A Collingwood woman with an extensive list of extracurriculars will be heading to the big city to pursue her dreams post-graduation.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Sophia Wang, 18, Collingwood Collegiate Institute’s (CCI) valedictorian for 2022.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I’ve lived in Collingwood my entire life. I almost lived in the same house my entire life, but four years ago we moved into a different house.
For elementary school, I went to Cameron Street Public School, and I went to Admiral Collingwood for their French program.
I’ve been at CCI since then.
Q: You were named valedictorian at CCI this year. Can you tell me how the process worked?
A: The school sent out an announcement on Google Classroom saying they were looking for this year’s valedictorian. They took nominations.
I think it was based on how many nominations each person got. Those that got enough were put on another Google Form and the student body voted.
Q: Did you participate in extracurriculars?
A: Yes. I would definitely say I’m really, really involved in both my school and community.
I was student council president two years in a row. I co-founded a student tutoring program with one of my friends that ran weekly.
I also started a debate club that didn’t go as well. (laughs)
In Grade 11 and 12 I did Link Crew. It was fun to connect with some Grade 9s and give some advice.
I did Youth in Action Club. Recently I was on the committee for the Relay for Life fundraiser.
All through high school, I was in marching band, concert band and jazz band.
Outside of school, I’ve been doing competitive dance for nearly 10 years. I also did Interact (Junior Rotary Club).
It was too bad with COVID-19. I missed out on a lot of these clubs. In Grade 12, I did get to pick up a lot more stuff.
I also really like Formula 1. Like, race cars.
Q: What has the student experience been like throughout COVID-19?
A: It was definitely crazy.
When I think about it, it’s all a blur. I would wake up at 7:59 a.m. I’d start class at 8 a.m. and I’d still be in my bed.
I’d listen to my biology class while I made breakfast. It didn’t really feel like school.
A lot of us didn’t really get a full high school experience because we really only got Grade 9 as a genuine experience. It’s been weird.
Q: What are your post-secondary plans?
A: In September, I’ll be going to the University of Toronto. I’m in their life sciences admission category, so I’ll get to declare my major later.
Maybe human biology, physiology or immunology – something that will lead me into the medical field.
I really wanted to be like a family doctor, but recently I’ve been looking into dentistry.
I know most people hate going to the dentist. For some reason, I really like going to the dentist.
My parents say I’d be a great dentist because I could talk all I want. (laughs)
It sounds great to me.
Q: How do you feel going into post-secondary, having had that unique pandemic experience? Do you feel prepared?
A: I’m definitely nervous. After losing those years of proper school experience, I don’t feel as prepared as I could be. Having no exams was weird.
It’s terrifying, to be honest. A lot of people, when they finish Grade 12, they say they’re ready to be finished high school and start a new chapter of their lives.
When you don’t really have that high-school experience, it can be scary to move on.
Q: Do you have any advice for students in younger grades?
A: I would say, get involved in your school.
You will meet so many like-minded individuals. You’ll have a lot of fun. You’ll make good connections and great relationships.
I feel like you can get a lot more out of your high-school experience if you do so. It’s also important to make sure you have a good school/social life balance. I loved spending time with my friends.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?
A: It’s been really nice being part of a small, close-knit community. I enjoyed being in a small town. It had prepared me to move on to a bigger city like Toronto.
I’m excited for the next chapter of my life.
For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email email@example.com.