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Lee and Gee earn top spots among Class of 2014

By Daniel Waldman

Kaitlyn Gee and Ryan Lee try on their caps before graduation. Photo by Kelly Gregor
Kaitlyn Gee and Ryan Lee try on their caps before graduation.
Photo by Kelly Gregor

After four years of rigorous academic effort, two hard-working students have found themselves valedictorian and salutatorian of the class of 2014. Seniors Ryan Lee and Kaitlyn Gee, after going above and beyond academically, are in an envious position as the top academic performers of their class.

Lee, who will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall, only had good things to say about the high school he is preparing to leave. “It’s tough to describe the feeling,” he said shortly after learning he’d be valedictorian. “AHS was a great place to go to school.”

Lee, an outstanding student who balanced schoolwork with membership in multiple clubs and playing badminton in the fall, leaves behind success in school that most students would only dream of.

Gee, on the other hand, thought it was too good to be true when she learned she was salutatorian. “Are we sure that this is an actual thing? Maybe there’s another Kaitlyn Gee out there for whom I got mistaken,” she said.

Gee, who described herself as a “literature fanatic” and who sews clothing in her free time, is going to Stanford University in the fall.

“Take as many APs as possible,” Lee said, in a piece of advice to underclassmen, “even if it seems like it’s too tough to handle.” In his four years at Alameda, Lee exemplified this attitude, “loading up” on AP classes.

Gee, on the other hand, took a different tack, imploring students to have fun in school.  “I would tell them to be passionate about learning. Classes are supposed to be a struggle, but that’s not the point. The point is to understand why each and every class is important and worthwhile. After that, homework starts to sound like fun.”

“Also, try and get enough sleep,” she added.

Gee retained her optimistic attitude when talking about her favorite teachers, saying she had so many good ones she couldn’t pick. “At AHS, we truly do not have bad teachers,” she said.

Lee, however, had a few clear favorite classes at AHS. In fact, his favorite class at AHS was the one regarded by many as the hardest course the school has to offer. “I loved Computer Science. It was challenging, but still fun.”

Lee, who also enjoyed taking AP US History, said that the teachers of those classes, Yong Joo and Tony Manno, were his favorites at Alameda High.

Gee, who loved all of her teachers, had the same attitude when it came to classes. “I’d say that APES (AP Environmental Science) was the most influential in terms of my future, but I thoroughly enjoyed French, English, biology, physics, calculus, history… basically all of my other classes as well,” Gee said. “This is a horrible thing to ask a nerd like me.”

Both Lee and Gee will be giving speeches at graduation on Friday, June 13, just days after taking their final classes at Alameda High.

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The Oak Leaf, a product of the journalism class, is a vehicle of student expression and a public forum for the Alameda High School community.