Meet Mindy Do and Marco Svolinsky: Our Class of 2020 Salutatorian and Valedictorian


Lauren Stallworth, Editor

Today at Cypress Creek, it was announced who our class of 2020 Salutatorian and Valedictorian are: congratulations Mindy Do (Salutatorian) and Marco Svolinsky (Valedictorian)! Marco has a 4.55 GPA and Mindy a 4.54. These two outstanding students have worked tirelessly in their academics to receive this honor, and we as a Coyote Nation are very proud. I was able to have the privilege of being there when they found out about their class ranking and sit down afterward with them in order to get to know Mindy and Marco better, as both students and individuals. Each is highly driven and has big goals and dreams, but one abundant quality they both have is humbleness, and are both incredible people. Here are some highlights of the highlights from our conversation:

Mindy Do, Salutatorian:

Upon entering the classroom to inform our Salutatorian and Valedictorian of their ranking, Mindy was announced first. She was completely shocked but excited, and her smile said it all. I personally have gotten to know Mindy, and she is such a kind person, ready to help anyone she can. Although shy at times, she has an amazing dream for her career; she will be studying Health Sciences at the University of South Florida and hopes to become an occupational therapist.

Q: What was your reaction when you found out that you were the Class of 2020 Salutatorian?

A: “Excited. I had heard rumors but I still wasn’t exactly sure, and this quarter has been kinda tough. So I was definitely excited”

Q: Have you encountered any obstacles or struggles in your high school career?

A: “AP Chemistry and AP Statistics were both hard. Really senior year,” she said with a laugh. “Senioritis was a problem and just being busy overall. Academically there are always little struggles here and there, but you just have to learn to work through them”

Q: Do you have any advice for students who want to be academically successful, and possible aim for Salutatorian or Valedictorian?”

A: “You have to have a goal and know what you want. For me it wasn’t really the class rank, it was more of getting into good colleges, because for me personally, I wanted to do good and be successful.”

Q: Have you participated in any clubs or extracurriculars in high school?

A: “Yeah, so I’ve always done community service clubs. So freshman year I did Key Club, and then now I do interact. I also am in several honor societies. And then this year just for fun I did Tennis.”

Q: What has been your favorite class in high school?

A: “I liked orchestra a lot in freshman year, it was my hobby so it was the only non-academic thing I did which was kinda nice”

Q: Is there anyone in your life that helped you along the way?

A: “My parents definitely, all of my family, my friends, they’ve all been great.”

Q: Do you have any academic techniques or strategies?

A: “Quizlet! Quizlet has been everything. I might even put it in my graduation speech,” she said with laughter.
Final Remarks: “From the beginning, I never really thought it was possible, it seemed crazy. But this year once I found out it was possible, I decided I really wanted to do it. And now, here I am! Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Where there’s a Quizlet, there’s an A.”

Marco Slovinsky, Valedictorian:

Marco has a lot of ambition and has worked incredibly hard in high school. He is regarded by his peers as an all-around great person, athlete, and student. He wants to become an aerospace engineer and hopes to attend either UCF or Rochester Institute of Technology. Marco gave some awesome advice that we all can learn from…

Q: What did it feel like to get Valedictorian?

A: “A little bit of a surprise along with excitement. As Mindy said, you hear things here and there but it’s not real until it actually happens to you. You can’t even begin to prepare for that, it’s awesome”

Q: Have you had any struggles that you’ve had to overcome, personal or academic?

A: “This year has actually been the toughest. I’ve had an injury from sports this year, and the rigor of my classes has been significantly higher than in previous years. Maintaining my GPA throughout the years has definitely been tough, but this year was a bit of a roller coaster.”

Q: Do you have any suggestions for overcoming struggles, especially during your senior year?

A: “I would say surrounding yourself with the right crowd, and having those people to back you up when you can’t do everything yourself. Having someone to fall back on and support you when you need it the most is everything.”

Q: Do you have any advice for students who want to be academically successful or shoot for Valedictorian or Salutatorian?

A: “Really use your class time and your time in school valuably. Your teachers are your biggest mentors and they know the material, so If you want to do well in anything academically, use the people who can mentor and teach you to the fullest extent.”

Q: Have you been involved in any clubs or extracurriculars?

A: “I’ve done soccer all four years, and am in different honor societies; so normal, and English. I have also been in the engineering club for the last two years, as well as my Sophomore year I did Future Business Leaders of America.”
Q: What has been your favorite class?

A: My two years in the engineering program can’t compare to anything else in school. I’m aiming to go into aerospace engineering in college, so having the academy here was a great resource and I really enjoyed it a lot.”

Q: Has there been anyone in your life that has helped you over the years?

A: “My parents have helped push me a lot, really throughout my whole life. Also just having friends and family, those two entities together have been the base to work off of for everything I do.”

Q: Do you have any specific academic techniques or strategies?

A: “It is kind of cliché, but take good notes: it works. Taking good notes is so important, I’ve almost found that taking good notes helped me more than studying, because taking the notes helps you understand it. And then being able to talk to friends about it and help each other understand the material also takes it that much further.”

Q: Has getting Valedictorian been a goal of yours, or did it just happen?

A: “My goal in all of my schooling has always been just to keep my grades high, so in high school, I guess they just put a label on it. I didn’t really know about it at first, so I guess this year it just became a reality. Throughout the year I just kept trying to push myself higher and keep going along.”

Both of these students have put in years of hard work to receive this honor, and we are so excited about what their futures hold; this will definitely not be the last we see of Mindy and Marco. I encourage students to take their advice and learn from them, they’re an amazing example of student goals and exemplifying our values as a school. Congratulations again, your family at Cypress Creek wishes you two the best!