An Interview with the Valedictorian and Salutatorian
March 2, 2018
Q: How does it feel to be named the Valedictorian/Salutatorian?
Hayden Duncan (Valedictorian): “Gratified, because all of my hard work has finally paid off.”
Ryan Williams (Salutatorian): ”Great! This is the first semester I won’t have to be concerned about grades. That’s the best part, really. But of course I am honored to receive the title for the Senior class, to see four years of hard work pay off.”
Q: In what ways has Wade Hampton prepared you for life after high school?
Duncan: “Wade Hampton has given me the experience to be able to understand true leadership, as well as equipped me with the skills to effectively cooperate and communicate with others.”
Williams: “I don’t know if I’m actually prepared…probably not really. But Wade Hampton has done a lot. The classes are good, but I think the real benefit has been from the connections I’ve made with amazing friends and great teachers. Those relationships are really what have helped me grow as a person these past four years.”
Q: What are your plans after graduation? What are you going to study in college?
Duncan: ”I look forward to studying architecture and pursuing a degree path which enables me to obtain my license to practice architecture.”
Williams: “Well, I’ll start college at Duke University in August, after a few weeks of backpacking in NC with some of the class of ‘22. I’ve got two years to decide a major, which I’ll use all of. I’d like to say I know what I’m doing with my life, but I honestly have no idea. My plan is to try and double major in German and a science of some kind, and then look at medical school.”
Q: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Duncan: “An architect.”
Williams: “Actor. Doctor. Astronaut. Lawyer. Director. Writer. Rich. Rich criminal. Researcher. Traveler. Photographer. I’d still take any of these; I haven’t actually grown up yet.”
Q: Who has been the most influential person in your time at Wade Hampton?
Duncan: “Half of my day for the past four years has been spent at the Fine Arts Center, but one of my most influential teachers was Mr. Blackmon due to his desire to help students learn, and even keeping up with me throughout high school.”
Williams: “There’s many teachers who have made a big impact on my time here, but if I had to choose one I’d pick Coach Hunter. Besides the fact that he’s more sarcastic than I am (a level to which I aspire to achieve), he’s played an integral role in my academics, both in class and in extracurriculars.”
Q: What was your favorite class? Did you ever end a class with a B?
Duncan: “I’d say one of my favorite classes was psychology. I never finished any class with less than a 97.”
Williams: “Film Criticism freshman year. It was our teacher’s first year and last year teaching that class. Regardless, it was a super fun class. My lowest grade is a 96, so no. But I will on purpose for money…or a pair of Gucci Aces.”
Q: When you were a freshman, did you see yourself as the Valedictorian/Salutatorian?
Duncan: “I’ve always been at the top of my class, and so after my freshman IGP when I figured out I was number one, it became my goal.”
Williams: “Hayden and I have been ranked 1 and 2 respectively ever since the end of 1st semester freshman year. I felt pretty strongly that I would be, but I never knew for sure, especially after Maria beat out the salutatorian in the graduating class last year.”
Q: Is there anything that you would change about the past four years if you could?
Duncan: “I can’t think of anything.”
Williams: “Real food in the cafeteria, please.”
Q: Do you have some advice for the upcoming senior class?
Duncan: “Get as much of the application process out of the way as early as you can. Whether it’s a specific essay or a certain test score, finishing those things early can eliminate a lot of stress, and makes for a much more enjoyable senior year.”
Williams: “Don’t wait on college applications. Get them out of the way when you can and just enjoy your senior year. Also, get out at 12. I’ve been stuck staying to 1:30 this whole year and it’s my biggest regret.”