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Top seniors share key to success

The two students that finished top of the Fallbrook Union High School Class of 2010 agree that the key to success in life is finding one’s individual passion and not being afraid to follow it. The other common factor found in these two is dedicated involvement in school-related activities.

Valedictorian Chris Norwood and Salutatorian Vivian Lam, both 17, led their class with distinction and explained how they successfully navigated their four years at the local high school.

Involvement: the key to success

A native Fallbrookian, Norwood said meeting new people and establishing friendships paved the way for his success, which included being a member of the Key Club on campus. A club sponsored by Kiwanis, the organization affords students an opportunity to ‘make a difference’ through volunteerism.

“I was in Key Club all four years,” explained Norwood, who served as vice president his tenth grade year and president in his junior and senior year. “I like this club because it was smaller and I saw an opportunity to provide leadership.”

Norwood also was involved in the Model United Nations program for two years and served as secretary of the group in his junior year.

Lam, a resident of Bonsall for nine years, dedicated herself to a variety of causes that pointed to her interest in medicine. She was also an active member of the Associated Student Body (ASB) at Fallbrook High.

“I planned the blood drive, worked on food drives, the festival of cultures and supported the Invisible Children organization, which focuses on creating awareness of genocide in Uganda,” she explained.

Kudos for teachers

In reflecting on his positive experiences at Fallbrook High, Norwood said memories of special teachers and fun assemblies and pep rallies will stay foremost in his mind.

In explaining why certain teachers will remain etched in his mind, Norwood said the quality of teachers assigned to Advanced Placement/Honors classes is top flight.

“There are a lot of really dedicated teachers that take a personal interest in the students,” said Norwood.

The late English teacher, Marty Hauck, made a distinct impression on this student.

“I will never forget how he did the voices of characters in pieces he would read to us,” said Norwood. “He was a pretty cool guy.”

The teachers also made a lasting impression on Lam.

“I have learned so much, from P.E. to Spanish,” she enthused. “[The AP/Honors teachers] genuinely care about you; both inside and outside of school.”

Lam said she will leave Fallbrook High with humorous memories of chemistry class.

“It was fun blowing up Gummy Bears; and then there was a complete accident where we bumped a jar of ethanol and it caught on fire,” she explained.

Sports weren’t significant factors in either of these students’ lives on campus. Norwood said a knee injury just prior to entering high school prevented him from athletic pursuits, and Lam said she briefly gave the sport of lacrosse a try in tenth grade, but quickly decided it wasn’t for her.

“Those rubber balls were brutal,” she said with a laugh.

What they would change

Norwood attended Fallbrook Street and Live Oak elementary schools and Potter Jr. High, which conditioned him to good-size student populations, but feels Fallbrook High is “a little over-populated.”

“I think there are more students on campus than it is really meant to hold; one indication of that is the number of portable classrooms placed all around the property,” he said.

Lam, who attended Bonsall Elementary for one year and then Sullivan Middle School for sixth, seventh and eighth grade, said she would like to see Fallbrook High improve its element of technology in the classroom.

“I feel the school needs to be a little more up-to-date when it comes to technology and policies; they are in need of new strategies,” said Lam.

Graduation day speeches

The speech Norwood delivered to his fellow classmates at the graduation ceremony held June 17 was entitled “The Journey,” and was intended, he said, to provide himself with inspiration as well as for his friends and peers.

“It’s important to me to talk about finding our passion and focusing on how each of us is individual with different interests,” he said. “I also feel it’s important for us all to make our own decisions.”

Lam’s speech, entitled “Got magic?” was peppered with references to Harry Potter books and she enjoyed sharing with her classmates how unique she feels the community of Fallbrook is.

“We live in a close-knit community and we see everyone around town; everyone is excited to leave, but I don’t think many realize just how special Fallbrook is. It’s timeless and in my speech I compare it to a magical world.”

Lam said she also passionately believes that individuals can obtain their goals by giving enough dedication to the necessary tasks.

“I think if you work hard enough, you’ll get what you want,” she said. “It’s important to persevere.”

Plans for the future

In the fall, Norwood will enter University of Southern California (USC) with an undeclared major, but admitted he is leaning in a particular direction. “I am primarily interested in the sciences, especially the space sciences.”

Lam will continue her education in the fall at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) where she will major in biology.

“It is my intention to go into medicine,” she said.

Some sage advice

When asked what advice he might give to incoming high school freshmen, Norwood said, “For a lot of kids, coming into high school is cool, but intimidating. My advice for them is to strive to meet a lot of people; that’s the most important thing; and then find at least one thing to get involved in; something to look forward to.”

Lam echoed that, “I recommend to freshmen that they find their own niche; even if it seems to be somewhat random. As a freshman, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed, but they need to find an activity they can focus on, one that can become a comfort zone for them; something they feel helps them unwind.”

In preparing for her move to college, Lam said she is facing the freshman status again herself.

“I’m excited to go to UCLA, but it’s bittersweet; I’m excited for the new challenge, but I like my comfort zone,” she said.

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