightest of the bunch from a class of more than 300 students.

The Review recently sat down with these super smart Spartans to get to know the minds behind the GPAs. Some had long hoped to be valedictorians, others only learned of their distinction the day before graduation, but nearly all of them agreed that AP Physics was the hardest class they ever took.

Madeline Corbin

Age: 18

Parent/guardian: Mary and Bill Corbin

Sports: Cross country, softball and ultimate frisbee

Activities, organizations and work: Editor of the Spartan Standard, employee at the New Rose Cafe

Plans for the future: To attend Seattle University and hopefully study abroad.

How long have you wanted to be valedictorian?

“I guess after freshman year I ended up having a 4.0 and I was like, ‘Hey, maybe I could be a valedictorian?’ But I didn’t want to focus on that. Every semester it kind of ended up working out that I’d have mostly A’s and then maybe one class with an A minus, and I’d freak out like two weeks before the final to bring it up. But I tried not to focus on it at all during the year. I just wanted it to be more about the learning and then if I got a 4.0, that’d be great, too.”

Were you ever afraid you’d get a bad grade and it wouldn’t happen?

“Honestly I wasn’t really looking to be a valedictorian until this year. But each semester, like I said, there’d be one class that I had an A minus in. Every semester I had to work really hard for that [4.0] GPA.”

What was your most difficult subject?

“Definitely AP Physics. I honestly should not have taken that class [laughs]. I actually just found out [June 12] that I have a 4.0.”

Favorite subject?

“English.”

Favorite teacher?

“I guess the teachers I feel like I got closest to [are] Mr. Layton and Ms. Polinsky. There’s a lot of them, but those are two who really helped me out a lot this year and last year, guiding me, and I learned a lot in their classes.”

Favorite quote or saying?

“I’m killing time while I wait for life to shower me with meaning and happiness.” - Calvin and Hobbes.

What was your favorite movie when you were a kid, and now?

“I remember for a while my favorite movie was ‘Pirates of the Caribbean,’ the first one. My favorite movie now is ‘Tootsie.’ I love that movie.”

Nancy Karreman

Age: 17

Parent/guardian: Frank and Jennifer Karreman

Sports: Basketball and ultimate frisbee

Activities, organizations and work: Ometepe exchange and National Honor Society

Plans for the future: Pomona College, studying neuroscience [and] maybe going to med school for grad school.

How long have you wanted to be valedictorian?

“Not [long] at all. It just kind of happened, it was really weird.”

Were you ever afraid that you’d get a bad grade and it wouldn’t happen?

“Yes! [In] AP Physics this year. I was waiting on my final, and I had 3 percent to spare and it was 10 percent of my grade, and I got it, narrowly. Very narrowly.”

What was your most difficult subject?

“I’d have to say AP Physics this year with Mr. Chee.”

Favorite subject?

“I’d have to say Honors Pre-Calculus with Mr. McLean. That was junior year.”

Favorite teacher?

“Mr. McLean or Mr. Lovelace.”

What will be your favorite memory of BHS?

“Senior year in general has been spectacular. It felt so different than all the other years combined and I’ve had a great time in all my classes and my social life. It all worked out.”

What was your favorite movie when you were a kid, and now?

“My favorite movie was probably ‘Lord of the Rings,’ any of them [but] probably the last one. And now my favorite movie is ‘The Breakfast Club.’ I was watching it this morning.”

Celia Chaussabel

Age: 17

Parent/guardian: Quynh-anh Nguyen and Damien Chaussabel

Sports: Water polo and swimming

Activities, organizations and work: Lifeguard, West Sound Wildlife Shelter

Plans for the future: California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo to study architecture.

How long have you wanted to be valedictorian?

“A semester, maybe. I figured I had come this far already and I was just going to go all the way. It wasn’t like my goal from the start.”

Were you ever afraid you’d get a bad grade and it wouldn’t happen?

“Yup. AP Physics [in] second semester. That was it. No other time was I ever worried.”

What was your most difficult subject?

“AP Physics all the way, [I] barely made it.”

Favorite subject?

“Probably AP Calculus. I love math. I loved that class and I love Mr. Lovelace.”

Favorite teacher?

“Mr. Lovelace.”

What will be your favorite memory of BHS?

“Probably just the closeness that we all felt towards the end. It’s not like one single memory but just being able to walk into the library — I did this yesterday — and go up to any senior and start talking to them about their plans and being friendly with everyone even if you never hung out with them before or anything like that.”

What was your favorite movie when you were a kid, and now?

“My favorite movie now is ‘Donnie Darko,’ and [back] then maybe ‘Star Wars.’”

Emily Mather

Age: 18

Parent/guardian: Randy and Karla Mather

Sports: Cross country and ultimate frisbee

Activities, organizations and work: Bethany Lutheran Church Youth Group and math club

Plans for the future: Study biomedical engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

How long have you wanted to be valedictorian?

“I think in seventh grade my older sister told me what a valedictorian was and I was like, ‘Oh, I want to do that.’ At the time I definitely didn’t think it was possible.”

Were you ever afraid you’d get a bad grade and it wouldn’t happen?

“Yes. Probably the worst, or scariest for me, was AP Spanish last year. I had an A minus for a lot of the semester up until the end and I almost didn’t get it.”

Most difficult subject?

“Probably BC Calculus.”

Favorite subject?

“Probably also BC Calculus [laughs]. Also, I took both French and Spanish and I loved both of those.”

Favorite teacher?

“Probably Mr. McLean. He really made math fun. I felt like I could go and ask him questions about anything.”

What will be your favorite memory of BHS?

“I was on the cross country team the last three years and I really loved it. It’s a really great group of people.”

What was your favorite movie when you were a kid, and now?

“‘Annie’ has kind of always been my favorite movie. I remember watching it a lot when I was a kid. That was my favorite and still is my favorite.”

Alex Derry

Age: 17

Parent/guardian: Mary Derry

Sports: Crew

Activities, organizations and work: Rowing, rec soccer and student conservation corps

Plans for the future: Attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and row.

How long have you wanted to be valedictorian?

“It wasn’t a goal going into high school necessarily to be a valedictorian, I wanted to do as well as I could and knew I was capable of getting a 4.0. It sort of just ended up happening.”

Were you ever afraid that you’d get a bad grade and it wouldn’t happen?

“There have been a couple of times when I’ve really been on the edge.”

What was your most difficult subject?

“Calculus last year or AP Physics.”

Favorite subject?

“Math has always been my favorite subject, so really any math class. Probably Calculus last year.”

Who was your favorite teacher?

“All of my math teachers have been the best teachers, but I think all of the teachers I’ve had have been good.”

You’re the only male valedictorian this year. Are girls smarter than boys?

“I don’t think so. I’ve known a lot of boys who definitely I would have pegged as valedictorians.”

What was your favorite movie when you were a kid, and now?

“No idea [for] either, really. I’ve never really had a favorite movie.”

Favorite quote or saying?

“The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.”

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