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Fallbrook High School 2014 Valedictorian understands the value of time


Last updated 6/5/2014 at Noon

Alyssa Johnson

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” -- Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings

Fallbrook High School’s 2014 Valedictorian, Alyssa Johnson, 18, used her time wisely and as a result, emerged at the top of her class, with a 4.45 grade point average.

“I’m very diligent; when I get my mind on something, I complete it,” Johnson explained.

Johnson’s evident success with time management allowed her to keep up with a schedule comprised completely of Advanced Placement (AP) and Honors classes and be a member of the California Scholarship Federation (CSF) throughout her high school years.

“At times, especially in my sophomore year, I felt like I was drowning in homework,” said Johnson. “Doing the homework, getting the grades, keeping up; the pressure to succeed is overwhelming at times.”

Johnson’s life’s experiences have also taught her the value of time. With her father in the Marine Corps, last year was especially challenging for the family’s only child.

“In 2013, my Mom battled breast cancer,” said Johnson. “However, now she has finished treatment and is doing well. It was just a very difficult thing to get through and still maintain my grades.”

Johnson said over her life she has become accustomed to her Dad’s travel with his work and it has just been part of everyday life. “My Dad hasn’t been around a lot, but that’s all you know when you are military,” she said.

Carrying five AP classes her senior year, Johnson said the best part was, “I loved all my teachers. I have never had a teacher at Fallbrook High that I didn’t like.”

Post graduation, Johnson said she will pursue a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She made the decision in her junior year of high school after being impressed with a math teacher.

“My math teacher Mr. (Bill) Lenaway inspired me,” she said. “I really loved the way he taught and wanted to know math the way he did. It was very impressive to me. I knew then that I wanted to do something with math.”

Johnson’s friends played a key role in supporting her success as well.

“All the people I’ve met in high school, my friends, we have grown together,” she said. Johnson’s friends and closest peers were the group of 40 to 50 AP/Honor students that she shared all her classes with.

“We were a close knit group,” said Johnson. “We all understood what each other was going through. We stuck together the whole time.”

When asked what advice she would give to incoming high school freshman, Johnson said, “Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. Just compare yourself to how you were yesterday.”

When Johnson gave the keynote speech to her fellow 2014 classmates at the school’s May 29 graduation ceremony, she focused on the connection between responsibility and success. “We’ve accomplished so much – between school, family and world matters, that we have learned we are responsible for our own success,” she said.

Johnson said she is ready to move on toward her next goal – of attending a top school within a close proximity to home – when she starts at UCSD in the fall. Even better, her best friend, Christina Oh, will attend the same university.

While Johnson enjoyed serious extra-curricular activities like being a member of the Fallbrook High School academic team, volunteering with Operation Smile, and tutoring younger students during her high school years, she found pleasurable escape from the everyday complexities of life in her favorite hobby – reading.

“I really like fantasy novels and my favorite is “Lord of the Rings,” she said. “I like it because it is not realistic; it’s not something you see in everyday, normal life.”

Johnson has endeavored to make everyday life well-planned and used her time wisely, which has resulted in success beyond the norm. Or, as succinctly stated in The Lord of the Rings...

“All’s well that ends better.” -- J.R.R. Tolkien


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