In the week leading up to Arlington ISD graduations June 3 and 4 at AT&T Stadium, we are celebrating the Class of 2021 valedictorian and salutatorian for all seven Arlington ISD high schools.
Name: Rachel Pool, Valedictorian
School: Arlington High School
College attending: Brigham Young University
Intended major: Communication disorders
Attended Arlington ISD schools since: Kindergarten
What advice would you give students entering high school?
The most important aspect of success in high school is endurance in whatever you do. Sure, anyone can run 200 meters pretty fast, but try that same speed for three miles. Most people can’t. The same thinking applies to grades, sports, fine arts or whatever you involve yourself in. If you want to do well, pace yourself and stay driven to reach success. Also, keep your priorities straight. You’re beginning to build your future, so stay focused on what’s important.
What was the most difficult lesson you’ve learned while in school?
The most difficult lesson I’ve learned in high school was how to balance my life. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, I was forced to step back and slow down after three years of grinding through high school. I realized the importance of mental and physical health and made those a bigger priority in my senior year. When I found the balance between grades, health and family and friends, I discovered that I was a happier person. However, getting to the point where I understood that balance took a lot of trial and error over the course of high school.
What’s the most meaningful moment you will take from this school year?
The most meaningful moment I’ll take from this school year is any moment I got to spend with my friends. After losing that for months because of the pandemic, I was grateful for every opportunity throughout my last year with them to laugh and have fun together. Just being able to be with them meant the world to me.
What makes you the proudest about experiencing your senior year in COVID-19?
I’m most proud of myself for staying motivated during my senior year in COVID-19. With online school, it was challenging to stay driven to keep performing well in school, but I was able to overcome the desire to give up and continued to work hard just as I had the previous three years of high school. I didn’t let COVID-19 change my drive for success, and I’m proud of myself for that.
What do you see yourself doing 10 years from now?
Ten years from now I see myself living a healthy, balanced life. I hope to go into a meaningful career, but ultimately, I will be finding happiness and fulfillment in my family. I want to experience everything the world has to offer, so after graduating college, I hope to travel the world and continue to learn about everything I can.