Han makes history as 2012 Valedictorian

14 AP classes. A four year varsity letterman for men’s golf. A devout member of FBLA, NHS, and Brain Game. Fluent in Chinese. A Morehead Scholar. And, add valedictorian to the list.

Finishing his four years at Leesville Road with a GPA of 5.2903, Larry Han has redefined what it means to be valedictorian. Said Han, “Of course I’m proud of everything that I’ve accomplished academically, but I hope I’ll be remembered for more than my grades. When our class looks back, I want them to think of me as a strong leader, as someone who had a voice and always stuck to his guns.”

While Han may hope to leave his legacy outside of the classroom, his school track record cannot be ignored. En route to his ridiculous 5.2903 GPA, Han took 14 AP classes, including AP US History, AP Physics and even AP Chinese, a course not regularly taught at LRHS. “Classes for AP Chinese were over the weekend, but it was worth it,” said Han. “I’ve always been fluent in Chinese because I speak it at home, but the course helped me to perfect what I already knew.”

However, Larry Han is no robot; like any other real boy, he treasures free time to hang out with friends and play sports, particularly golf. For Han, golf has always served as a reality check and a reminder to enjoy himself.

“When you get out to practice, and you’re just hanging out, having fun with the team, you remember that there’s more to life than just getting good grades. That’s important and all, but you’ve got to have a balance of work and play,” said Han.

Emmanuel Shiferaw, senior and close friend of Han, acknowledged that his friend has stayed true to the idea of prioritizing ever since the two first met in sixth grade. “Larry’s going to go out and accomplish anything that he sets his mind to,” said Shiferaw. “The thing that makes him different from most ‘nerds’ is his personality away from school; he’s a genuinely cool guy who realizes that he needs both a strong school life and a strong social life.”

Looking ahead to the fall of 2012, Han plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a Morehead Scholar. Said Han,” The Morehead Scholarship allows me to go to UNC, which is really the best of both worlds for me. It’s got a great location, but it’s also a great opportunity.”

One of the opportunities Han is most excited about is the chance to study abroad during college. “I’ve always loved to travel and meet new people and by going to UNC, I’ll have that chance. In fact, my goal is to have traveled to each of the seven continents by the time I get out of school.”

Han may have lofty expectations for himself in the future, but Shiferaw has no doubt his friend will succeed. Said Shiferaw, “He’s always set the bar ridiculously high for himself, but somehow, he always manages to come through, so there’s no reason why that trend should stop here. When everything is said and done, once we’ve all left, I’ll always remember Larry as one of the biggest influences I’ve ever had, but maybe more importantly than that, as one of the best friends I’ve ever had.”

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