LEAD Public Schools is proud to announce our 2021 Valedictorians and Salutatorians: Juliana Shoun, Lead Southeast High School Valedictorian, Steven Dao, Lead Southeast High School Salutatorian, Miriam Michel, LEAD Academy Valedictorian, and Anna Caballero, LEAD Academy Salutatorian.
The students earned the top academic spots in their class after years of hard work and dedication to their schoolwork.
“After many years of looking into the future- at college, at adulthood, at graduation- it’s incredibly nice to just sit and be in the moment. It’s refreshing to realize that I am currently living what I had been looking toward,” said Juliana Shoun, Lead Southeast High Valedictorian.
Shoun is keeping her college decision a secret until Senior Signing Day on May 13th. However, she earned a full scholarship to the school of her choice and hopes travel, research, and missions will be a big part of her college experience.
Shoun feels ready to take on the challenges that come with college because of preparation she received at LEAD.
“I can confidently say that without my classmates I would not have survived AP Statistics. Our shared struggle to overcome the class taught me just how beneficial a community of peers can really be,” Shoun said, “I have to give a lot of credit to Mr. Burrows for making Statistics the most demanding yet rewarding class of my entire high school life.”
“Despite everything that is going on in the world, this year has presented me with blessing after blessing. Above all, I am overwhelmed by the fact that I was able to make my parents extra proud of me this year,” Michel said. “This was the last thank you from me to them for packing up their entire life and moving over 7,000 miles away from their friends and family to provide my brother and I with a better life and education.”
Michel encourages her lower classmen at LEAD to build connections with their teachers and ask for help when needed.
“I could go to my teachers before school, after lunch, and during their break and they would listen to me,” she said. “I’ve never met a group of adults that celebrate me more than my teachers at LEAD.”
Michel earned early acceptance to Vanderbilt University which includes a full scholarship. WATCH HERE. She will announce her final college decision on Senior Signing Day.
LEAD Academy Salutatorian Anna Cabballero has a lesson for current and future LEADers that she learned in AP chemistry – the most challenging class of her high school career.
“The important lesson I took from this is that it is okay not to have all the answers, and it’s more than okay not to understand,” said Cabballero, who plans to attend college to study law and business. “I learned that asking questions or asking for help was sometimes the best way to go about learning new things in general because you can’t be great at everything, but you can control the effort you put into it.”
Cabballero is thrilled to be at the top of her class and reminds her fellow lower classmen to not give up when life gets in the way of accomplishing your goals.
“I have worked so hard and for so long it really has paid off in the long run,” she said.
LEAD Southeast Salutatorian Steven Dao will be heading to Knoxville to attend the University of Tennessee in the fall. As the oldest son of first generation immigrants, he’s pursuing computer engineering with the hopes of securing his family’s future.
“I have taken on the role of improving my family’s standard of living and securing my parents finances as they retire,” said Dao.
Family, friends, and community members are invited to watch LEAD Academy and LEAD Southeast seniors announce their college and career plans on May 13 at 10 a.m. online. Graduation will take place on Saturday, May 15th at 10 am for LEAD Southeast High School and 2 pm for LEAD Academy High School with limited attendance. The events will be streamed live online.