For East Greenwich High School salutatorian Rebecca Xu, her time at EG prepared her mentally and emotionally for the future ahead of her.
“It wasn’t the high school experience in movies, but I’m glad I did it,” Xu said. “I think I learned a lot and I made a lot of good friends. The education was obviously very good and the faculty were really good at supporting the students, even with everything going on. And the student body is really fun to get to know and be around.”
At EGHS, Xu was a member of Future Business Leaders of America, the Math Team and the National Honor Society. She also led a “girls who code” club at the middle school last year. One of her favorite high school memories was participating freshman year in Air Band (the high school’s annual lip-syncing competition between grade levels). And as for academics, Xu said her favorite class was computer science.
“I think the content was super interesting and the people in that class were really fun to be around,” Xu said. “It really sparked my interest in computer science which is what I think I want to major in.”
This fall Xu will attend Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering. She said she is looking forward to traveling away from home and getting a chance at a fresh start. While she is undecided on a specific major within the school, Xu said she is leaning towards either the aforementioned computer science major or studying biomedical engineering.
“I knew I wanted to make technology, and I wanted to help people,” Xu said. “I want to create technology to help people like prosthetics or artificial intelligence. I wouldn’t want to be a doctor, but I kind of want to do what doctors do but with technology.”
Nancy Bucci, who taught Xu math, said that Xu was one of her top students. She described her as thoughtful and excited to challenge herself in class.
“Rebecca is a student who is interested in her learning and growth rather than focused on her grade,” Bucci said. “She fully immersed herself in the content and was spirited in her discussions and collaborations with her peers. It was truly an honor to watch her growth and I can only imagine what the future has in store for her!”
When asked what she credits to helping her succeed, Xu said her parents encouraged her to develop a strong work ethic from a young age. And although they became more lenient on those rules as Xu got older, the salutatorian said she kept working hard so as to not disappoint herself.
Despite her community involvement and scoring the second highest GPA in her year, Xu faced the same distance learning challenges as her peers. Xu said her motivation suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, but she persevered and is looking forward to college.
“Make sure to not give up,” Xu advised. “There’s a time in high school everyone has where they’re like ‘I’m done’ and they just want to give up. But it’s going to be worth it in the end and in a couple of years you’ll get to move on to a new chapter. So you just have to push through.”
Graduation is Saturday, June 12, at EGHS. Read about EGHS Valedictorian Jordan Kalinsky HERE.