Valedictorian, a term that reaches a spike in searches according to Google Trends
every year in the months of May and June. For senior Kenny Do however, there’s no need to define a term he has already achieved. Do will receive this award and present his speech at the Orleans Arena on May 25 at 9 a.m.
However, Do wasn’t always at the top of his class when he first entered the education system. He gives credit to his aunt, who gave him a push in the fifth grade that encouraged him to try and become the number one student in the class for every grade.
“My aunt told me at the beginning of fifth grade that if I got straight A’s, she would give me 200 bucks,” Do said. “My fifth grade teacher also really encouraged me to pay attention and actually understand what I was learning, that’s how it all started I guess.”
It wasn’t just the money that made Do become an A+ student. According to Do, it’s all about hard work, dedication, and having the ambition to learn.
“My first impression of Kenny was over the summer back in junior year and he probably emailed me 10 to 15 times,” U.S History Teacher Heather Allen said. “He showed up on the
first day of school and said ‘I’m Kenny Do and I’m the one who’s been bugging you all summer’…he regularly would make sure he understood everything and never once did I question his integrity.”
Do is eagerly waiting for admission after applying to 12 universities including the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), University of Southern California (USC), University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) and Duke. Do was also accepted into Harvey Mudd College, which only has a 12.9 percent acceptance rate.
With one of his favorite classes being Biology, Do hopes to become a doctor that specializes in oncology- looking to get accepted into a good college and head to medical school right after. Do said the loss of people who have deeply impacted his life drives his desire to become an oncologist.
“I wanted to become an oncologist after my aunt, grandma, karate instructor, and family friend all died from cancer,” Do said. “I want to become a part of the solution and help treat the disease where someday I hope to eradicate it as well; becoming a doctor who was able to help the underrepresented population.”
Outside of the classroom, Do is a member of Spring Valley’s golf and tennis teams along. He also has been doing karate outside of school for the past 10 years; he is now a second degree black belt, which allows him to teach others.
“Kenny is a second degree black belt and he teaches karate to all ages and he loves it,” English Teacher Amy DeVaul said. “So you would look at this nice quiet kid and not realize that he could put a kung-fu grip on you and kill you!”
According to Allen, Do also works at a local hospital in his free time to gain more experience in the medical field.
“Working in the hospital fueled my desire to become a doctor because I constantly see patients and their family members feeling physical and emotional pain whenever they they’re in the hospital,” Do said. “I want to have a career where I know my work is truly appreciated and that I can alleviate people’s pain.”