Rebecca Pan’s commitment to learning is evident in her love of science and chemistry, mixing math and other concepts to learn about why the world works the way it does.
The Saint Joseph High School valedictorian’s commitment to hard work does not stop in the classroom, as she demonstrated her commitment to her team as a member of Saint Joseph High School girls swimming, mathletes and Fed Challenge.
“My favorite thing about Saint Joe is its sense of community. From the teachers who make time for every single student, to my classmates and friends who have cheered me on the loudest, I truly believe our family is the best and am incredibly proud to be an Indian,” said Pan. “Being named valedictorian is a tremendous honor, and it serves as a testament to the hard work that I’ve put in the past four years. I’m extremely thankful for everyone who has supported and helped me get to where I am today. I remember looking up to valedictorians of the past as role models, and I can only hope to inspire others.”
Pan attended Kennedy Primary Academy, LaSalle Intermediate Academy and St. Joseph Grade School before coming to Saint Joseph. Going to a Catholic high school has helped her through a lot of the tough times, she said.
“High school is not an easy time, especially when you’re constantly being challenged by teachers, coaches, parents and peers, but having the love and support that comes from the faith and the members of the Church have truly helped me. Being more exposed to the faith through theology classes, monthly Mass, confession, etc., has allowed me to grow closer to God and learn much more about the faith. I have been fortunate enough to have questions answered and explained, especially in a class I am taking this year about great Catholic thinkers such as St. Augustine and Pascal. Every day we discuss readings and can pose questions to and build off of each other: just a representative fraction of my overall high school experience.”
Throughout her four years of high school, Pan participated in competitive swimming year-round. She was a seven-and-a-half-year member of a USA Swimming club team and a four-year member of the Saint Joseph girls varsity swim team.
“I have found some of my best friends through swimming, and it has been a pleasure to see my teammates grow too, especially as a senior captain. During her sophomore year, the swim team placed third at nationals. “I have also played the violin for 12-1/2 years and have been a member of the South Bend Youth Symphony Orchestra since seventh grade.”
Another extracurricular in which she participated was Mathletes, the math club at Saint Joseph. “I have been a member for four years and served as captain my senior year.
“Through my extracurriculars, I have been able to meet so many amazing friends, teammates and mentors that I would not have crossed paths with if not for our common activities.”
One of her most treasured high school memories is Euro Challenge nationals, an economics competition in which a team of three to five members prepare a presentation on the economy of the European Union as a whole and a specific country. She participated during her freshman and sophomore years.
For the Euro challenge she went to New York for the first time with some of her best friends and teachers. “I learned so much from that experience, about the world around me and myself. I will miss all my teachers and classmates dearly, especially independent study, AP Physics C, AP Calculus BC, and my AP Chemistry class. I will always treasure the memories of our midwinter dance, from always hearing ‘Piano Man’ to seeing all my friends dressed up.”
Pan is interested in science and math, particularly STEM research and medicine. “I hope to pursue these interests throughout college and beyond.”
She also enjoys playing the piano, going on walks, doing puzzles with her little sister, and baking. She has an ear for languages and is currently learning French during quarantine. Pan hopes to travel more in the future, especially to France, Spain and Portugal.
She will graduate this spring with a 4.381 weighted GPA and plans to attend Vanderbilt University to study engineering on the pre-med track.
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