Heather Shen is valedictorian for the EGHS Class of 2014.
Like many of her classmates, Heather Shen seems to be racing from one activity to the next this senior week – rehearsals, class trips, Senior Sports Night, Ivy Day – each moment booked in the countdown to graduation on Sunday.
But Shen is used to having a full schedule and still somehow making it look easy. She does not fluster.
After all, this is the same young woman who co-captained the state champion Girls Tennis team last fall, playing second singles all season. Who served as concertmaster (first violin) for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Who was Rhode Island’s Outstanding Teen 2013-14. Who was named a U.S. Presidential Scholar.
She’s also the valedictorian for the EGHS Class of 2014.
Shen admits she’s a hard worker. But she credits her parents, in particular, for inspiring her to do well and try different things.
“I’ve had such an amazing support system,” said Shen earlier this week. “My mom and dad especially have encouraged me to pursue my passions.”
Shen’s parents immigrated from China – her mother to attend graduate school at URI and her father to attend graduate school at Brown. Her mother now works at the state Department of Environmental Management and her father is a professor at URI. They settled in East Greenwich and raised two daughters.
“My parents have instilled in me a strong work ethic,” she said, noting that they had nothing when they came to the U.S. “I really admire what they’ve achieved.”
Heather, with her sister Ivy.
Heather’s older sister, Ivy, just finished her sophomore year at Dartmouth.
“I’m so proud of my sister,” said Ivy, proceeding to rattle off Heather’s many accomplishments.
Heather Shen said she has loved her time at East Greenwich High School and she’s enjoyed all the classes and her extracurricular activities.
“None of it feels like work. They are all things that I enjoy doing.”
In September, she will head to Stanford University in California, where she will study engineering.
This summer, first she will travel to Washington D.C. for three days to take part in the U.S. Presidential Scholar events. Back home, she has a job to teach tennis at a club in Jamestown.
On occasion, you may find her at Mainstreet Coffee, a favorite meeting place. And you can bet she will be spending some time at the beach before she begins the next chapter in her life.